Led by the sale of collecting’s most famous baseball card, Memory Lane’s Holy Grail Auction generated $2,027,079 when the curtain closed on bidding early Sunday morning.
A T206 Honus Wagner, long held by one of the hobby’s most dedicated collectors, sold for $654,500, the highest price ever obtained at auction for a PSA 2 graded example.
The T206 Eddie Plank, also a key to the famous set and another of the hobby’s most sought-after cards, continued to perform strongly at auction. Memory Lane offered a PSA 4, which sold for $83,300.
Auction prices realized included a 19 percent buyer’s premium.
While the Wagner and Plank cards were the headliners, other cards also performed well despite what has been a remarkably busy auction season across the industry.
“It’s a strong testimony to the health of quality vintage sports cards and sports memorabilia when you can have several competing auction houses running major events within a five or six-week time frame and all of them seemingly doing really well,” said Memory Lane’s J.P. Cohen. “Ours was a huge success across the board, and we’re now extremely excited about our next auction this summer.”
Another vintage card that drew a crowd of bidders was a 1933 Goudey No. 181 Babe Ruth PSA 8 that sold for $20,540, continuing a string of large sales for this bubble gum card of the baseball icon. Among the other Ruth items changing hands in the auction included one of the rarest items the auction house had ever seen; a 14-inch mini bat made to help promote “Babe Ruth Underwear,” a clothing product targeted at boys decades ago. Barrel-autographed by the Bambino, it sold for $9,925.
Collectors will often pursue seemingly insurmountable tasks with an uncommon passion and that was the case with another top item in the auction: a 1961 Fleer Baseball Greatest Moments set featuring 98 signed cards from the many icons featured, as well as an unopened pack. The lot ended with a realized price of $10,545.
Among the other vintage baseball cards drawing strong interest included a 1902 W600 Sporting life Mathewson PSA 3 that soared to $9,581, a 1940 Play Ball No. 225 Joe Jackson PSA 8 ($6,955); a 1952 Bowman No. 101 Mickey Mantle PSA 8 ($5,603), a 1967 Topps No. 569 Rod Carew Rookie PSA 9 ($5,094), and a phenomenal 1974 Topps No. 1 Aaron All-time Home Run King PSA 10 ($9,677).
Even common cards aren’t always considered "common" when they’re ultra tough to find in high grade. Case in point: a 1958 Topps No. 413 Jim Davenport PSA 9 that generated a bidding war until it closed at $4,420
The auction also included a number of popular football, basketball and hockey items. A gem mint PSA 10 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card sold for $9,258; a 1955 Topps All-American No. 37 Jim Thorpe PSA 9 brought $6,791, a 1951 Parkhurst No. 52 The Winning Goal, graded PSA 9, sold for $5,612 and a rare 1961 Kahn’s Weiners PSA 9 Jerry West rose to $3,861.
The auction included a number of unopened boxes and packs including a 1963 Topps 5-cent wax pack, graded PSA 8. It sold for $4,149 to a collector who now faces the decision of whether to open it up or resist the temptation and keep it in the wrapper that’s held it for 49 years.
Memory Lane’s next event is an “I Own it Now Sale” where premium items are offered at a set price for a set period and collectors decide whether to buy immediately or wait and make an offer. High-end consignments are still being accepted for I Own it Now, as well as Memory Lane’s upcoming summer catalog auction. The company is again offering free VIP passes to this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention for those who consign.
To consign, register, obtain more information or receive auction catalogs, contact Memory Lane via the company’s website or call (877) 606-5263.