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Pre-War standouts headline Memory Lane’s Spring Break Rarities Auction

Collectors of pre-War baseball cards will have plenty to search through and choose from in Memory Lane's Spring Break Rarities Auction.

A T206 Old Mill Ty Cobb PSA 8, a near set of the hobby’s “monster” and a rarely offered PSA 9 1939 Play Ball Ted Williams rookie card will lead off Memory Lane’s Spring Break Rarities catalog when bidding opens. That trio of lots is just the start of a 1,000-item auction that has everything from rare Babe Ruth cards to Tom Brady rookies.

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Bidding opened March 16 and closes April 6.

The T206 Cobb is the highest graded example that features the Old Mill Cigarettes ad on the back. Prices for non-rare backed Cobbs have increased by more than 400 percent in recent years with two eights having sold last summer for six-figure prices. Bidding on the Old Mill Cobb opened at a modest $15,000.

The auction also includes a near set of 470 graded T206 cards from the collection of the late Jim Haas, who spent more than four decades piecing it together as well as dozens of other graded cards from the hobby’s most popular pre-War set. 

The PSA 9 1939 Play Ball Williams is a condition rarity. Only 12 exist (one higher) and just three examples have been offered at auction over the last nine years with the last example bringing $240,000. Bidding for the Memory Lane offering opened at $50,000.

Several uncommon Ruth cards can also be found near the beginning of the catalog including some that stand at or near the top of the population reports for condition. There is a 1921 Oxford Confectionery graded PSA 5.5 (only one higher); a 1921 American Caramel with Ruth’s nickname in quotes (PSA 3.5); a 1928 Yuengling’s rated 5 (the highest PSA example) and a PSA 2 1933 Uncle Jack’s Candy (only 14 graded examples exist).

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A Boston Americans team set of scarce 1903 E107 Breisch-Williams cards will be offered card-by-card, including Cy Young. The remainder of the legendary complete set owned by collector Chris Sullivan sold at auction seven years ago.

Other notable pre-1950s card offerings will include a set of 1911 T201 Mecca Double Folders, a 1933 DeLong set break with 23 of 24 cards available including a PSA 5 Lou Gehrig; a high-grade 1948 Bowman set break with 45 PSA 8s, several high quality 1915 Cracker Jack cards, several rare 19th century Old Judge cards and a scarce 1948 Leaf Satchel Paige (PSA 4.5).

A collection of Willie Mays cards considered the best in the world will be broken up and sold in the auction including many of the best known particular examples for some of the rarest Mays cards ever issued.

High-grade rookie cards of Roberto Clemente (PSA 8), Hank Aaron (PSA 8 and 7.5), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (PSA 9), Oscar Robertson (PSA 8), Wayne Gretzky (OPC PSA 8) and dozens of others are expected to attract bidders in what’s become a hot market for vintage icons. There are a large number of vintage Mickey Mantle cards, large runs of graded 1950s cards and a major collection of high-grade rookies featuring Brady, whose earliest cardboard has been the topic of countless news stories in recent weeks.

Set collectors will have several options to chase. The auction will feature the fourth best 1959 Fleer Ted Williams set on PSA’s Set Registry, the eighth best 1955 Bowman football set with all cards rated 8 or 9, a high-grade 1961 Topps Baseball set, a high-grade near complete set of 1966-67 Topps USA Test Hockey, a 1986-87 Fleer complete set (all PSA 8) and numerous other sets and near sets.

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The auction includes a significant run of vintage unopened material including a 1959 Fleer Ted Williams box, a 1975 Topps Mini Baseball box, a 1977 Topps cello box, a 1977 Topps Football cello box and a 1977 Topps Mexican Football box. Non-sport unopened includes 1960s More of the Monkees and Donruss Combat.

Memorabilia collectors will find several desirable signed checks including the earliest Hall of Fame inductees: Ruth, Mathewson, Cobb, Wagner and Johnson. The auction also has several other Ruth autographs including a single-signed ball. There are autographed photos of Cobb and Gehrig and a Ruth/Gehrig dual cut.

Photo collectors will find two dozen lots featuring Type 1 images including several of Ruth taken by the legendary George Grantham Bain.

To request a physical copy of the catalog and/or register for bidding, contact Memory Lane at or by calling 877-606-5263.