My old pal, Bob Lemke, no doubt got a chuckle out of the auction results of the Collect.com Auction last week. Lemke, who retired from our company about five years ago after nearly 30 years of extraordinary service, had bought an uncut sheet of a pretty famous 1977 Topps proof sheet. It’s the sheet that includes – among a number of others – the famed 1977 Topps proof card showing Reggie Jackson in a Baltimore Orioles uniform and helmet, while the team designation at the top says “Yankees.”
Paying about $3,500, Lemke bought the sheet in the early 1990s from a Rob Lifson auction. Lemke at the time was the publisher of our sports division, which was rolling along in high gear as the hobby was perhaps just a hair past its phenomenal peak. Bob bought the sheet as a promotional vehicle for the company, thinking we would bring it to shows and other events to attract visitors to our table.
That was, in fact, done for a couple of shows, but ultimately the sheet ended up back here in Iola, nicely matted and framed and typically installed in the sports publisher’s office.
While the catalog description suggested there may be only handful of such sheets in existence, Lemke says he’s never seen or heard of another one. It’s likely that the heavy hitters who have the financial resources to wrassle for such rarities might have harbored a similar view: it ended up selling for a whopping $17,550, with the juice.
Just what the guy who shepherds the fortunes of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards needs: more evidence that he’s a genius. Best investment I ever engineered was a U.S. Savings Bond that I bought for a couple who had adopted a baby.