The latest premier auction event from Colorado’s Mile High Card Company appears to be nothing short of the proverbial industry “monster,” presenting a staggering line-up of 1,883 lots consisting of the hobby’s finest high-grade sports and non-sport cards, as well as a select offering of sports memorabilia and Americana. Collectors familiar with the Centennial-based firm can expect to find the usual array of low-population GEMs from the hobby’s most trusted grading authorities, mostly PSA and SGC, but even the Mile High staff was surprised to count, after all their hard work was done, a whopping total of 303 unique lots featuring single cards graded GEM MINT 10, over 130 of which hail from the company’s break-up of the #1 Current & All-Time Finest 1967 Topps PSA Set Registry. Some other exceptionally high-grade highlights include a 1959 Topps Ernie Banks graded PSA 10 GEM MINT, a 1973 Topps Nolan Ryan graded PSA 10 GEM MINT, as well as dozens of additional semi-star and common players from the 1950s and 1960s, covering every sport from all manufacturers, and almost all graded either PSA 10 GEM MINT or SGC 98 GEM 10, with a spattering of GEMs from BGS and GAI.
These 303 unique high-grade lots, says Mile High’s founder and President, Brian Drent, unquestionably represent the single most expansive offering of GEM MINT cards in the history of our hobby. “But that hardly even scratches the surface of this immense auction,” says Drent, who was pleased to report over 400 forthcoming pages of engaging, down-to-earth descriptions in Mile High’s Oct. 6th Fall 2009 collector’s catalog, by far the firm’s largest effort in its 14-year tenure as the hobby’s leading and most trusted clearinghouse for premium sports cards and collectibles.
19th CENTURY & PRE-WAR HIGHLIGHTS
Kicking off Mile High’s increasingly vast selection of pre-war material is a delightfully presentable 1869 Peck & Snyder Cincinnati Red Stockings “Small” variation, the scarcer of two variations of the hobby’s very first commercially produced baseball card. Other 19th century items of note include a brilliantly preserved 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats example of Charley Ferguson, graded PSA 4 VG/EX but looking brand new, as well as an 1885 N300 Mayo’s Cut Plug example of “Cap” Anson, graded SGC 80 EX/NM 6. Crossing into the 20th century, we find the world’s finest 1903 E107 Breisch Williams Cy Young card, graded SGC 60 EX 5, as well as an elite selection of top notch 1909-11 T206s, including PSA 8 NM/MT examples of Ty Cobb’s “Red Portrait”, Walter Johnson’s famous yellow “Portrait,” as well as Christy Mathewson’s scarce “White Cap” and Nap Lajoie’s “Throwing” variations, among many others.
Even more prominent than these impressively high-grade tobacco relics is 1 of just 4 examples from the coveted 1912 T202 Hassan Triple Folders set to ever grade MINT 9 by PSA, featuring Frank Chance with David Shean. Enthusiasts of the dead-ball era will also be pleased to encounter an appealing selection of 1907-09 Novelty Cutlery and 1908-09 Charles Rose postcards, an incredible 1916 M101-5/4 collection showcasing every available back advertisement ever made, an impressive array of scarce Honus Wagner issues, including a 1910 Tip Top Bread example graded PSA GOOD+ 2.5, as well a 1911 D310 Pacific Coast Biscuit example of the tragic Buck Weaver, graded SGC 60 EX 5, and the world’s finest 1929 Star Player Candy copy of Babe Ruth, graded SGC 88 NM/MT.
Perhaps even more remarkable than these select pre-war highlights, however, is Mile High’s staggering presentation of over 110 incredibly high-grade 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jack examples followed by nearly as many high-grade 1933 and 1934 Goudeys (not to mention all the high-grade, low-pop Batter-Ups, early O-Pee-Chees, DeLongs, and Diamond Stars, etc., in between). The unquestionable king of the company’s Cracker Jack offering is 1 of the hobby’s 5 finest examples of Joe Jackson’s infamously challenging 1914 issue, graded SGC 84 NM 7, as well as NM/MT 8 examples from 1915 of both Ty Cobb (SGC) and Christy Mathewson (PSA), and SGC 96 MINT 9 examples of Rube Marquard, Grover Alexander, and “Smoky Joe” Wood, just three of an elite dozen examples from the 1915 Cracker Jack issue being offered in MINT 9 condition.
