The hobby’s first major catalog auction of 2015 came to a close Jan. 11 when Memory Lane’s Past and Present auction closed with hundreds of top-end sports cards and collectibles changing hands.
Among the headline items was a 1933 DeLong Gum Lou Gehrig, graded PSA 8, which sold for a record-setting $45,410. Postwar vintage cards of Hall of Famers can be just as dynamic, however, and the PSA 8 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente card sold by Memory Lane was proof of that, rocketing to a new market high of $29,216. Just three years ago, PSA 8 Clemente cards typically sold for $8,000-$9,000.
With the 19.5 percent buyer’s premium, total sales reached $1,514,386.
Vintage unopened product has soared over the last few years, and Memory Lane offered three valuable boxes, all of which attracted some determined fans of old wax. A 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey box of 48 packs from Wayne Gretzky’s rookie season, realized $34,655, a 1960 Topps Baseball box brought $28,680 and a 1986-87 Fleer Basketball wax box likely containing multiple Michael Jordan rookie cards closed at $27,485. Another lot featured an autographed Jordan rookie, which brought $14,129.
A 1953 Topps penny pack graded GAI 9 sold for $5,486, a 1954 Topps cello pack, graded GAI 9.5 brought $5,267 and an empty nickel wax pack display box pushed all the way to $3,204.
A collection of high-grade cards from the collection Gary Hughes, a long-time Major League Baseball scout, was also among the highlights. His 1953 Topps set was broken up and spread among collectors who pounced on numerous PSA 8 cards including a Mickey Mantle which sold for $16,701 and a Willie Mays which realized $15,197. However, the prices for lesser names were also noteworthy. PSA 8 cards of Dick Groat, Willie Miranda, Milt Bolling and Bob Addis, all sold for more than $3,000 each.
“The auction was a great success and good start to 2015,” said Memory Lane’s J.P. Cohen. “The market is very strong for high-end, rare items.”
Hall of Fame rookie cards from all eras and sports sold included a 1981 Topps Joe Montana graded PSA 10 ($13,125), a 1961-62 Fleer Jerry West rookie graded PSA 9 ($11,347), a 1960 Topps Carl Yastrzemski graded PSA 9 ($9,986) and a 1952 Topps Lou Brock graded PSA 9 ($9,078). A rare 1990 Frank Thomas "no name on front" rookie card from Topps’ early print run and graded PSA 9 sold for $5,122.
Other vintage highlights included:
- 1953 Topps Jackie Robinson PSA 8 – $8,252
- 1970 Topps Hank Aaron PSA 10 – $7,750
- 1909 T206 Rube Waddell PSA 8 – $7,502
- 1952 Topps Jackie Robinson PSA 7.5 – $6,190
- 1957 Topps Richie Ashburn PSA 10 – $4,990.
On the memorabilia side, a full ticket from Babe Ruth’s "called shot" in the 1932 World Series sold for $15,050 and a Ruth autographed index card carrying a PSA 9 grade sold for $7,490.
For information on this sale and future auctions, visit the company’s website or call 877-606-5263.