Robert Edward Auctions officials recently unveiled the remarkable 1838 Philadelphia Olympics Constitution that will be one of the marquee items in the April 28, along with items from the hobby icon Barry Halper, who like all collectors didn't quite sell everything even in the wake of the history-making 1999 auction at Sotheby's in New York City.
The 1838 Olympics Constitution is the earliest relic of organized baseball from the first organized baseball team in existence, according to REA officials. Referred to by some as the "Magna Carta" of the game of baseball, they described the piece as "arguably the most historically significant item relating to the origins of the National Pastime in existence. This is the document that records the birth of organized baseball."
The final date of bidding is April 28. Bidding starts April 9 by fax, phone or the Internet via the Robert Edward's site, www.robertedwardauctions.com. Robert Lifson, president of the Watchung, N.J., auction house, expects the total sales for the event to exceed $5 million. Coming to the block will be more than 1,500 lots of baseball collectibles covering the entire history of the game from 1838 to the present.
The auction will include many important discoveries and extraordinary rarities in all areas and from all eras, including: more than 200 lots of pre-1900 baseball cards and memorabilia; display pieces; original art; rare pinbacks; autographs; graded cards; tobacco cards; caramel cards; regionals; 1930s gum cards; Topps and Bowman sets; bats, gloves, uniforms and other equipment.
"This is one of the best auctions we've ever put together," Lifson said. "The highlight section in my eyes is The Barry Halper Collection. It would be impossible for us to put into words the positive impact he had on the entire field of collecting and on me personally. It's a special privilege and honor for Robert Edward Auctions to be chosen by the Halper family to present the balance of the Barry Halper Collection in this auction."
Robert Edward Auctions oversaw the sale of the legendary Halper Collection in 1999, which realized more than $26 million. "When he sold his collection, Barry kept a significant selection of items. It was a modest collection to Barry - but that was only in comparison to the extraordinary magnitude of the Halper Collection intact."
In fact, the "modest" collection he kept was itself larger than most advanced collectors could ever hope to assemble in a lifetime. The Barry Halper Collection, comprised of those items that Halper particularly enjoyed and personally held back from his famous sale for display during his "retirement from collecting," will be presented in more than 200 lots in this sale.
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Graded cards are a special strength of the auction. Included are many of the highest-graded cards and most-coveted baseball card sets. Among the items of special interest will be what Lifson describes as one of the finest 1952 Topps sets ever assembled, all PSA-graded, with an average grade of 7.5. The set includes 228 NM-MT 8s, 164 NM 7s, and 17 cards EX-MT 6s, (the SMR value is $163,000, the reserve is $50,000).
The card lineup also includes: a 1953 Bowman Color set, with 159 cards graded NM-MT 8 and one NM 7 (reserve $25,000; estimate $50,000-plus); the No. 1 PSA Registry set of 1916 M101-4 Sporting News (198 cards are offered as one lot, reserve $10,000; Ruth and Jackson, each graded PSA NM 7, will be offered as separate lots); the No. 1 PSA Registry collection of 1916 Tango Brand Eggs cards (16 of 18 cards known, reserve $10,000); the No. 1 PSA Set Registry 1956 Topps Pins complete set (reserve $2,000, estimate $5,000-plus); the No. 2 PSA Registry set of 1909-1911 E90-1 American Caramel near-complete set (112 of 120 cards, reserve $10,000): the No. 7 PSA Registry set of 1941 Play Ball (average grade 7.19, reserve $10,000); the No. 9 PSA Registry set of 1954 Bowman (average grade 7.05, reserve $2,500, estimate $5,000 to $10,000-plus); the No. 11 PSA Registry set of 1959 Topps (average grade 8, reserve $10,000, estimate $20,000-plus); plus numerous other completely PSA-graded sets and key single cards.
