One of the best single-signed Babe Ruth baseballs known to exist changed hands for $97,000 in Memory Lane Inc.'s latest I Own It Now catalog event last week.
Authenticated by PSA and signed on the sweet spot in blue fountain pen, the autograph on the official American League (William Harridge) ball, generated a '9' grade. The ball graded NM '7'. An extra half-point was awarded for outstanding visual appeal, giving this rare specimen a final grade of 8.5 from PSA. The final price included a 15% buyer's premium.
An alternative to Memory Lane's quarterly catalog auctions, I Own It Now offers collectors the chance to purchase high-end sports cards and memorabilia for a fixed price, or wait until a set period has passed and make an offer to the consignor. Several items sold as soon as the sale opened September 13, including a high grade example of the famous 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski. One of a small number graded NM+ and rarely offered, the card sold for its list price of $22,000, realizing $25,300.
That wasn't the only football card to attract attention from investors, however. One of the most desirable post-War football cards is the 1976 Walter Payton rookie card and the sale of a pristine example will surely open some eyes after realizing $25,300.
Another of the catalog's other highlights was a 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie. Mailed to collectors who asked about the 'hole' in their sets following the season, it's considered one of the hobby's top five cards and exceptionally rare. The PSA 7 version offered by Memory Lane brought a final price of $46,000.
Only nine Willie Mays rookie cards have been graded higher by PSA than the '8' offered in the sale. One of the hobby's iconic issues, a buyer purchased the '51 Bowman high number for $12,000. MLI also offered a PSA 8 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle. One of fewer than 100 to be graded 8 or better, it sold for $11,750.
The only PSA graded example of the 1887 Old Judge Clark Griffith brought $8,625.
Memory Lane announced it will hold three more I Own It Now catalog events in 2013 but for now, the focus is on the company's upcoming winter auction. The consignment deadline is October 12. To inquire about consigning or to register for the upcoming auction, contact Memory Lane at 714.730.0600 or visit their website.