Fueled by The Barry Halper Estate Collection and various other collections and new discoveries, Robert Edward Auctions tallied $8.7 million in this year's sale that ended last month, and as a result had its most successful auction in its 37-year history.
"Prices were significantly higher than most consignors expected" said REA president Robert Lifson. "Part of this, of course, is due to a strong market and having great material, but part of this is also because most serious collectors in the world are comfortable bidding at Robert Edward Auctions."
The 1594 lots offered were won by 629 different bidders. According to Lifson, successful bidders included some of the nation's most prestigious museums and corporate institutional collections. He also added that exactly 24,470 bids were placed and over 99 percent of the lots sold.
Highlighted items included the recently rediscovered 1838 Olympic Constitution, previously known to exist but which had been lost to the collecting world for decades, sold for $141,000, setting a record price not just for any baseball publication but a record price for any sports-related publication of any kind.
The 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card was consigned by a non-collecting family from Providence, R.I. The grandfather, who died in 1985, was a casual collector who had a small vintage card collection he assembled mostly from frequenting flea markets. The collection, which had been kept in storage since 1985 until very recently, by chance included the Ruth rookie. According to Lifson, just prior to contacting REA, the family came very close to selling the heirloom to a dealer who offered $8,000. They're glad they waited. The card sold for $200,000.
The Barry Halper Estate Collection, consigned directly from the Halper family and comprised of the "small collection" of items that Halper kept for his personal enjoyment during his "retirement from collecting," was offered in 247 lots and realized $1.4 million. Halper's baseball film library alone sold for $117,500.
Significant card highlights from the auction include: A 1952 Topps set, entirely graded by PSA, which sold for $164,500; a collection of (403) 1886-89 Old Judge tobacco cards in varying conditions, with a reserve of $10,000, sold for $111,625; complete set of T206 White Border tobacco cards in varying condition sold for $105,750. The 1953 Bowman set (which was entirely graded by PSA, with an SMR value of $65,000 and a reserve of $25,000, sold for $94,800.
The M101-4 1916 Sporting News Babe Ruth card, graded Near-Mint 7 by PSA, sold for $82,250.
Additional auction highlights include: The 1912 Fenway Park first pitched ball sold for $85,000; a 1915 Yankees jersey sold for $55,812; the circa 1869 bat attributed to George Wright, with a reserve of $10,000, sold for $88,125; Mickey Mantle's 1955-1965 era cap sold for $52,875.
Copies of the 680-page full-color catalog are also still available. Go to www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com, click "free catalog," and fill in your name and address. Robert Edward Auctions is currently assembling its next sale. For further information contact: Robert Edward Auctions, PO Box 7256, Watchung, NJ 07069 or call (908)-226-9900.