On the Goudey front, Mile High is pleased to present a pair of PSA MINT 9 examples from the ’33 issue, including Lloyd “Little Poison” Waner and Jimmy Wilson, as well as a handful of SGC 96 MINT 9 examples from the ’34 issue. Other Goudey’s worthy of mention include PSA 8 NM/MT examples from the 1933 set of Jimmy Foxx and Lou Gehrig , both card #92 and the scarcer #160, as well as an SGC 86 NM+ 7.5 example of Babe Ruth’s card #149 and a PSA 7 NM example of “The Babe’s” #181 issue. Rounding out Mile High’s pre-war (that’s pre-WWII V-Day) selection are SGC 96 MINT 9 examples of Carl Hubbell’s 1933 Sport Kings issue, and Joe DiMaggio’s 1939 Play Ball and Jimmie Foxx’s 1941 Play Ball issues, as well as a 1935 Diamond Stars Carl Hubbell graded PSA 9 MINT, and the list goes on and on, with many, many more high-grade scarcities.
Headlining Mile High’s post-war selection are two industry icons that can be found on almost every advanced collectors top-5 want list, a 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle graded PSA 9 MINT (1 of 8 known) and a 1954 Wilson Franks Ted Williams graded PSA 8.5 NM/MT+ (the 2nd finest example in the hobby). If you’re in the market for a high-grade 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie, you’ll have the option of choosing from MINT 9 examples from both PSA and SGC, or you may favor one of the hobby’s finest known examples of Sandy’s challenging 1957 and/or 1962 Topps issue, both graded SGC 96 MINT 9. Other post-war highlights, offered in multiple grades and far too numerous to fully detail here, include:
· 1948 Leaf Babe Ruth PSA 8.5 NM/MT (and PSA 8 NM/MT)
· 1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson SGC 96 MINT 9
· 1949 Bowman Roy Campanella PSA 9 MINT (and PSA 8 NM/MT)
· 1950 Bowman Ted Williams SGC 96 MINT 9 (and PSA 8 NM/MT)
· 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle PSA 8 NM/MT
· 1951 Bowman Willie Mays PSA 8 NM/MT
· 1952 Bowman Mickey Mantle SGC 96 MINT 9 (and PSA 7 NM)
· 1952 Topps Andy Pafko “Black Back” SGC 88 NM/MT 8 (and PSA 5 EX)
· 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 5 EX (and a pair of PSA 3s)
· 1952 Topps Willie Mays PSA 8 NM/MT
· 1953 Bowman Color Mickey Mantle SGC 96 MINT 9 (and PSA 8 NM/MT)
· 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 8 NM/MT (and SGC 7.5 and PSA 6 and SGC 4)
· 1954 Bowman Mickey Mantle SGC 96 MINT 9
· 1954 Topps Hank Aaron SGC 96 MINT 9 (and a pair of PSA 8s and PSA 7)
· 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 9 MINT (and SGC 9 and SGC 8.5 and PSA 8)
· 1956 Topps Ted Williams SGC 96 MINT 9
· 1957 Topps Ted Williams PSA 9 MINT
· 1969 Topps Reggie Jackson PSA 9 MINT (and SGC 96 MINT 9)
· 1971 Topps Pete Rose PSA 9 MINT (and SGC 96 MINT 9)
As evidenced by the above list, and true to one of its most common claims, Mile High has worked diligently to ensure its valued clientele with multiple options at various grading and cost levels for several of the most famous post-war cards ever produced. Indeed, this section of Mile High’s mammoth full-color catalog reads something like a reference guide, documenting almost every major star card from the 1950s to 1970s in grades of NM/MT 8 to MINT 9 and even GEM MINT 10.
