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T206 set, Ruth, Gibson and Jackson cards push REA

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The total sales figure for the April 29 Robert Edward Auction was $7.5 million dollars, producing what company president Rob Lifson felt was a remarkable figure for a multi-owner, all-consignment baseball card and memorabilia auction.


Lifson said, "The extraordinary auction results literally redefined the values of many 19th-century and early 20th-century baseball cards. The complete set of T206 White Border tobacco cards, entirely graded by PSA, set a record for any T206 set ever offered at auction, selling for $255,200."

He also pointed to a baseball signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig that sold for $98,000, a figure he said was double the previous auction record for "one of the classic standards in baseball autograph collecting." The 1931 Josh Gibson signed Harrison Studios postcard also set a record at $81,200 and the 1927 Saturday Evening Post cover painting by Allan Stephens Foster was hammered down at $55,100.

The 1910 Joe Jackson Old Mill Tobacco card, which was graded VG by SGC, set yet another record, selling for $116,000, and the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card issued by The Baltimore News graded Poor-Fair by PSA realized $150,800.

"Robert Edward Auctions' sale in 2005 of a VG-EX example at $243,000 previously catapulted this card to being universally recognized as the second most valuable card in the world, trailing only the famous T206 Honus Wagner," said Lifson. "This most recent auction result suggests that the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card in any given condition may now, in fact, be the single most valuable card in the world. No T206 Honus Wagner card in this grade has ever sold for as much as $150,000 at auction."

The sale was the most successful auction in Robert Edward Auctions' 36-year history, with more than 20,000 bids placed and 99 percent of the lots sold. "Total prices realized soared to an astounding 83 percent above the high-end estimate of the sale. This is the largest total sales figure for any REA auction."


Prices of some of the significant highlights:

  • 1912 Hassan Triple advertising display - $98,600
  • 1928 Sporting News counter display with Ruth and Lou Gehrig - $29,000
  • (5) 1871 F.A. Pierce & Co. CDV team cards (each with a reserve of $1,000) sold for a total of $160,000, averaging an incredible $32,000 each
  • 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings CDV - $26,100
  • 1934-1936 R318 Batter-Up complete set - $37,700
  • 1886 N167 Old Judge Keefe - $46,400
  • 1910 T206 Eddie Plank graded VG-EX - $43,500
  • E90-1 American Caramel near set, missing Jackson, - $87,000
  • 1893 Just So Tobacco card of Tebeau SGC-graded VG - $19,720
  • (33) T206 tobacco cards, including Ty Cobb, all with Uzit backs - $41,760

Additional auction highlights include: a collection of four E125 American Caramel Die-Cuts - $15,080; 1910 Clement Bros. Bread Cobb - $17,400; T206 White Border tobacco cards of Niles and Phillippe, each graded MINT 9 by PSA sold for $8,700 and $11,020, respectively; a newly discovered 1910 Darby Chocolates box with Cobb sold for $18,560; a lot of (2) 1911-14 D304 Martens Bakery cards sold for more than 40 times the opening bid at $20,880; a collection of (8) T202 Hassan Triple Folders sold for $34,800; a 1914 Cracker Jack Christy Mathewson graded PSA 4 sold for $40,600; a 1914 Boston Garter of Mathewson sold for $34,800; and a 1921 Caramel Ruth graded PSA 7 sold for $23,200.

Additional highlights include: 1952 Topps complete set - $40,600; 1953 Topps complete set - $26,100; 1955 Topps complete set - $19,720; 1925 Giants team-signed ball, including Mathewson - $20,880; 1961 New York Yankees team-signed ball - $13,920; 1874 Philadelphia Athletics Team cabinet - $43,500; 1889 Spalding World Tour photograph - $19,720; and an 1887 N172 Old Judge of Cap Anson graded PSA 8 - $31,900.

The Pretty Pocket Book, by John Newberry, published in 1787 and of great historic significance as it is the first known appearance in print of the word "Base-ball," sold for $22,040; Douglas Tilden limited-edition bronze recast realized $18,560; 1866 Trophy Baseball memorializing a game between the Unions of Morrisani and the Una Club of Mt. Vernon - $23,200; a rare set of 19th-century fingerless baseball gloves - $20,880; an imperial cabinet card of Mike "King" Kelly - $46,400; and a framed 1920 Boston American newspaper with the headline "Ruth Signs With Yankees" sold for $12,760.

An extraordinary new discovery of 12 rare circa 1915 baseball advertising pinbacks, issued by Schmeltzer's Sporting Goods of Kansas City sold for $81,200, a 1937 Rock-Ola World Series arcade game brought $31,900, and a circa 1910 Reach tin advertising sign sold for $31,900, a record price for tin Reach signs.

Equipment highlights included: 1950s Yogi Berra game-used catcher's mask - $17,400; 1968 Al Kaline Detroit Tigers game-used jersey - $23,200; 1979 Thurman Munson's last New York Yankees pinstripe uniform - $31,900; 1921-30 Rogers Hornsby game-used and signed bat - $22,040; 1943-49 Joe DiMaggio game-used bat - $22,040; and a 1964 Mickey Mantle game-used bat signed by Mantle and Maris - $31,900.

The auction also included an impressive selection of Americana, nonsport cards, and original card artwork, including record prices for a selection of five 1966 Topps "Batman" card artworks. Each of the five artworks was offered individually with a reserve of $800. Two sold for $9,280 each and one sold for $9,860. The three 1962 "Mars Attacks" original artworks brought $20,880, $19,740, and $29,000. The 1940 Gum, Inc. "Superman" complete set of 72 cards, entirely graded by PSA, sold for $17,400. The original Peanuts daily comic strip by Charles Schulz sold for $9,860; the 1956 Bob Dylan handwritten poems saved by a high school friend sold for $12,760, and an 1955 original Elvis Presely concert poster from the date Elvis met Colonel Parker sold for $34,800.

Further information and complete auction results are available at Copies of the 568-page, full-color catalog are also still available free. Robert Edward Auctions is currently assembling its next sale; contact: Robert Edward Auctions, P.O. Box 7256, Watchung, NJ, or call (908) 226-9900.

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