With perhaps the largest assortment of high-grade PSA cards auctioned at one time, Superior Sports Auctions surged to $979,208 in total bids during their October 11th, 2001 sale. With the economy still struggling as the drama continues to unfold overseas, Superior’s latest sale proved to the hobby that large quantities of high-quality material can still be absorbed during uncertain times. Several lots reached outstanding levels, but the most reassuring aspect to the whole sale was the stability of the overall market.

Here’s a peek at some of the auction highlights:

Card PSA Grade Price Realized
1915 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson 7 $16,675
1948 Leaf Babe Ruth 8 $8,223
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle 8 $35,650
1953 Bowman Yogi Berra 9 $15,525
1954 Topps Duke Snider 9 $3,680
1954 Topps Whitey Ford 9 $3,680
1955 Bowman Willie Mays 9 $8,338
1959 Topps Sandy Koufax 9 $8,625
1961 Topps Roger Maris 9 $4,945
1965 Topps Yogi Berra 10 $3,450
1966 Topps Pete Rose 9 $6,039
1972 Topps Roberto Clemente 10 $4,126
1966 Philadelphia Dick Butkus 9 $7,245
1911 T205 Gold Border Ty Cobb 6 $3,795
1911 T201 Mecca DF Bender/Oldring 8 $2,918
1911 T201 Mecca DF Bresnahan/Huggins 8 $1,783
1911 T201 Mecca DF Brown/Hofman 8 $2,128
1911 T201 Mecca DF Chance/Evers 8 $2,588
1915 Cracker Jack Johnny Evers 8 $3,399
1933 Goudey Ki Ki Cuyler 8 $3,335
1933 Goudey Frank Hogan (common) 8 $2,070
1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #92 5 $1,795
1933 Goudey Mel Ott #207 8 $5,750
1933 Goudey Lefty Grove 8 $2,990
1951 Bowman Whitey Ford 7 $1,581
1952 Topps Phil Rizzuto 8 $2,530
1953 Topps Mickey Mantle 7 $3,220
1954 Journal American Mickey Mantle 8 $949
1954 Topps Eddie Mathews 9 $2,300
1956 Topps Ted Williams 8 $2,095
1958 Topps Roberto Clemente WL 8 $1,334
1958 Topps Gil Hodges 9 $2,070
1958 Topps World Series Batting Foes 8 $1,783
1958 Topps Willie Mays All-Star 9 $8,050
1959 Topps Roger Maris 9 $2,818
1959 Topps Frank Robinson 9 $1,035
1960 Fleer Babe Ruth 9 $1,150
1960 Topps Master/Mentor (Mays) 9 $585
1960 Topps Roger Maris 9 $1,432
1961 Fleer Babe Ruth 9 $1,150
1963 Topps AL Batting Leaders 9 $1,380
1963 Topps Willie McCovey 9 $779
1964 Topps Roger Maris 9 $805
1964 AL Bombers (Mantle/Maris, etc.) 9 $2,300
1964 Topps Giants Bob Gibson 10 $949
1965 Topps NL Batting Leaders 9 $817
1966 Topps Carl Yastrzemski 9 $403
1967 Topps Bob Gibson 9 $978
1967 Topps NL Home Run Leaders 9 $529
1967 FENCE Busters (Mays/McCovey) 9 $897
1967 Topps Who Am I? Willie Mays 9 $1,208
1968 Topps NL Batting Leaders 9 $863
1968 Topps NL RBI Leaders 9 $2,057
1968 Topps Brooks Robinson 9 $523
1968 Topps Pete Rose 9 $1,840
1968 Topps Carl Yastrzemski 9 $409
1968 Topps Ernie Banks 9 $536
1968 Topps Lou Brock 9 $393
1968 Topps Jim Palmer 9 $408
1971 O-Pee-Chee Rod Carew 10 $1,554
1974 Topps Rod Carew 9 $201
1974 Topps Pete Rose 9 $483
1977 Topps Pete Rose 9 $265
1979 Topps Nolan Ryan 9 $201
1957 Topps Johnny Unitas 8 $1,265
1961 Fleer Jack Kemp 10 $865
1976 Topps Walter Payton 10 $6,038
1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky 9 $9,488
The PSA 7 market is strong as evidenced by the $16,675 final bid for this Jackson card
The PSA 7 market is strong as evidenced by the $16,675 final bid for this Jackson card

As you can see, there were a variety of areas that performed well in the auction and Greg Bussineau, President of Superior Sports, was pleased with the wide-ranging interest. “We were very happy, for the most part, because there were a lot of cards offered in this auction and most of them sold at or above current market levels,” explained Bussineau. “On the balance, the prices realized were the strongest seen at public auction in many months.”

