By Larry Canale
Vintage cards featuring a baseball legend and a football hero continue to be on the mind’s of collectors: Mickey Mantle and Joe Montana.
In Montana’s case, the item was a Mint-condition specimen of his first card — his 1981 Topps issue. Graded PSA 10, the Montana rook sold for a robust $12,600.
In Mantle’s case, it was a Near-Mint-condition example of his final player card. Selling for a slightly higher price than the Montana rookie, a beautiful PSA 9 example of Mantle’s 1969 Topps card sold for $12,852. The front of the card features the more common yellow lettering of his last name; the white-letter variation commands a higher price.
Babe Ruth is always “in” — any season, and any type of vintage item in at least halfway decent condition. So it’s no surprise when a 1933 Goudey Ruth in PSA 6 condition draws 49 bids after being listed on eBay. That’s what happened with a red-background Ruth that opened for bidding on Jan. 4: It soared to $10,211. Ruth appeared on four different Goudey cards in 1933; this one was the red-background version numbered 149 and depicting a close-up of Ruth in a batting post.
Goudey also featured Ruth on cards numbered 53 (same illustration as on No. 149, but with a yellow background); 144 (full-body batting-pose illustration); and 181 (portrait of Ruth leaning on his left elbow). Last fall, PSA 4 examples of each of those three cards sold on eBay for prices between $5,250 and $7,000.
A bidder spent $10,000 on a game-used Golden State Warriors short-sleeve “Swingman Alternate Jersey.” You can probably guess which Warrior player wore it…. Yep, Stephen Curry, the mercurial guard who has become one of the hoop collectibles market’s two or three top draws. The jersey’s appeal (and selling price) got a lift from Curry’s signature and from PSA/DNA authentication.
Another Curry item brought an even higher price when an autographed pair of game-used shoes worn during the 2016 NBA Playoffs sold for $12,000.
Curry set career highs last season — his 7th in the NBA — by compiling 30.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game to go along with 6.1 assists and 2.1 steals. His numbers are down this year (hey, he now has Kevin Durant around filling up his own scoring sheet). But his overall game is still on the rise, and collectors continue to follow him.
Do you know the name Jack Chesbro? If not, you’ll be impressed by the stats logged by this early-1900s hurler. Chesbro was born in North Adams, Mass., in 1874 and debuted in the major leagues for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1899, winning just six games, but he followed up with win totals of 15, 21 and 28. In 1903, “Happy Jack” went on to the New York Highlanders (later the Yankees), where he pitched for seven seasons, posting a 128-94 record. Forty-one of those wins – yes, 41 – came in the 1904 season.
That year, he started 51 games, threw a remarkable 48 complete games and had a 1.82 ERA to go with his 41-12 record.
We’re reminded of Chesbro because of the recent sale of a top-condition example of his T206 card on eBay for $8,778. Issued between 1909 and 1911, the Chesbro T206 had been graded 8 by PSA. It’s one of only six of its kind that have received that high of a grade from the authentication service. Other examples of the card in PSA 3 and 4 condition brought between $200 and $550 in recent eBay sales.