The second-best 1962 Topps football card set known to exist sold for $54,667 in Memory Lane Inc’s Winter Classic Rarities auction that closed early Sunday morning. The second-ranked set on PSA’s Set Registry generated 19 bids from buyers anxious to obtain a collection with a cumulative GPA of 8.279. 1962 Topps football cards are extremely difficult to find in high grade because of their jet black borders, which make them susceptible to showing signs of wear. Similarly, a black-bordered 1971 Topps Baseball set, ranked #4 on PSA’s Registry sold for $20,886 (8.19 GPA). Overall, Memory Lane’s season-ending auction realized $1.45 million in winning bids for dozens of high grade and rare pieces of sports and non-sports cards and memorabilia. The realized prices include a buyer’s premium.
“It was a great way to end the year,” said J.P. Cohen of Memory Lane. “The bidding on the older sets was really strong but there was so much variety in this auction at so many different price points that a large number of collectors were able to not only participate but win something nice.”
Among the other vintage card sets sold was a remarkable autographed 1951 Bowman baseball set which was purchased for $30,867. Missing just one card (Don Bankhead), the 300+ cards in the set have all been graded by PSA as authentic while some carry an autograph grade.
A 1950 Topps Felt Backs set, sold minus the Joe Paterno “rookie” card brought $14,029. Sold separately, the JoPa card issued during his days as a Brown University collegian was graded PSA 8 and sold for $8711.
A 1939 Play Ball Ted Williams rookie card, graded PSA 9 sold for $33,842 against a $10,000 starting bid. A PSA 7-graded copy of the iconic 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle brought $26,700.
Memory Lane offered several condition sensitive #1 cards from vintage sets. Collectors chased a 1934 Diamond Stars #1 Lefty Grove to the tune of $13,554 (PSA 7), a 1933 Goudey Sport Kings #1 Ty Cobb ($11,594 for a PSA 8) and a 1940 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio #1 ($16, 975 for a PSA 8).
There is never a shortage of bidders for Babe Ruth cards and MLI offered a mini-horde of 1930s examples, all of which sold for strong prices. All four Ruth cards from the 1933 Goudey set were represented including #149 ($6456/PSA 4), #53 (PSA 6/$6442), #144 (PSA 6/$6430) and #181 (PSA 5.5/$3897).
One card that is often on the want lists of advanced collectors is the 1954 Wilson Franks Ted Williams. Memory Lane sold a solid example for $9582 in this auction.
Collectors gravitate toward unique, rare items and unopened pack collectors usually jump at the chance to own one of the best bubble gum packs around. Few 1952 Topps packs have survived over the years, but Memory Lane offered a high grade example in this auction. Graded GAI 8.5, the pack sold for $10, 940.
Memory Lane also offered two boxes of graded packs from a pair of the most sought-after modern era products. A 1979 OPC hockey box with all 48 packs graded by GAI and, no doubt, a Gretzky rookie or two hiding inside, sold for $11,900 while a 1986-87 Fleer basketball box of 36 that normally yields multiple Michael Jordan rookie cards went for $10,184. One of MJ’s Fleer rookies was offered in the Winter Classics auction. The PSA 10 beauty brought $6174.
Three ultra-rare display boxes were also sold to eager bidders. A 1933 Sport Kings box brought $2318, a 1936 Goudey R322 box went for $1439 while a 1941 Double Play baseball box changed hands at $1308.
Football card collectors had an opportunity to bid on some high-grade 1948 Leaf cards, including a PSA 9 Johnny Lujack variation. It sold for $9684 while the scarce Roy ‘Rebel’ Steiner brought $4850. One of the better post-War cards, a 1966 Gale Sayers Philadelphia Gum rookie graded gem mint, brought $9819.
The sale took place just days after the death of Cubs’ legend Ron Santo. Even if the Baseball Hall of Fame voters haven’t shown Santo Cooperstown-worthy respect, collectors love his 1961 Topps rookie card, especially in high grade. One of the keys to a highly ranked registry set, a PSA 10 Santo offered by Memory Lane sold for $5467.
Memorabilia collectors looking for something both historic and unusual found a team document featuring the signature of Christy Mathewson. In 1924, Mathewson was president of the Boston Braves and it is his autograph adorning an Edgar Padgett players contract. Mathewson died just a year after it was signed. The contract sold for $9582.
Next on the company’s docket is the second annual football only “Big Game Auction” set for February 6, 2011. Memory Lane is taking consignments of high grade and rare football cards and memorabilia right now with the deadline set for January 4. To consign, contact Memory Lane at 714-730-0600 or visit MemoryLaneInc.com.