Dr. Thomas Newman was a highly accomplished and well-known neurologist who was still practicing medicine when he passed away at age 73.
But Newman, who died in January due to complications from COVID-19, was perhaps best known for having one of the most valuable and impressive sports card and memorabilia collections in the world. He called his cards his “paper babies” and spent parts of almost every day attending to his collection.
“No one enjoyed collecting more than Tom,” his widow, Nancy Newman, said. “It gave him such pleasure. The only reason he would ever sell a card was if he had acquired the same card in a higher grade.”
Newman’s vast collection of both vintage and modern cards is estimated to be worth more than $20 million and includes the highest-graded 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #53, which could break the all-time record for sports cards.
Memory Lane Inc. will bring The Thomas Newman Collection to auction in June in a special standalone auction that will run through July 10. The auction will feature more than 1,000 vintage and modern sports cards that represent some of the highest-graded and most iconic cards in the hobby.
“He was a true collector,” says J.P. Cohen of Memory Lane Auctions, who would see his friend and client each year at the National Sports Collectors Convention. “If he paid $10,000 for a card he really wanted and a week later, someone offered him $50,000, he’d turn it down. He just had an unquenchable thirst for sports collectibles. He loved it all.”
Cohen believes the collection could bring in more than $20 million and believes the 1933 Guodey Babe Ruth card, the only PSA 9 in existence, could break the all-time record for sports cards, surpassing the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle that sold for $5.2 million earlier this year. It carries a minimum bid of $500,000.
The collection also features other valuable Ruth cards, including a PSA 9 copy of the ’33 Goudey Ruth #181 as well as one of the best-known examples of Ruth’s 1916 Sporting News rookie card—one of four rated PSA 6 (two higher). Other Ruth cards include: a PSA 6 1921 Exhibit; a 1922 E120 American Caramel PSA 5; a PSA 7 1932 U.S. Caramel; a PSA 8 1933 Goudey Sport Kings; and a “Pop 1” PSA 7 1921 E121 American Caramel Ruth that stands as the highest graded PSA example.
Speaking of challenging Mantle, Newman’s collection also includes a 52 Mantle — a PSA 8 that will likely bring seven figures. There is also Mantle’s 1951 Bowman rookie card, graded PSA 8, and mint condition examples from the late 1950s and beyond.
Also available are some of the top Lou Gehrig cards, including: a 1925 Exhibit rookie card graded PSA 5, one of just four at that level with three higher; as well as both Gehrig cards from the ’33 Goudey set, each graded PSA 8.
One of the most valuable Joe DiMaggio cards is also in the collection — a “Pop 1” SGC 8.5 1936 World Wide Gum “true” rookie card of the Yankee Clipper.
Newman also has 1954 Bowman and 1941 Play Ball Ted Williams cards, each graded PSA 9.
Tobacco cards also abound, with high-grade 1911 T3 Turkey Red examples of Cy Young and Ty Cobb; a 1910 E98 Set of 30 Cobb graded PSA 9; an 1888 N162 Goodwin Champions Cap Anson (PSA 8); an 1887 N175 Gypsy Queen Buck Ewing (SGC 3.5); an 1895 N300 Mayo’s Anson; a PSA 5 1910 Tip Top Bread Honus Wagner; a PSA 4 1914 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson; a T206 Cy Young Portrait (PSA 8) and Tris Speaker (PSA 7); a 1907-09 Dietesche Cobb rookie postcard (SGC 3); and a SGC 7.5 T206 Green Portrait Cobb.
Newman wasn’t just a fan of single cards. According to Memory Lane, “virtually every important baseball set from every era of collecting will be in the auction.” The list includes a 1915 Cracker Jack set that includes the original album designed to store them.
The collection also includes valuable football and basketball cards as well, highlighted by a PSA 9 1948 Bowman George Mikan rookie card and a PSA 7 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski, the holy grail of vintage football.
Newman also had several modern-era treasures, including PSA 10 copies of LeBron James’ 2003 Topps Chrome Refractor; Tom Brady’s 2000 Bowman Chrome rookie; a 1996 Topps Kobe Bryant Draft Redemption; and a 1984-85 Star Company Bulls sealed set with Michael Jordan.
Aside from cards, the collection also features a complete run of World Series programs, including the 1903 publication — miraculously unrestored — from Game 3 in Boston and a rare 1908 program from one of the Cubs’ early appearances.
Some of Newman’s collection was stored at his Tampa medical offices, where one room was filled with boxes of still-unopened cards from the 1980s.
“My dad began collecting in the early 1980s starting with baseball cards from 1957 and 1959 when he was 10 to 12 years old,” his son, Stewart Newman, said. “Those were replacements for the treasured cards of his youth that he kept in shoeboxes as a youngster and that his mom later threw out.”
The collection has been authenticated and graded by PSA.
“The Thomas Newman collection exhibits the kind of depth and level of quality that are rarely achieved,” said Joe Orlando, Chief Executive Officer of Collectors Universe/PSA. “During his lifetime, Dr. Newman was a custodian of some of the most historically important cards, the iconic pillars of our hobby. Collectors now will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add a piece of his legacy to their collections.”
Check out this video on Newman's collection from Fox 13 TV in Tampa.
For additional information, contact Memory Lane at 877-606-5263 or visit www.MemoryLaneinc.com.