The market for rare high-grade vintage trading cards is still vibrant as collectors demonstrated on Saturday night in the final day of bidding in the 2017 Goldin Auctions Great American Trading Card Auction. Two of the headline items, a 1916 M101 Blank Back #151 Babe Ruth Rookie card and a 1952 Topps #261 Willie Mays PSA MINT 9 card sold for a combined $539,000, while a trio of basketball items — including rookie cards of LeBron James and Lew Alcinder, plus an unopened wax box of 1986-87 Fleer — sold for a combined $180,688.
Here’s a look at some of the key lots and prices realized. Goldin Auctions is currently conducting the Jackie Robinson 70th Anniversary Auction and accepting consignments for June’s Great American Trading Card Auction. For a complete auction recap, visit, https://goldinauctions.com/auctionresults.aspx.
- Lot #18 – 1916 M101-5 Blank Back #151 Babe Ruth Rookie Card SGC70 EX+5.5 – This is one of just two examples at its tier (with none graded higher) among a total of eleven copies recorded in SGC’s census reporting. The ultimate rookie card. ($294,000)
- Lot #37 – 1952 Topps Willie Mays #261 PSA Mint 9 – This is just one of nine examples at its tier (with just one graded higher) among a total of 1,700 copies recorded in PSA’s census reporting. ($245,000).
- Lot #48 – 1954 Topps #94 Ernie Banks Rookie Card PSA Mint 9 – Among more than 3,200 copies recorded in PSA’s census reporting, just two examples have been placed at a higher tier. ($69,825)
- Lot #98 – 2003-04 LeBron James Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Signed Limited Edition 23/75 Game Used Patch Card PSA Mint 9 – Just three examples from its edition recorded in PSA’s census reporting. Presented here is one of the most valuable and coveted LeBron James cards in the world. The offered piece is his one-of-a-kind, signed rookie piece from Upper Deck’s 2003/04 “Exquisite Collection” brand. This is the only entry from its limited edition for which the serial number corresponds to James’ jersey number. The card is accompanied by the original 2003-04 “Exquisite Basketball Collection” wooden box from which it left the factory. A congratulatory statement from Upper Deck appears on the card’s reverse side; this declaration attests to the signature’s authenticity, verifies the origin of the card’s “patch” component, and serves as the COA for the subject item. ($62,475)
- Lot #93 – 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Unopened Wax Box (36 packs) – Despite the cards’ rather recent introduction, these are unquestionably scarce. What small availability does exist remains under unremitting pressure of demand. In terms of content, of course, Jordan’s first-year rendering is at center stage. But lofty acclaim must also be afforded the first cards of Olajuwon, Barkley, Drexler, Wilkins, Ewing and other stars. The product’s base 132-card set is accompanied by an 11-player card-sized sticker insert. These 143 pieces are the unquestioned cornerstone group of any modern basketball collection. (62,475)
- Lot #79- 1969 Topps #25 Lew Alcindor Rookie Card PSA Mint 9 – Among nearly 2,000 copies recorded in PSA’s census reporting, just a single example has been placed at a higher tier ($55,738)
- Lot #89 – 1984-85 Star #101 Michael Jordan Signed Rookie Cards BGS Mint 9/BGS 10 (JSA/UDA) – Encapsulated and graded MINT 9 by BGS, with signature graded “10” by Beckett. Michael Jordan has placed a bold, blue marker signature on the obverse of this otherwise unmarked, debut-year card. A sought-after collectible, the limited-production Star Co. rookie-card portrayal of Jordan presents beautifully. The card’s BGS condition report: Centering 8.5, Corners 9, Edges 9.5, Surface 9.5. (Hologram cert. label #UAS19921.) Although BGS does not keep Population Report figures for “signed” #101’s, the current Population Report for the MJ #101 card shows just 34 BGS 9’s (with only two examples graded higher). ($49,000)
- Lot #53 – 1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente Rookie Card PSA NM-MT 8 – Among the 4,200 copies recorded in the PSA register, just 15 have been awarded a higher, unqualified tier. ($44,100)
- Lot #6 – 1909-11 T206 White Border Ty Cobb, Bat on Shoulder PSA NM 7 “1 of 3″ – One of just three examples at this tier with none achieving a higher unqualified tier from the nearly 200 copies recorded in the PSA census. ($34,300)
About Goldin Auctions
Sports memorabilia impresario Ken Goldin has sold more than $600 million in memorabilia from many of the biggest names in sports, history and pop culture and was the pioneer of using the medium of television to sell sports memorabilia. Over the past few years, Goldin Auctions sold Babe Ruth’s 1918 contract for a record $1.02 million, the Honus Wagner T206 card for a public sale record $3.12 million, the Mike Piazza Post-9/11 home run jersey for $365,000, and the 1980 Wayne Gretzky PSA 10 rookie card for a record $465,000. Goldin Auctions strives to break new ground and offer collectors the best in collectible treasures up for auction in the marketplace. All game worn or autographed items come with team, player, league or additional LOA from industry leading authenticators; and collectors can bid with confidence that their proxy/ceiling bids remain confidential. For more information, visit www.goldinauctions.com.