With one-of-a-kind Joe Jackson treasures, an M117 Sporting Times cabinet of Cap Anson that figures to be just about as plentiful and a boatload of complete sets and high-grade stars and commons, the June 15 Mile High Card Co. auction would seem to have just the ticket. But wait, as they say, there's more.
Mix in a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card and three dozen other high numbers from that issue that trace their heritage to Alan Rosen's incredible find of 1952 Topps cards in Quincy, Mass., in 1986, and you have the makings of a winner.
"We picked up a gorgeous 1952 Topps Baseball set, and as hard as it might be to believe, it was ungraded," said Brian Drent, Mile High Card Co. president. "And the Mantle graded a PSA 8, which tells you there is still remarkable ungraded stuff out there.
"The Mantle is at the high end of the PSA 8s. In my opinion, it could be the nicest PSA 8 Mantle out there."
Drent pointed out that, surprisingly, the low numbers aren't quite as nice as the high numbers, since the collector who put it together as a child didn't even know there were high numbers until the 1980s when he got back into the hobby. The collector didn't have a complete set, and at that point in the 1980s he went back and put together the whole set.
Rosen sold a huge number of high numbers to dealers following the find, and this collector purchased more than three dozen from Dick Decourcy of Georgia Music and Sports. The 1952 Topps set is offered in two segments, in a low-number run and a high-number run and there are other 1952s in the same auction.
"One of the most important lots in the sale is the 1914 Boston Garter Joe Jackson, probably ex-plus, although it appears much nicer. There are probably only five or six examples known in the hobby and our forecast is anywhere between $80,000 and $110,000."
"Probably our best item is a 1911 T5 Pinkerton cabinet of Joe Jackson, and this is the only known example. We've talked to many long-time collectors and the consensus is that it's the only one. We've been offered $125,000, and our consigner said no. It will sell for between $125,000 and $200,000."
"There's an M117 Sporting Times cabinet card from 1888, of Cap Anson, and I had never even seen one before, let alone an Anson, so we are excited to see what that goes for. My guess would be $30,000-$40,000.
"Considering the popularity of 19th-century material and also with esoteric items, we think those three lots will just go bonkers."
Drent said the sale includes an amazing group of mid- to higher-grade sets, with graded cards within the sets, and some of the sets entirely graded. He describes the 737-lot sale as a well-rounded auction of nice material, including a grouping of T206 stars and commons in PSA 7, E93 and E95 completely graded sets and a vast array of 1950s and 1960s complete sets.
An auction that Drent figures includes as many complete sets as his company has ever offered also boasts a complete 1933 Sport Kings copyright patent set in a single lot and a completely PSA-graded 1915 Cracker Jack, with grades ranging from PSA 3 to PSA 8. "It's nice to be able to offer one of the premier issues in the hobby in an all-graded state," Drent added.
Ruth turns up in some of the usual places, but in typical Mile High fashion, the grades are eye catching and there are also things you don't see every day, like a 1921 Koester Bread Ruth in SGC 80 that Drent figures is the nicest one in the hobby. There are also three of the four 1933 Goudey Ruths, 1933 Sport Kings cards of Ruth (PSA8) and Ty Cobb (SGC 88), and a 1933 DeLong Gehrig (PSA 8).
In addition to the 1952 Mantle in PSA 8, there's another 1952 Topps specimen in PSA 5, plus a 1951 Bowman Mantle rookie card in GAI 8.5, a 1953 Bowman Color Mantle in GAI 9.5 and a 1956 Mantle in GAI 9. Ted Williams weighs in with 1950 and 1951 Bowman cards, both in PSA 9 and one of the hobby's condition toughies, the 1954 Wilson Franks card, in PSA 7.
Other post-war headliners include: 1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson (SGC 95); 1957 Topps Don Drysdale rookie (PSA 9); and a 1959 Topps Frank Robinson (PSA 10). There also are cool regionals and Topps nonmainstream issues, like the 1954 Wilson Franks, and the 1971 Topps Greatest Moments, plus a complete set of 1951 Topps Football Felt Backs, 1948 Bowman Basketball commons in PSA 10 grades, 1954-55 Topps Hockey cards and even a 1951 Topps Ringside panel.
Registration and bidding are available online at www.milehighcardco.com. For more information or to receive the 136-page, full-color catalog, call (303) 840-2784, or e-mail email@example.com. A sampling of the items in the auction appears in a two-page full-color advertisement on pages 32-33 in this issue of SCD and in a two-page advertisement in the June 9 issue (last week) of SCD.