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Sporting News Babe Ruth Hits $89,250 to Highlight Memory Lane Auction

A T206 Eddie Plank graded PSA 5 sold for $107,110 to lead the auction, which featured a Roberto Clemente game bat, 1916 Sporting News complete set and a signed Babe Ruth ball that came with video footage of him signing the ball. All prices are now listed.

A 1916 Sporting News Babe Ruth card from a newly graded complete set topped Memory Lane’s recent “The Find” Auction. The card, part of a complete set consigned by a Midwestern family that had passed it through generations, sold for $89,250, including the buyer’s premium. Graded PSA 5, the card features Ruth as pitcher with the Boston Red Sox. This variation was blank-backed.

Another card from the same set, featuring legendary athlete Jim Thorpe as a big league player and graded PSA 6, sold for $36,024, while the Honus Wagner card in a ‘6’ brought $4,969. Three other cards were sold separately and the remaining group of 195 cards sold for $28,798.


In all, the auction generated net sales of $1,315,138, including the company’s 19 percent buyer’s premium which was added to all winning bids.

“This was a great way to close out 2012,” said Memory Lane’s J.P. Cohen. “It was such a fun auction for our bidders because so many of these items were new to the hobby. It proves there is still a lot of great material out there that’s potentially going to come out next year and beyond.”

Several Ruth items were offered in the auction, including an autographed baseball with the extraordinary video provenance of the Babe signing it for the son of an Eastman Kodak employee who was testing an early home movie camera. The remarkable ball sold for $14,377, despite having had shellac applied in later years.

T206 collectors had a rare opportunity to bid on a T206 Eddie Plank graded PSA 5. One of the hobby’s rarest cards, it sold for $107,110. A T206 Rucker in PSA 8 brought $6,684.

A highly sought after postwar card, the 1949 Leaf Satchel Paige, was represented in the auction by a PSA 7. The Near Mint short print sold for $25,462.

Among the other "finds" consigned to the auction was a group of 1888 Scrapps die-cut cards, some of them in uncut panels of two and in virtually pristine condition. Consigned to the auction by a family in central California, they were broken into lots and sold for more than $13,000 combined, led by the Caruthers/Welch combination which brought $3,643.


Collectors of prewar cards also know how rare the T207 Louis Lowdermilk variation can be. Memory Lane offered a PSA 3 in this auction which sold for $2,549.

Postwar single card sales proved that the New York Yankees continue to be strong sellers. A 1952 Bowman Yogi Berra graded PSA 8, sold for $6,013, while a 1959 Topps Bobby Richardson, a remarkable PSA 10, found a new home for a price of $3,643.
Lovers of unopened material lined up to bid on a 1970 Topps Cello Football Box. When the dust settled, it had sold for a realized price of $12,890.

Football card collectors also had the chance to bid on a beautiful PSA 9 1963 Nitschke rookie and the card of the Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker skyrocketed to $2,744.
There was plenty of memorabilia amid the high grade vintage cards offered. One of the best pieces was a 1971 Roberto Clemente game bat, given to a friend during that year’s World Series. It sold for $19,130.