A massive 1,700 lot spring auction, highlighted by one of the finest-known copies of Babe Ruth’s 1916 Sporting News rookie card, set a single-auction record of nearly $7.6 million for Memory Lane, beating its previous best by more than $2 million.
One of just four copies rated at 6 (EX/MT) by PSA, Ruth’s 1916 rookie card sold for a record-setting $940,831, far surpassing the old record price for the grade of $204,000 set back in 2015.
A pair of 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards each set records as interest in the Yankee great’s most famous card continues to grow. A PSA 7 sold for $220,642 while an SGC 6 easily established a new milestone when it netted $123,484. A third card, rated PSA 4, went for $105,685. A PSA 8 copy of his 1953 Topps card also reached the six-figure mark, closing at $113,908. Mantle rookie cards also continue to skyrocket with a PSA 5 example of his 1951 Bowman issue climbing to $52,102.
The auction also featured a collection of 27 different autographed Mantle cards ranging from 1953-1969. Among the cards sold: highly graded signatures on his 1953 Bowman Color ($29,303), 1953 Topps ($21,456) and 1962 Topps ($20,432).
Ruth cards were sprinkled throughout the catalog. An autographed copy of one of his 1933 Goudey cards, with the signature graded 6 by PSA, sold for $197,576. The card originated with a Boston autograph seeker who chased down more than 150 different players in the set not long after they were issued in packs of gum. A 1921 American Caramel E121 Ruth (SGC 3.5) sold for $82,807; a 1921 Oxford E253 graded SGC 4 found a new home at $35,264; a 1921 National Caramel E220 (PSA 2) went for $26,968; and a 1922 Neilson’s Chocolate (PSA 2) ended at $15,716.
Pre-War cards beyond Ruth were strong sellers, too, with a T206 Ty Cobb Red Portrait featuring a rare Polar Bear Tobacco back (PSA 5) among the highlights, bringing $24,427.
Demand for Jackie Robinson cards continues to be strong. Memory Lane sold a PSA 9 1950 Bowman Robinson for $95,860 and a 1949 Bowman PSA 8 for $71,459.
Bidders flocked to a PSA 8 copy of the 1938 Goudey Heads-Up Joe DiMaggio, with bids going back and forth before it sold for $61,909, while a 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie card, also graded PSA 8, went for $39,846.
High profile rookie cards in other sports included a 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky graded PSA 9 that soared to $211,199; a 1976 Topps Walter Payton PSA 10 that closed at $96,752; a PSA 8 1961-62 Wilt Chamberlain rookie ($76,978); a PSA 10 1981 Topps Joe Montana ($75,808); a PSA 10 1974-75 Topps George Gervin rookie (record price of $39,846): and a PSA 9 1969-70 Topps Pete Maravich ($36,128).
The auction included dozens of unopened boxes, cases and rare vintage packs. Among the top sellers were a 1979-80 Topps Hockey box that likely contains at least one Wayne Gretzky rookie card ($68,256); 16 1978-79 Topps Basketball boxes from a sealed case ($57,530); 16 1979-80 Topps Basketball boxes, also from a previously sealed case, ($41,321); a 1948 Bowman Basketball pack ($50,933); a 1948-49 Leaf Baseball pack from the “short print series” ($48,508) and a quartet of 1980-81 Topps Basketball boxes that sold for over $40,000 each.
The auction included numerous lots of rare vintage photographs including a circa 1913 Charles Conlon image of Joe Jackson. The 6-by-8-inch PSA/DNA Type 1 photo opened at $10,000 but when bidding came to a close, it had realized $105,888.
Some quality ungraded vintage baseball sets also drew interest including a 1971 Topps set ($19,506) and a 1972 Topps set ($8,871). Set builders had the rare opportunity to check off some low population cards on their want lists. Top sellers included a 1953 Topps Johnny Groth PSA 10 ($17,288) and a 1956 Topps Johnny Podres PSA 10 ($17,288).
For complete results of the Memory Lane Spring 2021 Auction go to www.MemoryLaneInc.com