Let’s see, why would someone pay $13,100 for a sealed case of 2000 Upper Deck SP Authentic Football cards (see our Top 10 chart)? Hmm ... Could it be the Ryan Leaf card in the set? Tony Banks? Elvis Grbac? With all due respect to those once-hot QB prospects, the big draw here — the reason a collector would gladly pay a five-figure sum for a case of boxes of SP Authentic cards — is the prospect of pulling a Tom Brady rookie.
Upper Deck packed each case of 2000 SP Authentic with 12 boxes. Each box contained 24 five-card packs. UD also seeded one autograph per box. So… the buyer of the aforementioned case got 1,440 cards and 12 sigs. Pulling just one Brady rookie and selling it for current market value would recoup the $13,100 tab and then some.
As reflected in this space last time out, in mid-December 2016, a Brady SP Authentic graded BGS 10 fetched $21,600 on 37 bids. A month earlier, in November 2016, another example graded PSA 10 brought $13,600 on 10 bids. Earlier in 2016, we saw Mint-condition specimens of the card (each graded 10) reel in prices of $10,250, $10,500, and $12,000. Clearly, this hot card has been on the rise as Brady continued lighting up the scoreboard during the Patriots’ season.
Imagine how the collecting market will react if Brady gets another Super Bowl appearance — or win.
THE GEORGIA PEACH
The selling price was big — $10,000 on eBay — but it was actually a good deal. The item was a Ty Cobb T206.
But wait — the deal was better than it appeared, because the listing offered not one, but two Cobb T206s: one with a red background and one with a green background. Both cards, issued in 1910, had Piedmont advertisements on the back and had been graded by SGC at 50 (commonly considered to be equal to around PSA 4).
There were four Cobb variations in the T206 set; the green-background version is the rarest. In fact, in February 2016, Heritage Auctions sold a green-background Cobb in Near-Mint condition — graded 8 by PSA — for $155,350. And in 2009, Heritage sold a red-background Cobb T206 with a PSA 1.5 grade for $77,675. Clearly, the buyer of the two SGC 50 Cobb T206s mentioned above should be feeling good about the transaction.
You’ll note on our Top 10 chart the presence of a real treasure to fans of golden-era baseball: a Carl Yastrzemski game-worn Red Sox jersey autographed by the Hall of Fame left-fielder. Yaz signed not only his long and distinctive name in script to the jersey, but the words “1975 AL Champions, TC 1967, HOF 1989.”
The “TC,” of course, stands for Triple Crown. In 1967, Yaz led the American League in batting average (.326, well above runner-up Frank Robinson’s .311), RBI (121, topping Harmon Killebrew’s 113 by eight) and home runs (44, a figure matched by Killebrew). If baseball had a Quadruple Crown, Yaz would have won that, too. His 112 runs led the AL, edging Killebrew by seven.
Yaz, in leading Boston to its “Impossible Dream” season in 1967, also led the AL in total bases (360), on-base percentage (.418) and slugging percentage (.622), and was the only hitter in his league with an OPS (on-base plus slugging) higher than 1.000. The ’67 Bosox surprised everyone by going to the World Series, where they lost to Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Other recent Yaz highlights on eBay include a PSA 9 example of his 1960 Topps rookie card ($12,275 in early December) and a PSA 9 example of his 1969 Topps card ($1,349). Yaz-signed baseballs (authenticated by a reputable sources) are selling for $200 to $350.
THE YEAR THAT WAS
This edition of “Online Auctioneer” reflects the last few days of December 2016 and nearly the first half of January 2017. Looking at the eBay prices realized in our Top 10 chart in this column, it’s clear that collectors were tapped out from holiday spending. We say that because throughout 2016, the cream of the crop among sports memorabilia, collectibles and cards were drawing truly healthy prices in online auctions.
The new year is showing fewer bidding wars and softer prices, but what do we expect? Maxed-out credit cards are maxed-out credit cards. Before long, the collectors among us will pay down those high balances and start bidding again on the treasures we’re always chasing.
For now, let’s look back at the Top 20 prices we reported in 2016. (In parentheses: the month each card sold in 2016.)
1. $300,000: 1957 Topps Bart Starr (PSA 9) (November)
2. $164,700: 1984-85 Star Michael Jordan (BGS 9.5) (November)
3. $161,100: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (PSA 7) (March)
4. $150,001: 1962 Topps Rookie Stars/Pete Rose (PSA 9) (August)
5. $132,151: 1962 Topps Rookie Stars/Pete Rose (PSA 9) (August)
6. $125,000: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (PSA 5) (June)
7. $104,000: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (SGC 84) (May)
8. $96,423: 1980-81 Topps Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Julius Erving (PSA 10) (November)
9. $94,600: 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente (PSA 8) (June)
10. $92,433: 1965 Topps Joe Namath (PSA 8.5) (August)
11. $90,300: 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente (PSA 8) (June)
12. $88,421: 1954 Topps Hank Aaron (PSA 85) (August)
13. $86,100: 1963 Topps Rookie Stars/Pete Rose (PSA 9) (August)
14. $85,000: 1965 Topps Joe Namath (PSA 8.5) (May)
15. $84,800: 1958 Topps Jim Brown (PSA 8.5) (August)
16. $82,601: 1963 Topps Rookie Stars/Pete Rose (PSA 9) (August)
17. $81,111: 1951 Bowman Willie Mays (PSA 8) (October)
18. $80,000: 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente (PSA 8) (July)
19. $79,999: 1968 Topps/Milton Bradley Nolan Ryan/Rookie Stars (PSA 9) (July)
20. $77,100: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (PSA 6) (August)
Not surprisingly, the item that paced our Top 10 chart more than any other during 2016 was Mickey Mantle’s 1952 Topps rookie card. Among the 25 installments of “Online Auctioneer” in 2016, The Mick’s iconic ’52 Topps issue landed at No. 1 four times.
Roberto Clemente’s rookie card (1955 Topps) hit No. 1 three times, reflecting the Pittsburgh Pirate Hall of Famer’s continually growing stature. Rookie cards of Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Pete Rose each hit the top spot twice during 2016.