Auction Online

Welcome to the Online Auctioneer, better known as Don Fluckinger. Each issue in Sports Collectors Digest, Don compiles tidbits from the online sports collecting world, from highest bids to oddball sightings.

Here is the latest installment from the July 1, 2011, issue of SCD:

MANTLE WEEK: It seems that once or twice a year, when the sports card and memorabilia markets stood completely on their ears, when new rookies or newly successful players have heated up the eBay bazaar, when new product has caught the fancy of collectors or other odd phenomena seems to be taking place in our little space of the collectibles world, Mickey Mantle comes out of the woodwork and just takes over the eBay Top 10.

Just to remind us that he’s still here, that he’s still the king of the hobby, Mickey is the gold standard player that the new upstarts will likely never exceed, at least in terms of cardboard – no matter how shiny, sparkly, limited or whatever (chirographic?) the latest and greatest cards get. He’s still the Mick. This week was one such week, with even a 1953 Topps slab burning up the Top Five. The fact that today’s ballplayers – both the clean ones and the cheaters, whomever they are – play under a filthy gray cloud of performance-enhancing drugs doesn’t hurt Mantle’s stock one bit. But that eventually shall pass. Then, collectors will find new ways to appreciate Mantle, if the last decade of eBay-watching is any indication. When we launched this column, Mantle was kicking the butts of other then-hot properties like Barry Sanders and Mark McGwire.

NEW eBAY ‘FEATURE’ STILL STINKS
: On a completely unrelated note, we’d just like to protest, once again, eBay’s brutal new scheme of shunting site users to a search page when they’re looking for a completed auctions listing page and forcing one more click to “see full description.” What a joke. If we were looking for a search page of search results, we would have searched from the search page. Who the heck is running usability out there in San Jose, some sales person? This search thing – the Internet equivalent of bait-and-switch – is almost as bad as the insidious ads covering text that other sites force you to close before reading an article or blog post – or worse yet, whole “interstitial” pages that lie between the page you’re looking for and where you were often containing annoying pictures or flat-out dumb animations.

PLAX: Once a feared, dominant Super Bowl veteran wide receiver, Plaxico Burress shot himself in the foot – er, leg – and sat 20 months in a jail cell on gun charges, getting out just recently. With the NFL’s labor uncertainty, the 34-year-old could end up sitting out yet a third season if management and labor don’t get it together. Surprisingly, he might have been gone but not forgotten. For a wide receiver, especially one relegated to the scrap heap with little shot of getting back to playing at the level of his glory days at that, his eBay lots are looking pretty good. Over the last couple of weeks, the top bid getters included a 2000 Topps Gold Label auto rookie ($89.88), a 2000 UD Graded SGC 92 auto rookie ($41.39) and an ungraded 2000 SPx auto patch rookie $49.99. Apparently, he’s still got some fans among the Spartans, Steelers and Giants faithful.

Quick Quiz
Name the Mark Recchi item that sold for the highest bid ($49.99) during the opening days of the Stanley Cup finals:
1. 2003-04 Topps Franchise Fabrics
2. 2010-11 Contenders Winter Classic Great Outdoors auto
3. 2010-11 Crown Royale Legends  Signatures    
4. Autographed Bruins puck
5. Autographed Bruins 8-by-10

The puck’s the winner. That’s quite appropriate considering how the 43-year-old graybeard bagged a couple goals in Game 3 – after his goal in Game 2 made him the oldest player to do so.

Top 10 Online Auctions

1. $13,680: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, SGC 60
2. $12,799: Babe Ruth/Ty Cobb/more signed ball, PSA/DNA
3. $12,601: 1924 Chamonix Olympics participation medal
4. $11,250: 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle, PSA 8
5. $9,845: 1920s Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig auto ball
6. $8,225: 1998-99 Skybox Michael Jordan Super Rave, BGS 9
7. $8,201: 1948 London Olympics torch
8. $7,995: 1954 Topps Ted Williams, PSA 8.5
9. $7,750: 1956 Topps Baseball pin set, No. 2 on PSA registry
10. $7,500: 1928 “Babe Ruth’s Own Book of Baseball,” signed first edition PSA/DNA