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Collection of N173 Old Judge Cabinet baseball cards brings $431,000 in Weiss Auctions sale

When the Sports, Comics, Comic Art & Animation Auction held March 28 by Weiss Auctions ended, 37 N173 Old Judge Cabinet baseball cards stole the headlines.
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The North Fork Collection of N173 Old Judge cabinet baseball cards from 1888 – 37 in all, sold as individual lots – brought a combined $431,000 at a Sports, Comics, Comic Art & Animation Auction held March 28 by Weiss Auctions. The 500-lot auction grossed a little less than $750,000.

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The crown jewel of the North Fork Collection was a possibly unique cabinet card photo image of New York Giants captain Buck Ewing wearing civilian clothes. With buyer’s premium, the card realized $109,250, a record for an 1888 N173 Old Judge cabinet card.

Also sold were cards for Cincinnati Hall of Fame second baseman John McPhee ($66,125) and Washington catcher and Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack ($48,300). All were excellent, high-grade cards.

Other sports cards in the auction also performed well. A complete set of 1933 Goudey Sports Kings cards, with a mix of PSA and SGC grading, sold as one lot for $12,600. The set featured some of the greatest names in 1930s-era sports, to include Babe Ruth, Gene Sarazen, Max Baer, Ty Cobb, Bobby Jones, Carl Hubbell, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Knute Rockne and others.

A pair of circa 1888 G & B Gum baseball cards, one of them for Hall of Famer Roger Connor, both rare higher-grade cards, hammered as one lot for $8,050. Also, a near-complete set of 1956 Topps baseball cards (339 of 340 produced, missing only the #130 Willie Mays card), with both checklists and overall graded VG/EX with some better, sold for $2,760.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.

A circa 1930s coin-op basketball arcade-style gumball machine, made by the E.E. Junior Mfg. Co., a game of skill with the original players, artwork and instructions all intact, brought $2,760. The user inserts a penny, allowing for three shots, with a gumball as the basketball. The user only gets the gumball if the shot is good. The metal machine, fully functional, is 50 inches tall.

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Original comic cover art by Joe Kubert, from the estate of the noted illustrator himself, came up for bid. Kubert’s cover art for G.I. Combat #161 (May 1973), rose to $10,350; while the signed (but unpublished) cover art for Claw (Dec. 1978) hit $6,900. Both were 12 inches by 17 inches.

A copy of Superman #76, featuring Superman and Batman on the cover, vying to rescue Lois Lane from a burning building in a special double-feature issue, graded F/VF, finished at $2,990. Also, a Ding Bat Family with Krazy Kat sub-comic strip from around 1912, drawn by George Joseph Herriman (1880-1944), with Ignatz and Krazy Kat in all the panels, achieved $6,325.

An original Lou Gehrig portrait, signed by members of the 1941 World Series Champion New York Yankees (plus Babe Ruth), to include Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Red Ruffing, Lefty Gomez, Bill Dickey, Frank Crosetti, Red Rolfe, Earle Combes and others – 30 signatures in all, accompanied by a JSA Certificate of Authenticity – knocked down for $4,440.