The highest graded 1948 Leaf trading card of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bobby Layne sold for $27,618 in Memory Lane Inc’s football-only Big Game Auction II on Feb 5.
The PSA 8 card shows Layne in yellow-colored pants, a variation that drew 11 bids from serious collectors of rare football cards. Layne was a University of Texas All-American in 1947, then led the Detroit Lions to their last three championships (1952, 1953 and 1957). He was elected to Pro Football’s Hall of Fame in 1967.
The Layne card was part of a robust collection of high-grade vintage football cards that sold in the auction, which generated more than $280,000 in bids from collectors across North America.
Several other high-grade 1948 Leaf cards were very strong among the 2100 bids recorded. A Bob Waterfield "name in black" variation sold for $19,007 including the buyer’s premium. A “green jersey” Steve Van Buren brought $11,300 and a Doak Walker rookie in PSA 8 sold for $7,471.
The first lot in the auction was a high-grade 1955 Topps All-American set. Pieced together largely through a find of unopened packs, it carried a 7.77 average grade and sold for $11,594. One of those cello packs from the ’55 series, untouched for 55 years and graded ‘8’ by PSA, sold for $7,199. The following year, Topps began to produce its still-running yearly series of pro football cards and one of the finest cards ever to come to auction from that set, a 1956 Topps Lenny Moore graded PSA 10, sold for $6,174.
Memory Lane also offered several 1930s football cards, including a 1935 National Chicle Knute Rockne, graded PSA 8, which sold for $5,612.
Several vintage football sets and lots were included in the auction. A group of 150 graded 1965 Topps “tall boy” AFL cards brought a strong price of $6,614, while a 1969 Topps complete set, all graded 8 or higher, went for $4,107 and a 1964 Philadelphia Gum set, all graded 8s and 9s, found a new home at a realized price of $3,733.
A Chicago Cardinals 1947 commemorative championship ring presented to Hall of Famer Charley Trippi was tops on the list of memorabilia. The unique ring sold for $4,216.
Even Babe Ruth was represented in this “football only” event in the form of an 8×10 photo that was an original image issued in the 1920s, showing the Babe at Drake University in full football regalia. The one-of-a-kind photo sold for $1,454.