Hours before the Colts and Saints prepared to make NFL history in Super Bowl XLIV, some greats from the past were gaining new respect as the focus of a special auction of vintage football cards and memorabilia. Memory Lane Inc hosted its first-ever football-only event, the Big Game Auction, with over 300 lots featuring some of the greatest names in football history. Topping the sale were two of the most desirable football cards of all-time. A PSA 9 1952 Bowman “large” Jim Lansford, rare in any condition but nearly impossible in mint form, sold for $25,805 including the buyer’s premium. One of only two cards ever to reach the “9” level, the Lansford card was the last in the set, making it susceptible to damage. Few high-grade, well-centered copies exist today.
For many collectors, the 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski is the “holy grail” of football cards. Memory Lane offered a rare PSA 7 (near mint) example and it drew a crowd of bidders before finally selling for an impressive $24,541. Clearly the most desirable and scarce card in the series, the Nagurski is a favorite of all football card collectors who appreciate the art-deco design and the history behind this lone mainstream vintage football card featuring the legendary Hall of Famer.
Numerous other 1935 National Chicle football cards drew the attention of devoted collectors on Saturday night, including a Knute Rockne in PSA 8 that sold for $5541, and a #1 Dutch Clark that brought $5037.
Cards from the 1933 Sport Kings set proved to be a drawing card as well-and why not? Cards of Jim Thorpe and Red Grange are few and far between and these PSA 8 examples are making their new owners very happy. The Thorpe sold for $5037 while the Grange brought $4157.
In the annals of football, Johnny Unitas takes a backseat to no other quarterback. His rookie card is among the most sought-after in the hobby, especially the few surviving cards that are graded “mint”. Saturday night, Johnny U’s 1957 Topps PSA 9 brought 18 strong bids and realized $20,785, with the buyer knowing he’d purchased a truly iconic piece of NFL history.
The ’57 set, in fact, is filled with big name rookie cards. Memory Lane had them all, including a Paul Hornung, also graded PSA 9. It sold for $7555, while a Raymond Berry rookie (PSA 8), went for $3078 and a Bart Starr (PSA 8) sold for $2768.
The first card in any football set is always scarce in high grade and when that card is of a football legend, it becomes a collecting superstar. The 1950 Bowman Doak Walker is one such card. Memory Lane offered a PSA 8 (nm-mint) Walker that drew 16 bids and sold for $7365. A super-scarce PSA 10 Elroy Hirsch from the same series, brought $5726.
Another high-grade beauty from the early days of the modern NFL, a 1952 Bowman Large Sammy Baugh (PSA 9), sold for $6695.
What football card auction would be complete without a Joe Namath rookie card? Memory Lane had a PSA 8 example that found a new home 41 years after Broadway Joe’s Super Bowl III heroics— at a price of $6096. It’s a card always in demand by buyers and fans who simply want one of the most iconic football cards in existence.
Among the football memorabilia sold was a true museum piece: an autographed photo of the famous Notre Dame backfield known as the Four Horsemen. The famous vintage shot of the legendary quartet perched on horseback offered by Memory Lane brought $4907.
An instantly recognizable Hall of Fame alumni jacket once given to 1940s Chicago Cardinals’ star Charley Trippi sold for $3128 while a Super Bowl XXXIV Champions St. Louis Rams Vince Lombardi trophy, one of just 400 created for members of the Rams organization, sold for $3440.
Memory Lane is now preparing for its spring auction event, with all types of vintage sports cards and memorabilia scheduled to be on the block. The company known for its all-out marketing efforts is still looking for quality consignments. If you have something you’d like to sell and want to get the best price on the open market, contact Memory Lane Inc at (877)606-LANE or visit their website www.memorylaneinc.com.