Online Auctioneer: Mets Pitchers Shine, Altered Cards still Bring Big Bucks

By Larry Canale

AMAZIN’ AGAIN! – We mentioned the 1969 Amazin’ Mets in this space last time, thanks to that classic Topps ’69 World Series subset in its 1970 baseball set. Perhaps the 2015 Mets will turn out to be just as amazing. For now, they’re thrilling fans with a hot summer-into-autumn run, sparked by new arrival Yoenis Cespedes and nearly traded Wilmer Flores, not to mention a record-setting summer home run stretch by Lucas Duda. When Duda hit the DL for a short stint in late August, the face of the franchise, David Wright, returned from his own injury, giving the Mets a shot in the arm for the September race.

The key to 2015 Mets, though, is that pitching staff, particularly the following quartet of young arms. Here’s a look at big prices paid recently for items related to this talented quartet:

OA-HarveyMatt Harvey: $2,225 for a 2010 Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor autographed card graded BGS 10. Slightly lesser-condition specimens of the same card – both graded BGS 9.5 – brought prices of $1,069 and $1,044.

OA-DeGromJacob deGrom: $565 for a 2015 Topps Chrome 1-of-1 Superfractor card, ungraded. Plus, a bidder spent $400 on a 2014 National Treasures autographed patch card (No. 20 of 99) graded BGS 9.5. And a 2015 Topps Museum Collection Silver Jumbo deGrom-signed card, one of five produced, fetched $500.

OA-Syndergaard_2010_BowmanNoah Syndergaard: $1,499 for a 2015 Bowman 1-of-1 signed Superfractor card. Drawing the same price: a 2014 Bowman Sterling Superfractor signed card, also a 1-of-1. Meanwhile, a 2010 Syndergaard-autographed Bowman Chrome Refractor Draft Prospect card graded BGS 9 sold for $400.

OA-MatzSteve Matz: $1,000 for a 2009 Bowman Chrome Orange Refractor autographed by the young lefty. A Blue Refractor of the same card (graded BGS 9.5) brought $600, while a Gold version (also a BGS 9.5) checked in at $535.

The names “Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard and Matz” don’t roll off your tongue like “Seaver, Koosman, Gentry, and Ryan,” but they’re getting similar results. These young arms – with help from ancient Bartolo Colon and steady Jonathan Niese – have New Yorkers feeling giddy right about now.

ALTERATIONS CHARGE? – Altered cards seem creepy to some of us, don’t they? Who wants to buy a classic card that was doctored to look like it’s in better condition? Yet some will accept “fixes” that were made to correct flaws – and maybe deceive. We see just such an example at No. 6 on our Top 10 list, and it’s a good one . . . a Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps card. It shows strong colors and sharp focus, and the centering is only mildly off (it’s ever-so-slightly askew within the white border). However, the card drew an “Authentic/Altered” designation from PSA.

OA-Mantle_alteredEBay seller PWCC speculates “some light surface wrinkles are present along the left border, which downgrade the card. These creases appear to have been pressed, as have the corners, and this seems to be the cause for the ‘Altered’ designation.”
How did bidders respond? The altered Mantle soared to $11,877 on an impressive 52 bids.

OA-1917_Joe_JacksonTwo slots down from that Mantle card, we show a 1917 Joe Jackson card produced by Collins-McCarthy Candy Co. of San Francisco. This one bears an “Authenticated” notation from PSA, but not an “Altered” designation. Yet the first line of the seller’s description gives it away: “Neatly trimmed and measuring just slightly smaller than factory specifications. The card has no wrinkles or creases and presents as EX+ overall with sharp corners.”
Of course it has sharp corners: razors will do that. Despite the doctoring, the card sold for $11,000.

Even though both cards came with full disclosures, they remind us to be ultra-careful in our purchases. Speaking of which: Would you buy a doctored card? We’d love to hear your thoughts; pop us a note at larrycanale@comcast.net.

OA-1952_MaysHE GAVE PITCHERS THE WILLIES – Sitting just outside our Top 10 this time: a sweet-condition 1952 Topps Willie Mays card that fetched $9,911 on 32 bids. The card’s PSA 7 grade helped push it to that level, which is well above the price another PSA 7 Topps ’52 Mays brought in July: $5,750. A number of other examples of the card in lesser condition (between 3 and 6) sold in recent months for prices between $1,500 and $3,000.

Mays’ 1952 card reflects his NL Rookie of the Year season in 1951, when he batted .274 with 20 HRs and 68 RBI. He also showed off that amazing arm in center field, accounting for 12 assists. From there, of course, Mays went on to play 21 more years, logging final totals of 660 homers 338 steals, 1,903 RBI and a .302 average, not to mention 195 outfield assists.

OA-PetersonALL-DAY ADRIAN – His personal issues presumably behind him, Adrian Peterson is primed to return to form as a top-tier NFL running back. Fantasy football owners believe; Peterson ranked high on preseason draft boards across the country. Collectors are starting to warm up again, too.

Recent sales of AP memorabilia include a 2007 Upper Deck SP Authentic Auto patch card that realized $725; a 2007 signed Vikings jersey that brought $600; and a 2007 Bowman Chrome signed rookie card that sold for $585. Peterson-signed helmets are drawing between $250 and $500, depending on size (mini vs. full) and provenance.

Top Ten Online Auctions
1. $27,350: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (PSA 7)
2. $16,700: 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan (PSA 10)
3. $16,222: 2014-15 National Treasures Andrew Wiggins auto patch #22/25
4. $14,900: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (BVG 3.5)
5. $12,000: 1988 Best Ken Griffey Jr. parallel platinum (PSA 10)
6. $11,877: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (PSA Authenticated, Altered)
7. $11,495: 1915 E106 American Caramel Honus Wagner
(PSA 5)
8. $11,000: 1915 E135 Collins-McCarthy Candy Co. Joe
Jackson (PSA authenticated)
9. $10,950: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (SGC 30)
10. $10,413: 1939 Play Ball Ted Williams (PSA 8)

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