Here’s a treasure we’ve never featured on this page: a 1923 Paterson hockey card (catalogued as V145-1) of Bert Corbeau of the old Toronto St. Pats.
The seller, PWCC Auctions, offers these details on the card, a true rarity: This “incredibly rare V145-1 Corbeau [is an] astonishingly scarce short print that’s never seen on eBay and is the first such example we’ve had the pleasure of brokering in our tenure. Very few copies exist in the world, as this was the needed final card from the 40-player set in order for the consumer to redeem a free pair of skates. Underhanded as it was, it’s largely regarded as the ‘T206 Wagner of hockey cards.’ The offered specimen displays four mostly square corners and nice left to right centering. Displays tremendous print and registration for the assessment.”
The blank-back card is in remarkable condition, despite one caveat—hints of what we call “doctoring.” To wit: PSA authenticated the card but tagged it as “altered.” Usually, that means trimming, but in this case, as the listing explains, someone in the card’s first 94 years of life (most likely very early) Al“modestly recolored various areas of the front and back, which accounts for the ‘altered’ assessment from PSA.”
Its “altered” status notwithstanding, the card — #25 in the set — drew 25 bids and sold, naturally, for $25,000.
And who was Corbeau? Born as Bertram Orian Corbeau in 1894, he grew up to play 10 seasons in the NHL and was a member of the Canadiens’ first Stanley Cup team. He scored 63 goals and dished out 49 assists in his 15 professional seasons, which included three in the old National Hockey Association and two in the Canadian Professional Hockey League. He’s known as the first player to get hit with 100 minutes in penalties in a season. Corbeau died at age 48 after a boating accident in 1942.
PUJOLS: SEPTEMBER OF HIS YEARS?
Despite his subpar .241 batting average last year, Albert Pujols showed he still has some pop in that old bat: He hit 23 homers and drove in 101 runs. Yet there’s no doubt his stellar career is winding down: He turns 38 in January.
Pujols could retire today, though, and still be assured of a spot in the Hall of Fame. Over 17 seasons, he’s been remarkably consistent, hitting at least 30 homers and driving in 100-plus runs in 14 seasons. His career totals: 614 HRs, 1,918 RBI and a .305 average.
When fans and collectors sense that a future HOFer is headed down the home stretch, we tend to stock up, don’t we? That might explain the bidding war (47 bids) and lofty price paid on eBay ($14,430) for a 2001 Bowman Chrome card of Pujols.
The limited-run Chrome classic is one of 500 signed by Pujols. It graded out at 9.5 (BGS), with a 10 for the autograph. Exactly two months earlier, a similarly graded 2001 Bowman Chrome Pujols—a PSA 9—got away for $5,899 on 46 bids.
Sealed boxes of 2001 Bowman Chrome, by the way, are selling for $200 to $300.
ON THE OUTSIDE
Just beyond our Top 10 list is a Michael Jordan prize that sold for $15,000—and it’s not his rookie card. It is, however, an appealing piece that includes an autograph: Jordan’s 2000-01 Ultimate Collection autographed “Super” card. The front bears a small action photo of Jordan complemented by a big, bold sig by Air Jordan.
RING THAT BELL!
With Ezekiel Elliott serving a six-game suspension and David Johnson out with a (likely) season-ending injury, the NFL’s big dog among running backs is the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell. And he’s a bargain as stud offensive NFL stars go.
Among the Bell prizes that have sold recently for sub-$500 prices:
• 2013 Topps Chrome Camo Refractor rookie, a signed 1-of-1 card graded BGS 10: $465 on 23 bids.
• 2013 National Treasures signed Laundry Tag card graded BGS 9: $425 in a Buy It Now deal.
• 2013 Bowman Chrome Signed rookie X-Fractor card, one of 10 issued: $292 on 39 bids.
• 2013 National Treasures autographed patch card graded BGS 9.5: $240 and, in ungraded form, $220.
• 2013 Panini Contenders Playoff Rookie Ticket autographed card: $170.
Along with those types of deals, you’ll find hundreds of Bell cards for sub-$50 prices. And you’ll find his autograph on photographs for $40 to $100 and on a jersey for $100 to $150.