Despite the perceived hesitation in the market, Bussineau pointed out that many of the prices were actually record-setters. “One of more interesting aspects to the auction was that some of the prices are believed to be all-time records,” Bussineau said. “The 1959 Topps Sandy Koufax and the 1966 Philadelphia Dick Butkus rookie are two that come to mind. Even the post-1970 material performed very well. The Walter Payton and Wayne Gretzky rookies, both PSA Mint 9’s, received strong bidding.”

Bonds Collectibles Hot and Cold

Barry Bonds is now officially our new single season home run king but, unfortunately, that fact has not propelled interest in all Bonds-related material. While his season was arguably more impressive, in more ways than one, than Mark McGwire’s great 1998 campaign, Bonds was not given the warm reception that Big Mac or Sammy Sosa embraced a few years ago.

Bonds, who has never really been considered a well-liked individual by the media, was often placed on the back pages of the sports section during much of his chase in 2001. Even when he clubbed his 500th career home run, Bonds was given a lukewarm reception by his own teammates at homeplate. They, seemingly, had to be pushed out of the dugout to greet him.

As fans and collectors, unless we personally know Mr. Bonds, we have to rely on the way the media portrays him and, to some degree, how his teammates react to him. Is he as bad as the media says he is? Probably not, but we will never know. What we do know is that Barry Bonds is truly one of the greatest baseball players to ever play this game. You can’t argue with his unreal numbers. By the way, he’s far from done, too! That’s scary.

As far as his collectibles go, they have all been part of a roller coaster ride this summer. Here’s a quick breakdown of how each collectible has performed over the last 6 months.

Barry’s Sportscards: 1987 Fleer, 1987 Fleer Glossy, 1986 Topps Traded, 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany, 1986 Fleer Update, 1986 Donruss Rookies, 1987 Donruss and 1987 Donruss Opening Day (error).

All of these cards, in addition to many other Bonds examples, have been part of the biggest market swing on the list of Bonds collectibles. PSA 10 examples skyrocketed in price when collectors realized Barry had a legitimate chance of challenging or breaking the record. By the National Sports Convention, for example, PSA 10 Topps Tiffany rookies were trading for $4,000 plus. In a strange twist of events, Barry’s cards have actually gone down in price after he broke the record. Now, there have been some outside forces that have affected the market, but his cards really took a dive considering his amazing accomplishment this year.

Barry’s Autographs: His autographed items, such as baseballs, photos and bats, have just about doubled and tripled in price from the market price seen during the winter of 2001. You couldn’t give away his autographed baseballs for $40 last year and, now, they are selling steadily at $100 or more. One thing that has really helped is the fact that Barry does provide his own hologram on all items sold to the public. This factor helps give the buyer a sense of security because they know they are getting the real thing straight from Bonds himself. The autographs remain steady after the home run chase but, considering what he has done, they seem like a bargain.

Barry’s Game-Used Equipment: His game-used items, especially bats and jerseys, have really jumped in price and remain strong. You could obtain a game-used Bonds bat for $1,000 or less last year with no problem. Now, his bats are selling pretty consistently for $2,500 and up with 2001 examples going for $4,000 plus. The two most popular brands seem to be Louisville Slugger and Sam bats. Bonds used the Louisville Sluggers for most of his career but, during the last two years or so, Bonds has been using Sam almost exclusively. The Sam bats have beautiful visual appeal and are made from maple wood instead of the traditional white ash. Bonds also provides game-used equipment to the public with his trademark hologram. These items have been fetching a premium, but the hologram has only been around for a few years. His game-used equipment remains solid at this point.

In conclusion, I find it mind boggling that it took fans and collector this long to figure out how good this man is. Forget about the 73 homers, his career accomplishments are astonishing (3 MVP’s, 8 Gold Gloves, 500 plus homers, 400 plus stolen bases, 40/40 season, etc.) I think, in the long run, his numbers will speak louder that his perception as a human being. For now, fans and collectors have still had a lukewarm response to the reluctant hero.

One thing is for sure; Bonds collectibles will be a part of many want lists for years to come.

This rare 1955 Bowman PSA Mint 9 Willie Mays sold for $8,338
This rare 1955 Bowman PSA Mint 9 Willie Mays sold for $8,338
This Butkus rookie card sold for a record price in the Superior Sports auction
This Butkus rookie card sold for a record price in the Superior Sports auction