The Thomas Newman Collection, which sold for $21.5 million at Memory Lane Inc., was highlighted by a group of iconic cards that sold collectively for more than $11 million.
Dubbed the Magnificent 7, the group of cards featured rare, immaculate cards of such immortals as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and basketball legend George Mikan. The elite collection was highlighted by one of the finest Babe Ruth cards ever sold. Three Ruth cards topped $1 million, while a 1952 Mantle, one of the most coveted cards in the hobby, went for more than $2 million.
Take a look at the most magnificent and highest-selling cards in the Newman Collection.
Babe Ruth 1933 Goudey #53, PSA Mint 9
DESCRIPTION: “Extraordinary POP 1 … The SOLE & HIGHEST GRADED EXAMPLE on the Planet!”
SOLD FOR: $4,212,000
FUN FACTS: The only Mint 9 grade among 1,500-plus examples. The Goudey Gum Company included four different Babe Ruth cards in its inaugural series, three of them portraying the renowned Charles Conlon Ruth batting image.
BACK OF CARD: “Home run king of big leagues. Hit 60 homers in 1927. … Was great left-handed pitcher before he started hitting homers.”
Babe Ruth 1933 Goudey #181 Green Background, PSA Mint 9
DESCRIPTION: “Only 1 Graded Higher!”
SOLD FOR: $1,272,000
FUN FACTS: One of only six PSA 9 examples, with only one Gem Mint 10 among 1,700 encapsulated specimens. The unique pose was not offered on the other three Ruth Goudey cards or on any other known Babe cards.
BACK OF CARD: “One of the keenest students of baseball, New York Yankees Home Run star. He is also one of the hardest men to pitch to in the game. Box men say you can fool him on a certain ball once, but the next time he gets it, he is apt to hit it out of the park.”
1916 Babe Ruth Sporting News Rookie Card #151, PSA EX/MT 6
DESCRIPTION: “Extraordinary … 1 of 4 … Only 2 Graded Higher!”
SOLD FOR: $1,452,000
FUN FACTS: Another PSA 6 example of Ruth’s rookie card sold for $940,000 in previous auction, while a PSA 7 M101-5 “Blank Back” rookie fetched $3 million in a private sale. In 1916, various manufacturers used the classic Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox image to help advertise such brands as Sporting News, Globe, Famous & Barr and Gimbels.
BACK OF CARD: “THE SPORTING NEWS, ‘THE BASEBALL PAPER of the World!’ FIVE CENTS THE COPY, PUBLISHED WEEKLY the YEAR ‘ROUND, SAMPLE COPY FREE ON REQUEST, C.C. SPINK & SON : ST. LOUIS, MO.
1925 Exhibit Supply Co. Lou Gehrig’s “Gray Tint” Rookie Card, PSA EX 5
DESCRIPTION: “Spectacular … 1 of 4 … Only 3 PSA Examples Graded Higher!”
SOLD FOR: $1,032,000
FUN FACTS: A PSA 6/MK qualifier specimen of the Gehrig rookie card sold for $802,000 last winter. Only 55-60 examples appear on professional grading census reports, compared to 115-120 of Babe Ruth’s 1916 rookie card.
BACK OF CARD: Blank
1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle, PSA NM/MT 8
DESCRIPTION: “From the iconic Mr. Mint 1952 Topps High-Number Find.”
SOLD FOR: $2,112,000
FUN FACTS: Card #311 in the landmark 1952 Topps set, it was the first card in the esteemed high-number series. Only 14 examples have been graded higher than the PSA 8. Newman purchased the card directly from the 1986 1952 Topps High-Number find of famed collector Al “Mr. Mint” Rosen. PSA Mint 9 example set record for all sports cards at $5.2 million in January, with two PSA 9 specimens fetching $1.6 million and $1.3 million in the past six months.
BACK OF CARD: “Switch-hitting Mickey is heralded as Joe DiMaggio’s successor.”
1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle Rookie, PSA 8 NM-MT
SOLD FOR: $498,000
FUN FACTS: One of the most coveted rookie card in the hobby, second only to Babe Ruth’s 1916 rookie. Only 10 PSA specimens have been graded higher among more than 2,300 encapsulated examples. The famous “bat over shoulder” lithographic pose, which shows Mantle’s uniform number 6 instead of his famous number 7, was taken from a classic 1951 photo from Mantle’s rookie season.
BACK OF CARD: “Mickey is the Yankee rookie of whom so much is expected in 1951. Everyone was talking about him during spring training in which he batted .400.”
1948 Bowman Basketball #69 George Mikan, PSA Mint 9
DESCRIPTION: “1 of 4 … Only 1 Graded Higher!”
SOLD FOR: $426,000
FUN FACTS: From the landmark 1948 Bowman set, Mikan’s card is considered the “Holy Grail” of vintage basketball cards. One of only four PSA 9 examples, with only one graded higher. The 1948 card is one of only a handful of mainstream Mikan cards, including several 1950s Wheaties issues. A PSA 8 Mikan rookie sold for $132,000 last winter.
BACK OF CARD: “Last year with Lakers, in NBL, big George broke every NL scoring record and led circuit in scoring with 1,195 points in 56 games. Was named unanimous All-National League Center.”