A full year in the making, Robert Edward Auctions has put the finishing touches on its latest catalog auction. Catalogs will ship on April 20 and include more than 1,500 lots of historic, rare and valuable baseball cards and memorabilia dating from the 19th century through the modern era. Total sales for the event are expected to exceed $5 million. Bidding ends May 18.
“We have been assembling material, writing and researching since our 2012 auction closed, hoping to make this a special event for everyone,” says REA President Robert Lifson. “As always, we’re trying to do more than just have an auction. We’re trying to create a positive event that is historic, that makes collecting fun, promotes a love of history and that everyone can be a part of, as a bidder, a consignor or just as an observer.”
The list of big-ticket items is many, starting with Babe Ruth’s 1914 rookie card, the T206 Wagner, one of the best 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards in existence, the very first baseball card from 1863, jerseys of Koufax, Mays and Aaron and autographs of virtually every Hall of Famer.
“We also have an unusually strong selection of items from other sports and an extremely impressive selection of Americana,” Lifson said. “Every time we turned around, we were offered something great in baseball memorabilia, cards, boxing, and Americana. Roger Maris’ bat. Muhammad Ali’s shoes from the ‘Rumble In the Jungle’ fight. A 1933 Goudey Lajoie in Near Mint-to-Mint condition. We think this is one of our best auctions ever.”
T206 Honus Wagner: The famous T206 Honus Wagner needs no introduction, but this auction features a particularly famous example of the most valuable card in the world. This T206 Wagner was once owned by actor Charlie Sheen, who allowed the card to be displayed at the All Star Café in New York. In a plot worthy of a TV episode, in 1998 the card was stolen from its display case by workers at the All Star Café and replaced with a copy! When the theft was discovered, the thieves were soon caught, and the Wagner was recovered by the FBI. When last sold in 2009, this card realized $399,500.
1914 Babe Ruth rookie card: Many consider the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card to be the single most important baseball card in the world. This card, issued by the Baltimore News, features Babe Ruth as an unknown minor league rookie straight out of St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. In addition to being one of the most important baseball cards known, it is also one of the rarest. Only 10 examples of the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie are known to exist in the world. The card is expected to sell for more than $200,000.
1963 Sandy Koufax jersey: Included in the auction is an extraordinary 1963 Sandy Koufax jersey. One of the best Hall of Famer jerseys in existence, it was while wearing this very jersey in 1963 that Koufax enjoyed his breakout season, leading the league in wins (25), ERA (1.88) and strikeouts (306). He capped the year by winning two games in the Dodgers’ sweep of the Yankees in the World Series, which was highlighted by his record-setting 15 strikeouts in Game 1. His extraordinary regular-season numbers led to Koufax winning both the Most Valuable Player Award and Cy Young Award at season’s end.
Legendary card rarities: The sale will include virtually every one of the baseball card collecting world’s most revered “Holy Grails.” In addition to the famous T206 Honus Wagner and the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie, included in the auction are two examples of the T206 Eddie Plank, one in Vg-Ex condition and one in Excellent condition. The 1916 Babe Ruth rookie card (his first card as a major leaguer, not to be confused with his 1914 Baltimore News card as a minor leaguer) is another of card collecting’s most famous rarities, and is represented in this auction by an amazing three different examples ranging in grade from Poor to Vg-Ex. Each 1916 Ruth card is very different and will appeal to a different type of collector.
Also featured is one of the finest examples in the world of the famous 1933 No. 106 Nap Lajoie, graded PSA 8. A second 1933 Goudey No. 106 in Very Good to Excellent condition is also offered.
Yet another legendary card on every short list of the collecting world’s most important baseball cards is the 1910 T210 Old Mill Joe Jackson. In addition to being one of the very few cards of Jackson ever issued, this is the only tobacco card of “Shoeless Joe.” In very strong condition for this card (graded PSA 2), this rare Old Mill Tobacco card features Jackson as a minor leaguer with New Orleans in 1910, long before the “Black Sox” scandal of 1919. It is believed that fewer than 20 examples are known to exist. The last T210 Joe Jackson sold by REA was offered in 2011 and realized a record $200,000.
The First Baseball Card? 1863 Harry Wright: Nineteenth-century baseball cards and items of great historical significance have always been a special area of interest for REA. Perhaps the most interesting is the 1863 Grand Match at Hoboken card of Harry Wright. This card, which is also a ticket, has a remarkable significance and claim: It may be the first baseball card ever. The 1863 Grand Match set was created to promote attendance, and the sale of admissions, to a special series of games held in September 1863. The first two games were cricket matches. The third was a baseball game.
The significance of the 1863 Grand Match At Hoboken Benefit cards is, in short: The several benefit games of the early 1860s that were organized by Harry Wright were the first-ever recorded open transactions of players accepting money for playing baseball. The players who received the money were the very ones who sold the cards. The 1863 Grand Match ticket/cards are of enormous historical significance as their production and sale represent not only the very first set of baseball cards ever produced, but their sale also represents the birth of professional baseball. The auction features the only known 1863 Grand Match at Hoboken Benefit card of Harry Wright, who today is recognized as the “Father of Professional Baseball.”
