Skip to main content

Memory Lane Inc. is becoming the premier auction house for vintage Babe Ruth cards and collectibles.

The Tustin, Calif. company, which sold three Ruth cards for more than $1 million in one auction last year, has one of the finest known SGC copies of Ruth’s 1916 M101-5 Blank Back rookie cards in its Winter Rarities Auction, which opens Jan. 29 and runs through Feb. 19.

The card, which carries an opening bid of $150,000, is graded SGC 5.5 and is one of only three Ruth rookies graded that high by SGC.

1916 M101-5 Blank Backs Babe Ruth rookie card at Memory Lane Inc.

1916 M101-5 Blank Backs Babe Ruth rookie card at Memory Lane Inc.

Also See: Jersey from Mickey Mantle's final game up for bid 

The lot marks the fourth consecutive Memory Lane auction featuring a Ruth rookie. An M101-4 Ruth rookie, graded PSA 6, sold for $1.5 million as part of the Thomas Newman Collection last July.

The auction features numerous other Ruth cards, autographs, photos and other memorabilia, including a rare mid-1920s arcade card — one of only six known to exist.

One of the most rare Ruth items is a 1927 Babe Comes Home Theatre banner recently discovered in the closet of an Illinois home. The 3-by-10-foot banner has been well preserved and in the same family since it was shipped to a local theater nearly 95 years ago.

Babe Ruth movie banner up for bid in Memory Lane's Winter Rarities Auction.

Babe Ruth movie banner from 1927. 

Also See: 1914 Cracker Jack complete set a nice surprise at auction 

The auction also features an 8-by-10 barnstorming photo of Ruth and Yankees teammate Lou Gehrig, autographed by both stars.

Autographed Ruth and Gehrig cards are also available in a collection of 229 1933 Goudey cards — just 11 short of a full set — collected more than 20 years ago by a New England collector. Many are one-of-a-kind cards or one of only a couple of signed copies known to exist.

Other rare vintage cards include a 1911 Sporting Life (M116) Christy Mathewson card graded PSA 8 that comes with the mailing envelope addressed to the original recipient of the sports publication’s promotion from 111 years ago. Other new finds include a 1913 Colgan’s Chips Tin Tops Jim Thorpe card, one of only two graded copies, and a lower grade Shoeless Joe Jackson 1909 American Caramel rookie card.

Other vintage cards expected to attract high prices include: 1951 Bowman and 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cards; a PSA 9 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan rookie card; the highest graded copy of Stan Musial’s 1949 Bowman rookie; and a PSA 8 George Mikan rookie card from a high-grade 1948 Bowman Basketball set break.

1948 Bowman George Mikan rookie card.

Also See: Michael Jordan 1984 Olympic shoes up for bid 

The auction also includes a special collection of Roberto Clemente cards and memorabilia, including a Clemente-signed check and five 1955 Topps Clemente rookie cards.

1971 check signed by Roberto Clemente.

1971 check signed by Roberto Clemente.

Valuable rookie cards of several other sports legends are also available, including:

• A PSA 9 Wayne Gretzky O-Pee-Chee rookie card, graded PSA 8.

1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie card.

1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie card.

• A 1957 Bill Russell rookie card, graded SGC 7.5.

1957 Topps Bill Russell rookie card.

1957 Topps Bill Russell rookie card.

• A 1961-62 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain rookie, graded SGC 9.

• A 1961 Topps Juan Marichal rookie card, graded PSA 10.

• A 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card, graded BGS 9.5.

• A 2003-04 Upper Deck SP Authentic LeBron James, graded BGS 9.5/10 and numbered 3/50.

• A Bowman Chrome X-Fractor LeBron James, graded BGS 10 and numbered 44/150.

2003-04 Bowman Chrome X-Fractors LeBron James rookie card.

2003-04 Bowman Chrome X-Fractors LeBron James rookie card.

• A 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady Rookie Ticket Autograph rookie card, graded PSA 7.

• A 2007-08 Topps Chrome Kevin Durant White Refractor rookie, graded PSA 10.

Among the unopened packs and boxes are Fleer Basketball, 1972-73 and 1980-81 Topps Basketball and 1974 Topps Football. 

Fleer NBA Basketball Premier Issue.

Fleer NBA Basketball Premier Issue.

Auction of the Week


The Memorabilia Network

Sign up Now for our Upcoming Auction: 10/24/2022 – 11/06/2022. Bringing you global, high-end memorabilia auction and consulting services, while telling your stories.