The snow may be in the bullpen across much of the country, but Memory Lane has put some hobby aces on the mound and set its sights on the summer game as the company gets set to launch its Winter Extravaganza Catalog Auction on Dec. 5. Hundreds of rare, high-grade vintage baseball cards, autographs and other memorabilia are packed into the final auction of 2013.
Collectors would rather dream of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig items than sugar plums, and they’ll find several pieces in this auction, including a circa 1947 autographed Ruth ball that has been graded PSA 8 (NM/MT). The clean, white Official National League Ford Frick ball has a clear Ruth signature on the sweet spot and dates from Ruth’s late life appearance at the American Legion All-Star Game in Philadelphia. Newly consigned to the hobby, it’s rated among the best Ruth signed balls in existence, having been well protected and preserved throughout the years. It carries an opening bid of $10,000.
Those who prefer cardboard will find a 1933 Goudey #181 Ruth card graded NM/MT 8 by PSA. The well-centered card is one of the better examples to come on the market in recent years. It, too, carries a $10,000 opening bid. There is a ’33 Goudey #92 Lou Gehrig going up for bid as well as a striking 1934 Goudey #88 Gehrig, both rated NM/MT.
One of the more unique pieces from the career of Hall of Fame pitching legend Walter Johnson is in the catalog. A statue of the Big Train, created by legendary sculptor Ulric Dunbar in 1924 and originally presented to President Calvin Coolidge, was made to honor the Hall of Fame pitcher who was a hero in the nation’s capital at the time. The 19-inch statue remains in its original box and also includes a multi-signed baseball that features Johnson’s autograph. Interestingly, this auction also includes a few modern day presidents’ autographs on baseballs.
Valuable baseball memorabilia is sprinkled throughout the catalog. Willie Mays fans and collectors of vintage game-used items have their eye on a circa 1965-70 Mays game-used glove which originates with a former San Francisco Giants’ bat boy.
There is also a remarkable hand-written 1955 letter from Jackie Robinson to prominent Milwaukee sports writer Lou Chapman after a dust-up between Robinson and Braves’ third baseman Eddie Mathews. How many players today would take the time to address an issue with a member of the sports media by penning a letter? The letter includes the original envelope and originated in the estate of Chapman, a prominent figure in baseball media circles for many years.
Robinson’s signature also adorns a high-grade 1954 Dodgers’ team-signed baseball that features 22 autographs and has been in the possession of the original recipient for nearly 60 years.
It’s the treasure trove of vintage and high grade, high demand baseball cards from all eras that collectors have come to expect from Memory Lane, though, and this auction delivers. In addition to the Ruth and Gehrig cards outlined above, expect large groups of cards representing various high-grade sets being sold card-by-card including E101, T206, Cracker Jacks, W517 (most PSA 7-8), M101-4 Sporting News (including a PSA 8 Walter Johnson), 1954 and 1955 Topps, 1967 Topps Venezuelan and 1938 Horrors of War.
Ever seen a 1956 Topps uncut sheet? You will in the Winter Extravaganza as Memory Lane offers a 110-card sheet showing two Hank Aarons along with single cards of Ted Williams, Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax and many other well-known names.
There are numerous Mickey Mantle cards on the block, including 1951-54 Bowman, 1952 Topps, 1954 Red Heart and Dan Dee, 1956 and 1958 Topps and others, most all of which are in high grade.
Among the who’s who in baseball list of star cards up for grabs are everything from a PSA 10 Johnny Bench rookie card, a 1993 Derek Jeter Upper Deck SP graded PSA 10 (and another rated 8.5) and dozens of others.
There is a 1952 Topps baseball set and the iconic Mickey Mantle card that goes with it as well as a run of remarkable unopened packs and boxes from the 1950s, '60s and '70s.
The live auction preview is now open with bidding set to commence on Thursday, Dec. 5 and close on Thursday, Dec. 19. To register for the auction and/or receive a free full-color auction catalog, contact Memory Lane via their website or call (877) 606-5263.