Lipset rolls out tobacco and gum rarities, uncut s

When it comes to major vintage auctions, Lew Lipset can be counted on to: 1) turn up fascinating, seldom-seen 19th-century and early 20th-century material; and 2) come up with a catchy, often whimsical name for the auction itself.

Thus, his April 6 sale, dubbed “The Johnny Bates Auction,” sports cool rarities like a M116 Sporting Life Johnny Bates, Cincinnati (shown far right, $5,000 minimum bid) or an uncatalogued error from the R331 National Chicle set of the No. 4 Ed Matesic card with the “i” missing ($1,000).

A E145 1914 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb graded GAI 5.5 likely warrants a $5,000 minimum; Babe Ruth figures prominently in the sale with a 1923 Exhibit (shown lower right, $3,000) that Lipset contends may be the rarest in the world and an E121 American Caramel Ruth ($2,500) graded a PSA 5. The single-player lineup also features an N403 August Beck “Yum Yum” Pud Galvin in SGC 2 and an N690 Kalamazoo Bats Harry Wright in SGC 40, which open at $3,000 each.

“This is a nice, diversified auction, with lots of T205s and T206s,” said Lipset, one of the legendary card experts in the hobby and the publisher of the seminal hobby work The Encyclopedia of Baseball Cards. “The Bates card with Cincinnati is the only one that I know of,” Lipset continued.

The auction features a W503 complete set of (64) that comes from noted collector John Spalding. Lipset described the No. 1 lot ($5,000) in his auction as “the first complete set of these cards offered at auction more than 35 years.”

Under the heading of “Complete Sets You Don’t See Every Day,” there’s a T202 Hassan Triple Folder set (entirely graded, $5,000), a T222 Fatima Players set of 52 ($3,000), an N28 Allen & Ginter set of 50 ($2,000), a near-set of 1934 Goudey High Numbers ($2,000) and an M101-2 Sports News Supplements set of 100 ($3,000).

In an auction totaling nearly 300 lots, there are groupings large and small of T206s and T205s in varying grades, a runs of Wheaties sets from the Spalding Collection, a 1955 Topps Doubleheader set ($2,000), spectacular group lots of vintage photos from Louis Van Oeyen, Charles Martin Conlon and George Burke, plus dozens of lots of 19th-century cards and memorabilia, vintage Topps, Bowman and regional issues, and even uncut sheets of the 1948 Topps Magic Photos ($5,000) and 1921 Koestlers Bread ($3,000).

The complete auction listings are posted at Lipset’s website For more information call (480) 488-9889; many of the lots are pictured in color in the March 31 SCD.  

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