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'Rocky Mountain Collection' Breaks Records in Memory Lane's $2.2 Million Sale

Vintage cards, especially those in high grades, continue to set new standards in the industry. Memory Lane's latest auction saw records fall for a Paul Hornung rookie card and a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth card among an impressive list of prices realized.

Three vintage Babe Ruth cards sold for a combined $222,270 in Memory Lane’s Summer Rarities Auction which closed Aug. 24.

A 1933 Goudey Ruth #149 graded PSA 8 topped bidding at a record-setting $78,870, closely followed by the #53 Ruth card from the same set. Also rated 8, it changed hands at $75,285, while a 1916 M101-4 Ruth rookie card graded PSA 4.5 sold for $68,115. All three cards, along with numerous others in the sale, came from the famed "Rocky Mountain Collection" owned by a Colorado businessman. The sales price of the #149 Ruth card was more than double the public auction record, while #53 sold for more than $15,000 above the previous known high water mark.

All prices include a 19.5 percent buyer’s premium. In all, auction proceeds were more than $2.2 million.

Ruth Red

“The auction was a huge success,” said Memory Lane’s J.P. Cohen. “The market for high quality vintage cards is as strong as it’s ever been and the results proved that. Ruth is still the gold standard, but interest in other cards from all sports was extremely high.”

Early 1950s cards of Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays were hotly contested. A 1954 Topps Aaron rookie card graded PSA 9 sold for $62,140, while a 1951 Bowman Mays rookie card, rated 8 by PSA, sold for $33,581. A 1953 Bowman Color Mantle graded 9 sold for $23,366.

Among the other pre-World War II cards sold included a 1911 M116 Honus Wagner graded 7 ($8,239) and a 1933 Sport Kings Jim Thorpe graded 8 ($13,257).

A rare 1948 Leaf Satchel Paige rookie card graded PSA 7 realized $28,058.

Baseball wasn’t the only sport attracting big bids, however. Football rookie cards were also popular. A 1957 Topps Paul Hornung rookie card graded PSA 9 rocketed to a stunning $50,323. No public sale of a Hornung rookie card had reached even $8,000 prior to the Memory Lane catalog.

Bidders also flocked to a 1976 Topps Walter Payton rookie graded 10. It sold for $13,854, while a 1986 Topps Jerry Rice rookie, also in a 10 holder, brought $10,697 and a 1965 Topps Joe Namath PSA 8 sold for $12,659. A 1984 Topps John Elway rookie card graded PSA 10, landed at $4,987.


Basketball card collectors had a chance to bid on a 1969-70 Lew Alcindor rookie card graded PSA 9. It pushed all the way to $9,062.

Memory Lane also offered some vintage unopened material, and interest remains extremely high. A 1972 Topps Series One wax box was nailed down for $11,347, while a 1980-81 Topps basketball wax box from the set that gave us the iconic Larry Bird/Magic Johnson rookie card, soared to $4,870.

Memory Lane is now taking consignments for its upcoming I Own It Now sale and its next major catalog auction, slated for this fall. For more information, visit their website or call (877) 606-5263.

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