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Once-in-a-lifetime find of vintage cards going to auction

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. Professional Sports Authenticator was called upon recently to authenticate and grade one of the finest private collections of baseball cards, autographs and photos ever to surface in the hobby. 

Literally thousands of vintage cards, many dating to the 1933 and ‘34 Goudey Baseball releases, were brought to light by the family of a Morris County, N.J., gentleman who lived to age 97 and only recently passed away. 

Image 5 - James 'Uncle Jimmy' Micioni

Jimmy Micioni – a.k.a. “Uncle Jimmy” to his family – was a baseball fan his entire life and devoted countless hours to collecting, acquiring and preserving various baseball artifacts. 

The treasure trove of rare baseball items, headed by six Babe Ruth-signed 1933 Goudey cards and more than 1,000 other vintage cards in remarkable condition, will be sold over the remainder of 2020 via multiple online auctions hosted by Wheatland Auction Services of Lancaster, Pa. The first auction that will showcase many of the PSA-authenticated and graded items begins on Sunday, June 14, at and runs through Sunday, July 12.

“Like other great finds, the ‘Uncle Jimmy Collection’ will have its place in hobby history. Until now, these cards have had a single owner, and I have never seen so many signed Goudeys from one original collection,” said Kevin Keating, PSA’s principal autograph authenticator who examined the assortment. “The depth is staggering with multiple examples of Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Hornsby, and others. The condition of virtually every card and every signature is even more eye-popping. All appear to have been signed immediately after issue, likely through the mail, and then stored in a time capsule.”

Not surprisingly, Wheatland Auction Services’ owners Stacey and Chuck Whisman are excited about the fast-approaching unveiling.

“We’ve been fortunate to have some amazing items find their way into our auctions, but the volume of high-quality autographs and pack fresh vintage cards makes this one of the most impressive finds within our entire industry in the past decade,” said Stacey Whisman.

Image 1 - 1933 Goudey 149 Babe Ruth PSA VG-EX 4 Auto 8

Beyond a beautiful Babe Ruth-signed ’33 Goudey #53, which was graded PSA Very Good 3 MK with an autograph grade of PSA 6, Wheatland’s will be featuring other special finds this month. Top lots include a 1949 Bowman #50 Jackie Robinson, graded

PSA Near Mint-Mint 8; a 1969 Topps Super Reggie Jackson rookie card, PSA Gem-Mint 10; and a 1965 Topps #207 Pete Rose, PSA Mint 9.

Image 3 - 1933 Goudey 92 Lou Gehrig PSA VG-EX 45 Auto 8

“While the Ruth-signed Goudeys have received the most attention, the high quality non-signed cards are equally awesome, and his collection also included rare pennants, world series programs, signed newspaper clippings, photos, regional sets, pins, and so much more,” said Chuck Whisman. 

“Personally, I like the insanely pack-fresh condition of the 1965 and 1967 Topps sets, but the 1948 Bowman and 1956 Topps sets are also nice.”

Asked about the importance of third-party authentication and what that means for their auctions, Stacey Whisman responded: “The provenance behind the collection is impeccable, thanks to Uncle Jimmy’s detailed and thorough record keeping, and the story and history of Uncle Jimmy is truly inspiring.

“But PSA is the proven industry leader in the authentication and grading of vintage cards and was the only choice for the signed and vintage cards in the ‘Uncle Jimmy Collection.’ When it came to the high-quality Goudey cards, signed and unsigned, as well as the rest of the vintage cards within this consignment, we knew we needed PSA.”

Image 4 - 1933 Goudey 154 Jimmie Foxx PSA VG-EX 4 Auto 9

Toward that end, some of the more notable cards will include a special “Uncle Jimmy Collection” pedigree on the label. “Uncle Jimmy” Micioni was a longtime factory worker and school custodian. He was a man of modest means who never married and had no children but had a passion for baseball collecting. Very soon, his seven nieces and nephews, the beneficiaries of the upcoming auctions, will have newfound appreciation of their uncle’s painstaking hobby.

“Signed trading cards, especially vintage examples, have increased in popularity over the past several years. Within the genre, it is hard to imagine a more aesthetically pleasing medium than a 1933 or ‘34 Goudey baseball card,” opined Joe Orlando, president and CEO of Collectors Universe, PSA’s parent company. “The beautiful artwork and card design of each issue offers the perfect backdrop for any signature, let alone those from some of the greatest names the game has ever seen. From Babe Ruth to Lou Gehrig to Jimmie Foxx and more, dozens of stars were found within this vast collection, one that is sure to grab the attention of many buyers once it starts entering the market.”

PSA is the world’s largest trading card, autograph and memorabilia authentication and grading service. For more information, visit

Source: PSA

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