Considering the voluminous amount of sports memorabilia and cards offered to the collecting public nearly each week of the year, you might come to the conclusion that there is nothing left to grab our attention.
Memory Lane Inc’s upcoming Summer Classics Auction proves that’s not the case.
The company will bring forth some new finds and ultra-scarce, high-grade vintage memorabilia and autographs when the auction opens. More than 1,100 lots will be offered in bidding that begins July 30 and closes Aug. 20.
Among the headliners is one of the most coveted items on every ticket collector’s want-list: the one from Major League Baseball’s very first All-Star Game, played in Chicago in 1933. There’s a catch, though. This isn’t a stub. It’s a full ticket; the only known surviving authentic example of the historic game that featured Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Carl Hubbell and a host of other stars. Bidding for the unique piece of baseball history begins at $3,500.
It’s hard to believe unopened sports card packs from the 1950s or ’60s exist. Memory Lane has taken that to the next level with lot No. 2 in this auction: A newly-discovered 1948 Bowman basketball unopened pack, authenticated by PSA and graded NM-MT 8. The pack could contain a George Mikan rookie card. Five cards and one very old slab of gum rest inside the wax wrapper. It cost a nickel in 1948. Minimum bid in the auction will be $5,000.
A stellar collection of Brooklyn Dodgers memorabilia comes to the market for the first time as well. The Steve Ross Dodgers Collection includes an eye-popping collection of autographs from the team’s early days in Flatbush until the club’s move west in the late 1950s. Multiple team-signed baseballs, bats, yearbooks will be sold by Memory Lane, as well as two original Ebbets Field chairs and an array of top quality Dodgers baseball cards and other memorabilia once held by the long-time Bums collector.
Finding Babe Ruth autographed baseballs on official baseballs is hard to do. Finding one on a National League ball is next to impossible, but Memory Lane not only has one in this auction, it’s a gorgeous example that appears virtually untouched for decades.
Yankee fans and baseball historians will appreciate the significance of this: a 1936 Yankees team-signed baseball featuring Lou Gehrig’s sweet spot signature – and a rookie year autograph from a young Joe DiMaggio, representing the merger of two distinct eras and two of baseball’s most enduring players.
Memory Lane is best known for always offering stacks of high-grade, vintage cards from all sports and this auction is no exception. Cards from every decade of the 20th-century professional baseball are represented, including some that have rarely, if ever been offered at auction.
A 1927 Yankees program features the autographs of Ruth, Gehrig, Tony Lazerri, Dutch Ruether and one of the most rare autographs of all of the ’27 club, Joe Giard. There is also a single-signed Ruth baseball, authenticated by PSA/DNA. The Babe has scrawled his signature in pencil on the sweet spot.
Multiple pre-World War I single cards are offered including a scarce 1911 M110 Sporting Life Cabinet Ty Cobb, a 1911 Turkish Silk Christy Mathewson, a T205 Cobb, a T206 Walter Johnson hands at chest PSA 8 ($5,000 MB) and a PSA 8 Nap Lajoie (with bat). Other T206s, including Mathewson and Fred Merkle are also on the block. There is a 1915 Cracker Jack John McGraw (PSA 8) and a partial set of 1910-12 Sweet Caporal Pins (171 in all).
Heroes of the 1930s included Notre Dame’s legendary coach Knute Rockne who is represented with a pair of exceptional cards in the auction: a 1933 Sport Kings (PSA 8 with just two ever graded higher) and a 1955 Topps All-American PSA 10. There’s also a ’33 Goudey Lou Gehrig No. 160 graded PSA 8, the scarcer of the two Gehrig cards in the extremely popular vintage baseball card set and tough to find in such high quality.
A long line of bidders usually forms for any vintage Mickey Mantle cards, especially the iconic ’52 Topps. A PSA 5.5 example is offered here as well as a 1953 Bowman Color in a striking PSA 9 grade. Other high-grade Mantle cars include a 1955 Bowman (PSA 8), 1956 Topps (PSA 8), 1961 Topps and MVP (both PSA 9) and 1964 Topps (PSA 9).
A PSA 8 grade 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie and a 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie highlight the mid-1950s cards offered. The list of PSA 10 cards includes a 1969 Topps Rollie Fingers rookie, a 1972 Topps Nolan Ryan and a 1973 Topps Roberto Clemente.
A variety of lots, sets and partial sets from years that span the collecting interest of most hobbyists will be up for bid including top grade 1935 Diamond Stars singles, 1940 and ’41 Play Ball sets, two graded 1955 Topps All-American football sets, huge selections of high-grade cards from 1948 Bowman football, ultra-tough 1971 Topps baseball and even a run of individual 1956 Topps football in PSA 10.
For collectors of the 1961-62 Fleer Basketball set, it doesn’t get much better than a Wilt Chamberlain rookie card in PSA 9. Just three 10s exist because of inconsistent centering, thus putting this card on the want list of most members of the PSA Set Registry. Minimum bid is $3,500.
Hockey collectors will find all of the icons represented including Gordie Howe (1952 Parkhurst PSA 8) and Bobby Orr (1967 Topps PSA 9).
MLI also brings forth a group of rare and high-grade vintage non-sport cards.
In addition to the baseballs mentioned earlier, a large variety of other autographed items steal some of the spotlight in the auction, topped by a highly-coveted 1860 Abraham Lincoln signed check that carries a grade of Mint 9 from the PSA/DNA .
Sports autograph collectors can chase autographed items from Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and dozens of other big names.
Some of the featured items in the Summer Classics Auction will be on display at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention Aug. 3-7. Those who consign items with the company prior to the National will receive a free VIP pass, a $180 value. They will also be meeting with collectors and accepting consignments at its booth in Chicago all week. Contact Memory Lane at (714) 730-0600 for a free catalog, to register for the auction or set up a time to discuss possible consignments.