The newly discovered 1914 Baltimore News team card of Babe Ruth (encapsulated as "Authentic" by PSA due to its clipped corners), and the newly discovered individual 1914 Baltimore News card of Ruth (graded PSA 2), each carry a reserve of $10,000 and are expected to sell for considerably more than their modest minimums. The last 1914 Baltimore News Ruth card offered to the collecting world at auction was graded PSA 1 and sold for $150,800 at Robert Edward Auctions in 2006.
Additional highlights include: the largest collection of E125 American Caramel Die-Cuts (37 of the 42 cards); complete sets of T204 Ramly, T205 Gold Borders, and T206 White Borders; complete or near-complete sets of E93, E94, E95, and E97 caramel cards; more than 200 PSA-graded T202 Hassan Triple Folder cards; two rare T206 Eddie Planks; an extremely rare 1869 Peck & Snyder advertising trade card featuring baseball's first professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings (estimate $10,000-plus, reserve $5,000); an 1864 Brooklyn Resolutes Carte-de-Visite featuring Henry Chadwick, one of the most important of all pre-1900 cards and one of only two examples known (reserve $5,000, estimate $10,000 to $20,000); an extraordinary array of rare 19th-century baseball cards, including examples issued by Kalamazoo Bats, Yum-Yum Tobacco, and G & B Gum, as well as many rare 19th-century baseball cabinet cards; Cracker Jack baseball cards issued in 1914 and 1915; literally thousands of 1910-era baseball tobacco cards, one the largest selections to ever be offered at auction; a collection of over 400 N172 1887 to 1890 Old Judge baseball cards issued by Goodwin & Co.; complete Topps and Bowman sets from virtually every year, including two complete sets of 1952 Topps with the rare high-numbers.
The auction also features one of the finest selections of game-used bats to ever come to auction, including Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, one of only two known signature model bats dating from Joe Jackson's playing days (reserve $10,000); and two extraordinary Mickey Mantle bats, including one dating from 1956, his Triple Crown year (reserve $5,000; estimate $10,000 to $15,000).
Also included is a 1927 Jim Bottomley St. Louis Cardinals jersey, the only example known for this Hall of Famer (reserve $5,000; estimate $10,000 to $15,000); a Joe Jackson signed document, one of only a few examples known (reserve $5,000; estimate $10,000 to $15,000); a 1937 Rock-Ola World Series arcade electronic game (estimate $20,000-plus, reserve $10,000); Mickey Mantle's game-used cap (reserve $5,000, estimate $10,000-plus); and a Christy Mathewson studio portrait photograph signed by Mathewson to legendary baseball photographer Louis Van Oeyen, originating from Van Oeyen's estate (reserve $10,000, estimate $20,000-plus); and an extraordinary original photograph of Ruth and Lou Gehrig together, taken on July 4, 1939, the day of Gehrig's famous farewell speech, signed by both Ruth and Gehrig. This is one of baseball's most famous photographs, and one of only two signed examples known to exist (reserve $10,000; esti mate $20,000-plus).
Also: a collection of five 1911 M110 Sporting Life Cabinets, including Honus Wagner, graded VG/EX 50 by SGC ($5,000); a 1912 H813 Boston Garter Bob Bescher, one of card collecting's rarest samples, graded VG 40 by SGC (reserve $2,500; estimate $5,000 to $10,000); SGC-graded cards from rare sets such as 1911 T217 Mono Cigarettes, 1886 Lone Jack Cigarettes, 1915 T214 Victory Tobacco, and 1894 Alpha Photo-Engraving.
Other cards include: an extremely rare 1889 M-UNC Police Gazette Cabinet of Billy "Adonis" Terry, graded EX 60 by SGC (reserve $1,000); 1955 Topps Double Headers completely SGC-graded set (reserve $1,000; estimate $2,000 to $4,000); and numerous SGC-graded key cards from all eras such as 1939 Play Ball Ted Williams SGC 92 (reserve $1,500; estimate $3,000 to $5,000); 1914 E145 Cracker Jack Christy Mathewson SGC 20 (reserve $2,000; estimate $4,000 to $6,000); 1941 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio SGC 88 (reserve $2,500; estimate $4,000 to $8,000); 1933 R319 Goudey No. 181 Ruth SGC 88 (reserve $5,000; estimate $10,000 to $15,000); and 1915 E145 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb SGC 88 (reserve $5,000; estimate $10,000 to $20,000).