Prewar card rarities: In addition to the rarities described above, this year’s auction includes a wealth of incredible baseball cards issued prior to World War II. Among the many highlights are hundreds of Old Judge baseball cards from the 1880s, 1915 Cracker Jack baseball cards, thousands of 1910 era tobacco and candy cards and hundreds of 1930s gum cards, including high-grade examples of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Virtually all important baseball card sets are featured.
1912 Boston Garter uncut strip of four cards: Perhaps the most amazing of the prewar offerings is the only known uncut strip of 1912 Boston Garter advertising cards. One of the greatest prizes in all of card collecting, the only uncut panel of four 1912 Boston Garter cards known to exist features the following four players: Frank Chance (HOF), Fred Clarke (HOF), Hal Chase and Bob Bescher.
The 1912 Boston Garter set is universally regarded as one of the rarest and most beautiful card issues ever produced. It is believed that fewer than 25 examples of 1912 Boston Garters are known to exist in the entire collecting world. This is a staggering item, containing four original 1912 Boston Garter cards, each of which would be an incredible highlight and significant card on its own.
Postwar baseball cards: One of the finest examples of the classic 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, graded PSA 8.5, leads this category. It is joined by a 1952 Topps near-complete set and extraordinary, high-grade examples of 1950s and 1960s cards of the era’s top stars like Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax and many more. Also included are complete or near-complete sets of virtually every major postwar issue from 1948-72.
Game-used bats and jerseys: This year’s REA auction includes the best accumulation of game-used bats and jerseys in company history.
Bats included are those of legendary Hall of Famers such as Joe DiMaggio, Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline, Mays, Clemente and Ted Williams. Even bats of the legendary Cubs’ infield of the early 20th century: Tinkers, Evers and Chance. Most extraordinary is a 1961 Roger Maris bat that the auction company believes might be the very bat he used to tie Babe Ruth’s home run record. This bat was given to the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse man and is personally inscribed and dated by Maris.
Other game-used jerseys include 1970 Brooks Robinson,1970 Hank Aaron and 1971 Willie Mays.
Autographs: Autographs of Ruth, Cobb and Gehrig are included, as well as almost-
never-seen extremely rare items signed by early Hall of Famers such as John Ward, Dan Brouthers, Christy Mathewson, A.G. Spalding and Alexander Cartwright.
A 1933 American League All-Star team-signed ball complete with all 18 players (including Ruth and Gehrig) is one of the finest in existence with regard to both completeness and condition. Perhaps most extraordinary among autographs is the single finest Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig signed baseball in existence. Graded PSA/DNA 8.5 (the highest grade ever recorded for such a ball), this ball has provenance directly from a priest at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. The family sold the ball at auction in 2006 for $98,600, and it has remained in the possession of the original buyer until consigning it the upcoming REA auction.
Boxing, football, basketball: Sports other than baseball are also represented by a selection of significant high-quality items, headlined by the shoes worn by Muhammad Ali in his epic 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” victory over George Forman. The fight shoes were saved by Ali’s assistant trainer and friend Drew “Bundini” Brown.
Also included is an extraordinary 1968-72 Wilt Chamberlain Los Angeles Lakers game-used road jersey graded MEARS A10 and a 1961-62 Paul Arizin Philadelphia Warriors game-used road jersey MEARS A10.
Americana: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln signed documents highlight an Americana section that also includes signed items from icons such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.
Non-sport cards and original artwork: A strong selection of non-sport cards and related items are yet another featured section of the sale. Thousands of non-sport cards including many key sets dating from the 1880s to the 1960s are featured, highlighted by an extraordinary newly discovered find of unopened gum card boxes from the 1960s, including Batman and The Monkees.
A selection of original artworks used to produce cards is also featured and includes eight 1951 Bowman “Jets, Rockets, Spacemen” paintings. Any 1962 Mars Attacks original artwork is a great prize in the non-sport and illustration art collecting worlds. The auction showcases an amazing five examples, the largest number of 1962 Mars Attacks original paintings to ever surface at auction at a single time. Included are the original artworks for cards No. 11 “Destroy The City,” No. 19 “Burning Flesh,” No. 21 “Prize Captive,” No. 45 “Fighting Giant Insects” and No. 52 “Giant Robot.” Each is an iconic painting by Norm Saunders and among the most desirable non-sport card artworks in existence.
Also featured and of special note is the original cover art for EC Comic’s 1952 Shock SuspenStories No. 3 by legendary artist Wally Wood.
To review the catalog online, learn more about Robert Edward Auctions, receive a complimentary copy of the catalog or inquire about consignments, visit www.robertedwardauctions.com or call (908) 226-9900.