1951 Topps Connie Mack's All-Stars Christy Mathewson

Small Traditions LLC recently concluded its Exclusive 100-Lot April Premium Auction, setting several industry-wide sales records and reaching new milestones for the Denver-based auction firm. Despite its compact size, the auction closed at nearly a quarter million dollars, a new high for Small Traditions, which conducts monthly no-reserve auctions at its website, with every fourth month's auction limited to just 100-200 premium lots. Each item in the premium auctions must have a minimum value of approximately $1,000, and the company strives to present each of these higher-end lots with a thoughtful and interactive description that links to hobby resources like PSACardFacts and BaseballCardPedia, and to player statistics, video highlights, and more - an engaging and information-rich approach that is at the core of the Small Traditions experience.

"The Premium format allows all lots to share in the spotlight, and the limited selection really encourages bidder competition," says Small Traditions founder, Dave Thorn, a former teacher and research and writing coordinator for a pair of larger auction companies at the forefront of the hobby. Those are nice side effects of a decision Thorn made, he admits, strictly to help pace him and his small team, who work almost round-the-clock to coordinate their much larger Monthly Masterpieces Plus Auctions, which average anywhere from 500 to 1,500 lots. "We needed to take a break, but we didn't want to miss a month, so the limited format developed naturally."

In addition to some staggering prices realized for both vintage and modern sports cards, perhaps what was most surprising about the company's April Premium auction was that at least half of all the cards sold had come to Small Traditions in raw, ungraded form. As a part of its cost-free consignment process, Small Traditions will pay up front to grade its customers' cards, only charging for the grading services after the sale of the cards, pending their owners' approval of the grading results. The fee for selling on Small Traditions is 0%, so there's absolutely no out-of-pocket expense to its consignors.

1964 Topps Braves Rookies #541 (Phil Roof/Phil Niekro) 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan #57 1954 Topps Gordie Howe #8

"So much work goes into sorting and closely inspecting our customers' cards to identify candidates for grading," says Thorn, "and that's just the start of what is really a very expensive and challenging process, as it should be. So many customers expect high grades for their cards because they've been carefully preserved, but most don't understand how rare Mint or Gem Mint cards from the 50s, 60s and 70s really are, how the perfect ones, even in many products from later years in the 80s and the 90s, are extreme statistical anomalies."

1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky #18

That's when the former teacher in Thorn steps in, as he works to ensure that every Small Traditions consignor understands not just the process of grading, but the stringent standards involved and the many challenges submitters face. The end result is that the grading process increases the value of the consignors' cards, it increases the company's profit from the flat 15% buyers premium it charges, and it brings some "great new-old cards" back into the hobby, a win-win-win for everyone involved.

"Great new-old cards" might be an understatement. Check out the following highlights from Small Traditions' Exclusive 100-Lot April Premium Auction, which will be view-able at the company's website until it begins its next auction on May 21st (consignment deadline Friday May 16th). You can always search all of Small Traditions ended items, however, through the company's user friendly results section, where you can reverse sort up to 5,000 items to see the top selling material in any search category. Small Traditions is also very active in social media and conducts compelling giveaways through both its Facebook page and its Twitter account, where it has awarded tens of thousands of dollars in giveaways since starting its monthly auctions just two years ago, all for free. Just "like" and/or "follow" today in order to play.

1980 Charlotte O's Police-Orange Border Cal Ripken Jr.
  • 1980 Charlotte O's Police Issue Cal Ripken Jr. RC PSA 4 - $11,721 RECORD

  • 1964 Topps #541 Braves Rookies Phil Niekro RC PSA 10 - $9,670 RECORD

  • 1987 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan RC PSA 10 - $9,963

  • 1979 O-Pee-Chee #18 Wayne Gretzky RC PSA 9 - $8,791

  • 1992 Little Sun High School Signatures Derek Jeter RC PSA 10 - $5,275

  • 1954 Topps #8 Gordie Howe PSA 8 - $3,810

  • 1954 Bowman #66 Ted Williams PSA 8 (OC) - $3,517 RECORD

  • 1998 Fleer SI Extra Edition 1 of 1 #64 Derek Jeter PSA Authentic - $2,462

  • 1996 Select Certified Mirror Blue #100 Derek Jeter PSA 10 - $2,228 RECORD

  • 1986 Houston Astros Miller Light Nolan Ryan PSA 10 - $1,408 RECORD

  • 1951 Connie Mack's All Stars #8 Christy Mathewson PSA 5.5 - $1,056 RECORD

Dave Thorn and his team extend their thanks to the countless collectors both past and present whose passions have made a place for Small Traditions to exist, with special thanks to the company's growing list of consignors and bidders, without whom its monthly auctions wouldn't exist, as well as to its many fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter.

Consignments Wanted for Multiple Summer Auctions

Small Traditions is currently seeking consignments for its next three Monthly Masterpieces Plus Auctions as well as its Exclusive 100-Lot August Premium Auction and its Exclusive Derek Jeter September Farewell Auction. Please write [email protected] or call 303.832.1975 for more information and to reserve premium space for your collectible treasures today.