Lifson said that additional items of special note include: the No. 1 PSA Registry complete set of 1936 Gum, Inc. "G-Men & Heroes of the Law" (reserve $2,500, estimate $5,000 to $7,500); an extraordinary example of the 1933 Goudey No. 106 Nap Lajoie, one of the most celebrated of all baseball card rarities, graded PSA 7 (estimate $20,000 to 30,000; reserve $10,000); a 1952 Mickey Mantle PSA 6 (reserve $5,000, est. $10,000/$15,000); a large selection of high-grade, low-population report cards from key sets such as 1933 Goudey and T206 (including examples from the Harris Collection); a completely PSA-graded 1933 DeLong Gum set; a 1955 Topps complete set of 206 cards with every card PSA graded NM 7; one of only two known examples of the 14-by-36-inch 1927 "Babe Comes Home" movie poster insert ($5,000); a complete set of 1933 Goudey Big League bubble-gum cards; 1914 WG4 Polo Grounds game cards of Ty Cobb and Joe Jackson - both graded PSA Gem Mint 10 (reserve $2,000 and $3,000, respectively), 1949 Bowman PCL complete PSA-graded set; one of the largest collections ever assembled of the rare 1898 Cameo Pepsin Gum baseball pins (59 different); single-signed baseballs of Babe Ruth, Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, and Ty Cobb; famous 1939 Hall of Fame Induction photograph signed by all, including Ruth, Wagner, Walter Johnson, and Cy Young, one of only several known signed examples ($5,000); a 1934 Tour of Japan presentation album signed by all players, including Ruth and Gehrig (reserve $5,000, estimate $10,000 to $15,000); a 1911 Boston Red Sox jersey; the earliest known Yankee jersey dating from 1915; 1911 M116 Sporting Life Walter Johnson PSA 9 (reserve $5,000; estimate $10,000-plus), an extraordinary selection of 1934 R304 Al Demaree Die-Cuts issued by Dietz Gum Co.; Brooks Robinson's 1962 game-used Baltimore Orioles home jersey (reserve $1,000; estimate $4,000-plus); items originating from the estates of Alexander Cartwright, Henry Chadwick, Tim Murnane, George Wright, Paul Krichell (the Yankee scout who discovered Lou Gehrig); material relating to Boston's legendary "3rd Base" tavern owner Michael "Nuf Ced" McGreevey and the legendary Royal Rooters; and the first ball ever thrown out at Fenway Park in 1912 ($85,000).
Sports other than baseball are also represented by a selection of extremely high-quality items, including Michael Jordan's 1984-85 rookie uniform (graded MEARS A10, reserve $10,000); and 1992 Jordan game-used and signed Olympic "Dream Team" jersey (MEARS A10; reserve $5,000). These jerseys represent two of only three Jordan jerseys to ever be awarded the highest grade of A10 for authenticity by MEARS.
Lifson noted that the auction also includes an incredible selection of very high-quality comic, pop culture and Americana items. In addition to thousands of nonsport cards dating from the 1880s to the 1960s, the Americana section is highlighted by The National Biscuit Collection, representing an extraordinary collection of items from the company's archives, including the original 1900 painting of the Uneeda Biscuit Boy, the corporate symbol of the company and at one time the most-famous advertising icon in the world; the largest collection of original artworks by Charles Addams to ever come to auction (21 original artworks, including many published in the New Yorker); and two original Peanuts comic strip artworks by Charles Schulz, including an extraordinary Baseball Sunday comic strip (reserve $5,000; estimate $10,000).
Copies of the 600-page, full-color premium catalog (shipping April 7) are available free. To review the catalog online, to learn more about Robert Edward Auctions, or to receive a complimentary copy of the catalog, visit www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com, or call (908) 226-9900.