Pirate Cigarettes set nears $1 million in Mastro l

Mastro Auctions’ first-ever live sale, which took place Aug. 3 at the House of Blues in Cleveland the same weekend of the National Convention, was the site of another sports card first when bids of $960,000 were executed for a 1912 T215 “Pirate” Cigarettes near set.
That bid, placed by a man who owns one of the finest vintage baseball set collections in the world, helped break a record that previously belonged to the 1914 Cracker Jack set, which sold a few years ago by Mastro for $850,000.
According to Mastro President Doug Allen, the winning bidder had a lot of competition in his pursuit to purchase the record-breaking lot.
“We set the auction estimate at $300,000-$400,000, and as the auction progressed, people kept asking what I thought (the set) was going to do,” said Allen. “And I said $750,000, but I also said that I wouldn’t be surprised if it went for a million. I had dinner last night with the guy who bought it, and I kidded him. I said, ‘Come on, couldn’t you have jumped yourself on one more bid.’
“You would have thought that the issue that would set the record would be a high-grade mainstream set, but this one was just so rare,” said Allen. “I could see it lining up; there were so many people telling me they were going to own that set, and of course, only one person can.”
In an interview with Allen, which took place a few hours before the 83-lot sale, he boldly attempted to predict its outcome.
“We know this auction is going to average over $30,000 per lot,” said Allen. “I don’t think an auction in our hobby has ever gone over $10,000 per lot. So it’s gonna eclipse any record that there’s ever been.”
It eclipsed it alright, but not even Allen could have guessed that the sale could have produced more than $50,000 per lot, which was a sports memorabilia
auction record.
The auction, which took place in front of an estimated 300 of some of the hobby’s biggest dealers and collectors, realized a total of $4.3 million.
“I’ve been with Mastro officially for six years, and for me, this live auction was the biggest event we’ve done,” said Allen. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Live auctions are not really our vision about the way sports collectibles need to be sold, but I think there are certain sports collectibles that lend themselves to that kind of venue.”
Other notable items that sold were a 1927 Miller Huggins World Series ring ($204,000); 1914 H813 Boston Garter Joe Jackson ($204,000); Mickey Mantle’s 500th home run ball ($144,000); Christy Mathewson single-signed ball ($114,000).
The final item sold that night was a 1909 Honus Wagner T206 card that reached $192,000. It was purchased by a private collector.

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