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High-grade rookies propel Heritage Sports Trading Card Auction to $8.5 million

Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson and Mickey Mantle baseball cards led the way for Heritage Sports Trading Card Auction to reach $8.5 million.

A pair of 1948 Leaf cards soared to new heights at the conclusion of Heritage Auctions’ Nov. 15-16 Fall Sports Card Catalog Auction. Winning bids for a PSA NM-MT 8 Satchel Paige and a PSA Mint 9 Jackie Robinson of $432,000 and $336,000, respectively, pushed the two cards to the status of becoming the most expensive sale prices from the hobby’s first great post-war issue. Together, the pair of cards accounted for nearly 10 percent of the final auction tally of $8.5 million.

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“I’ve lost count of how many trading card world records we’ve broken in 2018,” said Chris Ivy, director of Sports Auctions at Heritage. “This might be the strongest bull market we’ve seen in the hobby, and that’s why the top cards keep coming out of the woodwork. We expect more of the same in 2019.”

Rookie cards continued to dominate the marketplace in this Nov. 15-16 event, with a NM-MT+ 8.5 example of Willie Mays’ 1952 Topps rookie commanding $108,000, and a 1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain in the same grade selling for $31,200. Steve Carlton’s 1965 Topps rookie shattered the standing record for a Gem Mint 10 example, the $52,800 result is nearly five times higher than the last offering by Heritage in 2010.

Other highlights include:

• $108,000: 1969 Topps Mickey Mantle (Yellow Letters) #500, PSA Gem Mint 10 – one of only two Gem Mint 10s on the planet

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• $57,000: The highest-graded 1958 Alifabolaget Pele #635, PSA Mint 9, of the five known to exist

• $52,800: The hobby’s highest-graded specimen of just two known to exist of the 1922 E121 American Caramel Co. Series of 120 Babe Ruth, PSA MINT 9

• $45,600: The highest-graded 1958 Topps Ted Williams #1, PSA Mint

• $40,800: 2007 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection: Michael Jordan/Kobe Bryant/LeBron James Triple Autograph Jerseys #JBJ, PSA NM-MT 8 – No. 1 of 3

• $38,400: 1957 Topps Bill Russell #77 PSA NM-MT 8