“All encompassing” might be the best phrase to use when describing Memory Lane Inc’s upcoming spring catalog auction. 1175 lots of high-grade and rare sports cards and memorabilia will be on the block when the company opens bidding March 26th. Every decade from the late 19th century to the current era is represented. Among the lots are one-of-a-kind sports cards, multiple Hall of Famer autographs, game-used and game-worn items, an Abe Lincoln cancelled check and an even an important historical piece from a landmark sports court case. There are multiple Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle autographs and a huge run of vintage sports card sets too. Memory Lane’s bread and butter is in the vintage card arena and the upcoming auction includes a huge selection of mint older cards that should attract collectors and investors.
True collectors and baseball historians look upon Shoeless Joe Jackson rookie cards with awe and in this sale, Memory Lane will present a 1909 E90-1 American Caramel Jackson graded PSA 3. It carries a $7500 opening bid. From the same era comes a T204 Ramly Walter Johnson. This rare specimen is VG-EX and has a $5000 minimum. Another Johnson card that should draw plenty of attention is a 1910-11 Turkey Red (T3) card of “The Big Train” that’s also VG-EX. Other pre-War cards included in the sale are a 1915 Cracker Jack Roger Bresnahan (PSA 9), a 1931 W517 Babe Ruth portrait (hand cut, PSA 7..5), a 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig (PSA 8) and a 1933 Sport Kings #1 Ty Cobb (PSA 7).
Memory Lane is offering a virtual all-star team of the best 1950s cards, most of which are in high grade. Name a card and MLI not only has it but has it in high grade.
Those who are piecing together some of the finest sets in existence will be chasing some of the mint and gem mint-graded vintage baseball cards available including a mint, 1 of 1 1950 Bowman Ted Williams, a 1951 Bowman Willie Mays rookie card (PSA 8), a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card described as one of the nicest the company has ever handled in a PSA 4 holder, a 1953 Topps Mantle (PSA 8), a 1959 Topps Mantle (PSA 9), a 1953 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm (PSA 9, 1 of 2), a rare 1954 Bowman Ted Williams (PSA 8), a 1956 Topps Gene Woodling PSA 10 gray back (1 of 1), a 1961 Topps Ron Santo (PSA 10, 1 of 3), a 1963 Topps Bob Gibson (PSA 10, 1 of 1), and a 1975 Topps Robin Yount (gem mint, 1 of 2).
Memory Lane will also offer what it is calling the “best run of complete sports card sets we’ve ever offered”. Included are a 1956 Topps set that’s worthy of the PSA Set Registry but has never been listed. Each card in the set is a hand picked PSA 8, mostly gray back versions. The cards in the set have an SMR value of over $42,000.
A 1955 Bowman set, ranked #4 on the Registry, has been placed in the MLI auction. It opens with a $15,000 minimum SMR value of the set’s individual cards tops $29,000. Overall, the set carries an 8.023 rating.
Two other 1956 Topps sets are also offered as well as professionally graded Topps sets from 1953, 1957, 1959 (Topps and Fleer Ted Williams) as well as graded and raw football card sets from the 1950s-70s. One of the two 1969 Topps football sets in the sale includes 166 9s and stands second on the PSA Registry.
Basketball card collectors will find a 1980-81 Topps Bird/Magic/Dr. J rookie card graded PSA 10. It’s one of just 17 in existence in that grade. There is also a PSA 10 Michael Jordan rookie card.
A large run of top-level vintage football cards will be on the block including a 1935 National Chicle #1 Dutch Clark (PSA 8) and a ’35 Chicle #19 Ralph Kercheval (PSA 9). The two cards are part of a big collection of Chicle cards consigned to MLI. There is a large collection of high-grade football star cards from the 1950s and up, representing a variety of mainstream issues.
The hockey cards offered include a 1951 Parkhurst Terry Sawchuk rookie card graded PSA 8.
MLI also has vintage unopened packs in the auction, topped by a 1965 Topps cello pack graded PSA 10.
Among the autographed items are a collection of six different original 2×3″ sepia photos autographed by individual members of the 1930s New York Yankees including Babe Ruth. There is a Ruth signed ball, a PSA/DNA 9 Ruth autograph on a scorecard, a PSA/DNA 9-graded Lou Gehrig autograph, a Ty Cobb signed ball, a beautiful Joe DiMaggio signed Danny Day giclee, multiple Mickey Mantle-signed items (all authenticated), a collection of signed Hall of Fame postcards including Tris Speaker, Connie Mack and Clark Griffith, a single-signed Thurman Munson ball and some important team balls including the 1969 Mets.
In 1972, Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew blasted his 536th career home run, tying him with Mickey Mantle on the all-time list. A batboy wound up with the weapon Killebrew used that day. The cracked stick has been in storage ever since but it’s now been consigned to the sale along with the bat used by Ernie Banks to hit the final home run of his career. The Cooperstown-worthy piece carries a 1971 letter of authenticity from WGN-TV.
Another of the more unique items in the auction is correspondence from the USFL’s anti-trust lawsuit against the National Football League. The papers come from the private collection of a former USFL attorney and include the signature of one of the principal figures in the suit, USFL team owner Donald Trump.
There is also a high-grade set of Hartland Statues (with bats), a Jackie Robinson autographed Sid Gordon model glove, a 1961 Life Magazine signed by cover boy Roger Maris and one of the last baseballs signed by Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella before a 1957 auto accident affected his signing habits.
Memory Lane doesn’t stop at sports with this auction. Historians will enjoy looking over a cancelled check from 1860, signed by Abraham Lincoln and authenticated by PSA/DNA.
Music fans will appreciate a John Lennon signed, cancelled check from a British-based account made out to Apple Records.