Thorpe, Killer T206s Headline Mile High Auction

Mile High Card Co. is following up its record-breaking fall 2008 auction with a no-less-impressive offering of what company officials say might be the single most comprehensive selection of scarce, high-grade sports cards and collectibles offered in recent memory.

A staggering lineup of more than 500 prewar card lots, including more than 100 T206 White Borders with grades at PSA 7 or above, is matched with MHCC’s traditional vast array of 1950s and 1960s Topps and Bowman cards, a grouping peppered with PSA 9s and 10s.

And while a lengthy parade of pristine graded cards is hardly unusual for a MHCC sale, there’s also a significant memorabilia offering that is headlined by a circa 1910 first-generation photograph of Jim Thorpe (see left) in his Carlisle Indians football uniform, a remarkable image that MHCC President Brian Drent says “may be the earliest known photo of the legendary Hall of Famer.”

The result is a sale approaching 1,600 lots, yielding a burly 352-page catalog.

“This is probably our single nicest auction in terms of graded cards,” Drent noted. The auction will be available online (www.milehighcardco.com) starting March 2; the closing date is March 25.

Prewar highlights
In addition to an impressive offering of nearly every 1909-11 T206 White Border Hall of Famer in grades of NM 7 or better and a strong selection of “E” series Caramel cards, the prewar listings include high-grade T205 Gold Borders, Mecca Double Folders and Hassan Triple Folders.

According to Drent, the piéce de résistance of MHCC’s Spring 2009 auction is the great grandfather of all Cy Young cards, the world’s finest 1903 E107 Cy Young, graded SGC 60. A close runner-up to the offered E107 Young is the hobby’s fifth-finest example of Joe Jackson’s 1909-11 E90-1 American Caramel rookie issue, graded SGC 70. In case this “Shoeless Joe” rookie is too rich for your blood, MHCC is also offering E90-1 Joe Jackson examples in grades of SGC 40 and PSA 2, as well.

Other prewar highlights include a presentable 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats example of Harry Wright, as well as a 1909 T204 Ramly example of Bobby Wallace, graded PSA 7; PSA 8 examples of Lou Gehrig’s 1933 DeLong issue; and both of the Yankee captain’s 1934 Goudey issues. 

Postwar
Among the most impressive pieces from Mile High’s imposing selection of 80-plus postwar gems are PSA 10 Gem Mint examples of Sandy Koufax’s second-year 1956 Topps, 1959 Topps examples of Duke Snider and Gil Hodges, the hobby’s finest 1963 Topps Willie Mays and a perfect copy of Mr. Cub’s final and most challenging Topps issue, the one and only 1971 Topps Ernie Banks example ever graded PSA 10.

Other Pop Chart-topping baseball notables include the hobby’s only 1963 Fleer Brooks Robinson in Gem Mint condition, the only known 1971 Topps example of Juan Marichal in Gem Mint and the only known 1975 Topps second-year issue of Dave Winfield evaluated at the lofty PSA 10 tier.

Ultra high-grade set collectors will encounter a wide-ranging selection of unique, low-population, postwar commons in PSA 10 condition, and non-sport enthusiasts will be drawn to a 1956 Topps Davy Crockett example in PSA 10 Gem Mint condition.

Other postwar highlights include a perfectly centered example of Mickey Mantle’s 1953 Topps issue graded PSA 8, a 1951 Bowman Whitey Ford rookie graded SGC 88, a 1954 Topps Ted Williams graded PSA 9, a 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente rookie graded SGC 88, a 1954 Dan-Dee Potato Chips example of The Mick graded SGC 88, a 1957 Topps Brooks Robinson rookie graded PSA 9, a 1958 Topps Roger Maris rookie graded PSA 9 and one of the finest-known 1958 Topps Jim Brown rookies, graded SGC 92.

The sale also features what MHCC staffers describe as “drool-worthy” examples of Roberto Clemente’s and Sandy Koufax’s challenging 1962 Topps issues, both graded PSA 9, and an exceptionally high-end (and borderline Gem Mint) example of Nolan Ryan’s 1968 Topps rookie, also graded PSA 9.

Presentation sets
Set highlights, in addition to the expected slew of completely graded, partially graded and raw sets and groups, include an exceptionally high-grade 1934 Goudey near-set with every card graded PSA 8; a partial set of (152) T205 Gold Borders, all graded PSA 5; the No. 2 finest 1952 Bowman Baseball SGC Set Registry; the No. 12 finest 1953 Topps PSA Set Registry; the No. 10 finest 1955 Topps All-American PSA Set Registry; a 1955 Bowman Football completely graded assemblage boasting an impressive 8.03 GPA; a 1957 Topps Baseball set completely graded PSA 8 (as well as another ’57 set completely graded PSA 7); the No. 5 finest 1961 Topps Football PSA Set Registry; and a 1986 Fleer Basketball set with every single card graded PSA 10 Gem Mint, one of just five such sets in the world.

Finally, and hailing directly from the estate of a Hall of Fame baseball writer, Mile High is offering a series of  the highly coveted Topps Baseball “Presentation” Sets, complete with boxes from 1959, 1961 and 1962.

Memorabilia
Included among Mile High’s select offering of memorabilia are a sprawling 1912 Cleveland Naps Panoramic photograph featuring a young Joe Jackson; a scarce 1913 Fatima T200 Premium of Cleveland, also featuring a super-sized image of Joe Jackson; two beautifully framed team cut-signature ensembles of both the 1927 and 1961 World Championship New York Yankees; one of the world’s finest surviving 1957 Topps Mantle Second Series wax packs graded GAI 8.5 (and another graded GAI 8); and a remarkable Thurman Munson single-signed baseball graded PSA 8.

Among the more intriguing pieces from Mile High’s memorabilia selection include the world’s only 1968 Topps Plaks complete set in three-player sprue form and comprised of the very finest examples from Drent’s 2008 Topps Plaks find, as well as MLB’s 250,000th home run ball, hit by Gary Sheffield (his 496th career home run) on Sept. 8, 2008.

Non-sports
The company’s expansive Spring ’09 non-sports section features completely graded, partially graded and raw sets and groups, many of which hail from a large Connecticut collection of pack-fresh and perfectly preserved issues spanning the 1930-70s.

Highlights include the No. 2 Finest 1953 Topps Who-Z-At Star PSA Set Registry, the No. 4 Finest 1953 Bowman Antique Autos PSA Set Registry, the No. 6 Finest 1956 Gum Inc. Adventure PSA Set Registry, the No. 4 Finest 1964 Topps Beatles Color PSA Set Registry, high-grade groups from 1939 War News and World in Arms, 1941 Uncle Sam and War Gum and 1951 Bowman Red Menace.

There is also a large grouping of high-grade (partially graded) sets, including 1950 Topps Bring ’Em Back Alive, 1950 Topps Freedom’s War, 1953 Bowman Frontier Days, 1954 Topps World on Wheels, 1955 Topps Rails and Sails, 1956 Topps Davy Crockett, 1956 Topps Elvis Presley, 1957 Topps Planes Red Back, 1957 Topps Robin Hood, 1957 Topps Space, 1963 Topps Beverly Hillbillies and a high-grade assemblage of the 1966 Topps Batman “Blue Bat” Set, among many others. Closing out the catalog is a superlative array of PSA and SGC Mint 9 examples from the popular 1959 Fleer Three Stooges issue.  

Registered bidders can expect the catalog to arrive by the end of the first week of March. New bidders can register for the auction at www.milehighcardco.com, or by calling (303) 840-2784.

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