While the recent US recession and global economic downturn seems to have had almost no serious impact on scarce, high-grade, single cards, aggressive buyers can still encounter countless opportunities in what has turned out to be a very healthy buyer’s market, and some of the best opportunities come in the form of complete sets, either completely or partially graded (or not even graded at all).
Some of the set highlights from Mile High’s Oct. 6th Fall 2009 auction include the #2 Current & All-Time Finest 1950 Drake’s PSA Set Registry (with another completely graded set from SGC), the #2 Current & All-Time Finest 1968 O-Pee-Chee Baseball Set Registry, the #1 Current & All-Time Finest 1959 Kahn’s Football PSA Set Registry, and the #1 Current & All-Time Finest 1963 Fleer Football PSA Set Registry. Also offered is a 1956 Topps Baseball Completely PSA-Graded set with every card graded NM/MT 8 or better, a 1971 Topps Baseball Set with 39 PSA 9s, 18 PSA 8.5s, and 556 PSA 8s, and a 1959 Topps Football Completely PSA-Graded assembly, with 8 PSA 9s, 5 PSA 8.5s, and everything else PSA 8 NM/MT. Ungraded or partially graded sets of note include a scarce 1955 Spic & Span Die-Cut Braves Set, a 1949 Bowman Complete Set with all variations, and some exceptionally high-grade Topps sets from 1959, 1962, and 1965, just to name a few. Finally, shoring up yet another impressive non-sport offering from Mile High, there is a completely SGC-graded 1888 N2 Allen & Ginter American Indian Chiefs Set, as well as a 1959 Fleer 3 Stooges Complete Set, with every card graded PSA 7 NM. “For duty and humanity!”
One of the more enchanting pieces from Mile High’s elite selection of memorabilia is a 1938 Minneapolis Millers Signed Team Photo featuring “The Kid,” Ted Williams. There’s also an exceptional hand-written, signed letter from Ty Cobb, a hand-written, signed postcard from Ernest Hemmingway, and a magnificent Lou Gehrig cut signature display. Typical of the firm, customers will also find an appealing selection of unopened wax and cello packs from the early 1960s, including, among others, two remarkable pieces showcasing Sandy Koufax, a 1960 Bell Brand Cello Pack with Koufax on top, graded PSA 7 NM, and a 1962 Topps Cello Pack with Koufax on top, graded PSA 9 MINT. Also keep an eye out for an interesting array of “nodders” and other statues and figurines from the 1950s and 60s.
Registered bidders can expect Mile High’s Fall 2009 Auction catalog to arrive at their doorsteps by the end of the third week of September. New bidders can register for the forthcoming auction at www.milehighcardco.com or by calling 303.840.2784. Striving for nothing but unsurpassed levels of expertise and customer service, Mile High sincerely encourages interested bidders to communicate all questions and concerns to the Mile High staff well in advance of the auction closing date of October 6th. The auction will be available online at www.milehighcardco.com or by phone at 303.840.2784 starting Monday, September 14th, with catalogs arriving at our registered bidders’ doorsteps later that week.
According to Mile High President, Brian Drent, this auction is, without question, the company’s best work yet. Drent founded MHCC in 1996, and the company has grown to become one of the country’s leading buyers and sellers of premium sports cards. In a new twist for the ever-evolving company, Drent was even more pleased to announce that Mile High will be conducting its first-ever December Premium Sports Collectibles Auction, a decidedly smaller event with roughly 200-400 lots of more select and prestigious material. “We are confident that this format will allow us to bring a higher-end collectible to our customers in a smaller and quainter atmosphere around the holidays,” says Drent, “all the while still allowing us to offer choice prized items in our more traditional auction catalogs throughout the year.” The company is currently accepting a limited number of select items for its inaugural Premium Sports Collectibles Auction, as well as material for its Winter 2010 event, and invites all interested consignors to explore their various options with the company before trusting their cherished items to another house.