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|
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.