Nearly 40 years after he retired as an active player, Mickey Mantle is still magic to baseball fans and collectors. Proof of that can be found in the Winter Extravaganza Rarities Auction conducted by Memory Lane, Inc. The Bruce Griggs Collection was ranked among the finest on the PSA Set Registry. It included each of Mantle’s regular issue cards from his rookie season of 1951 through his final appearance on a Topps card in 1969. Both white and yellow letter variations were included. Each card in the Mantle Basic Collection was graded PSA 8. Headlining the group, of course, was the ever-popular 1952 Topps Mantle, which sold for $79,900.
Pieced together with dogged determination over a ten-year period by a Mantle fan and collector, 33 of the finest Mantle cards in existence found new homes in the sale, which concluded last weekend.
“It was an honor for us to sell this group,” said MLI’s J.P. Cohen. “To see all of these cards in such rare and consistent quality was remarkable. We know those who purchased these Mantle cards will be very pleased.”
Memory Lane has become synonymous with regard to top quality vintage sports cards, selling thousands through its auctions and private sales each year. Consignors and bidders flock to the sales, enjoying the opportunity to bid on cards like a 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie card in mint condition that drew a final realized price of $24,651.50. The card was a true classic, combining a popular player with the impeccable condition.
The Winter auction was loaded with top quality vintage cards and memorabilia from all eras. The #1 card in the 1934 Goudey set, Jimmie Foxx, another NM-MT specimen, sold for $14,942. A 1933 Sport Kings Ty Cobb, graded PSA 7, was sold for $6,705.
A mint, graded rookie card of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew (1955 Topps #124) brought an astonishing $11,157. One of the Killer’s contemporaries looks great graded PSA 9. The 1959 Topps Al Kaline offered in the auction soared to $6,527 before being nabbed by a lucky vintage card aficionado.
Collectors shopping for the absolute best of the best flocked to a PSA 10-graded 1968 Topps Mantle card (#280). The final realized price for this monumental piece of cardboard reached $11,732 with the winning bidder owning an unimprovable card from late in The Mick’s career. Years from now, it’s possible the price will be considered a bargain. Mantle’s teammate, Yogi Berra, remains a hit, especially when starring in a mint PSA 9 1963 Topps holder. One of only three of its kind ever to reach such lofty status, MLI’s Berra brought heavy hitters out to the tune of a $5,541 winning bid.
Pre-War cards continue to attract a growing audience. A 1902 W600 Sporting Life Eddie Plank graded PSA 5 was sold for $8,101 while a 1911 M116 Sport Life Johnny Evers in PSA 8 found a buyer at $4,161. A pair of top quality T205 cards, Robert Byrne and George McBride, both PSA 8s each sold for over $4,000.
Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio were icons of the game during their heyday and each continues to enjoy incredible popularity with collectors. A 1941 Double Play Williams/Charlie Keller graded PSA 8, sold for $4,053 while a pair of Williams cards attracted a strong following. A 1950 Bowman card of Teddy Ballgame reached $4,425 while a 1952 Berk Ross sold for $1,874. Each fit nicely in a PSA 8 holder.
Set Registry participants love a tough common in high grade and a pair of older cards didn’t disappoint them. A 1952 Topps Charley Maxwell graded PSA 8 drew strong interest before reaching $4,023 while a 1967 Topps #374 Mel Queen error card, graded PSA 8, sold for $2,709. A 1962 Topps high #596 graded PSA 9, sold for $3,078.
Some nice vintage complete sets were offered in the auction, including a high grade 1961 Bell Brand Dodgers set that rocketed to $19,498.
Football card collectors weren’t forgotten in the sale and those who say cards from the 1970s aren’t that valuable must have missed the final selling price for a PSA 1975 Topps Dan Fouts rookie card. It kept climbing until one collector nailed it down for $2,312.
Memory Lane’s latest auction generated over $1.5 million in sales and caps yet another incredible year for the fastest growing auction house in the sports memorabilia industry. Consignors and collectors can both agree that while economic times may be challenging, Memory Lane is a safe and exciting place to auction or purchase truly outstanding sports cards and memorabilia.
With full-color catalogs and unmatched marketing to a discriminating group of sports card and memorabilia fans as well as the new fans who discover the auctions each year, Memory Lane’s biggest challenge is to make its next auction even bigger than the last. Another successful and exciting campaign only whets the appetite for what should be a stellar 2009!
Memory Lane may be reached by phone 877-606-5263 or fax 714-730-0602. You may also visit their website at: www.memorylaneinc.com.