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Auction Action by Altan Insights: SCP Premier Auction

Auction Action by Altan Insights: SCP Premier Auction
October 29, 2021
Bradley Calleja

SCP Auctions Preview

It really is simple; When a T206 Honus Wagner card appears on an auction block, heads turn. Headlining the Fall Premier Auction hosted by SCP Auctions is a restored Wagner that carries an authentic grade from PSA. While the grade and restoration label will keep this card from surpassing the current Wagner card record of $6.6 million, estimates of at least $2 million are not far-fetched. For a restored copy, this grail carries an incredibly natural look showing that this example required limited labor to rehabilitate it to its pre-war state. The auction lineup features rare vintage cards and unique sports memorabilia including a 1980 Topps Scoring Leaders card graded 10 by SGC and a pair of Air Jordan 1 sneakers signed by the legend himself. There are also assets that are comparable to offerings on alternative asset platforms. Altan Insights will complete a full review of the event with more relevant coverage once final bids have been placed and all prices have been realized.

Fractional Wish List

This section highlights assets that would fit in the fractional world but have not been offered as of publication. 

While the emergence of Reg-A platforms such as Commonwealth and MyRacehorse has afforded anyone the opportunity to invest in racehorses, there has yet to be an IPO of horse racing memorabilia. Closing this weekend at SCP is a trophy awarded to Affirmed after the legendary thoroughbred became just the 11th horse to win the Triple Crown. 

This silver-laden laurel not only commemorates one of the sport’s finest achievements but also immortalizes a season that was arguably the greatest in racing history. After earning the title of American’s Champion Two-Year-Old Colt, Affirmed opened his three-year-old campaign as a slight underdog at the Kentucky Derby to a powerful speedster named Alydar. Affirmed managed to hold off a late charge from Alydar to secure a victory at the Run for the Roses but a rivalry was born. Affirmed would then outpace Alydar by less than a second at the Preakness leading to an unforgettable showdown at Belmont Park. Affirmed and Alydar ran step for step the entire race, with the former securing victory via a photo-finish and cementing himself as a Triple Crown champion. 

While any memorabilia from a triple crown winner would make a great addition to a sports investors portfolio, one that carries the significance and backstory like a trophy from the glory that was the 1978 season would be a definite grail. 

Regardless of any controversy, it is time for two of the greatest pure hitters in baseball history to be recognized on alternative asset platforms. While their cards carry limited value due to the junk wax era, there is a plethora of investment-worthy memorabilia connected to Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire. 

SCP Auctions has two pieces that are forever tied to the most captivating and exciting years in modern Major League Baseball history. The first is a game-used, signed, and inscribed bat used by McGwire during his record-breaking 70 home run season. The bat carries a grade of PSA/DNA GU 10 and was owned by former Atlanta Braves catcher Javy Lopez. Marred by steroid use, McGwire’s record-setting 1998 campaign carries an asterisk that has caused depreciation among other historic memorabilia pieces tied to the historic season. Todd McFarlane purchased Big Mac’s 70th home run ball for $3 million in 1998, an asset that would now appraise in the $400,000-$500,000 range at most due to a shattered legacy and McGwire’s inability to earn entrance into baseball’s Hall of Fame. If an asset can be found at value though, the opportunity to own something from the iconic summer of ‘98 presents the potential for long-term appreciation and this bat currently sits at $7,423 through 19 bids.

There are multiple high-profile baseballs available at this Fall Premier Auction but none are likely to exceed the attention or price that the 500th home run ball hit by Barry Bonds will command.  On April 21, 2001, Bonds launched the historic blast into San Fransisco’s McCovey Cove, prompting a race between the mass of boaters who spent the night floating in wait. Joe Figone pulled off an impressive play when he scooped the ball out of the dark water with one hand guiding a fishing net and the other steering his watercraft. Figone’s net and life jacket are included in this offering and would provide a one-of-a-kind investment basket that highlights a memorabilia night for baseball. 

Mickey Mantle cards have shined on alternative asset platforms and there have been 16 cards IPO’d across two platforms. One card that has not been offered yet is Mantle’s 1961 Topps All Star card that combines incredible artwork with a limited population. Out of 2,945 graded examples, only four have earned PSA 10 designation- representing a gem rate of 0.13%. SCP Auctions has one of those four 1961 Mantle’s, the first public appearance of a PSA 10 in five years. This provides an opportunity for fractional platforms to grow their post-war vintage portfolio with a dynamic card that displays a mature Mantle bursting through the cover of Sporting News. Any buyer of this incredibly rare Mantle may need to pay a premium, however, as the card has already lobbied 11 bids and sits at $45,960 heading into the weekend. 

Cards with Catalysts

This feature includes assets with an upcoming event that could impact the short-term value of the card or collectible. 

Since this auction is loaded primarily with vintage offerings, there are a limited number of lots that offer near-term catalyst opportunities. There have been no signs of sophomore slumping for second-year star Justin Herbert who has already tallied 14 touchdown passes through the first six weeks of the NFL season. SCP Auctions has a 2020 National Treasures Green Jersey Auto /10 that carries a BGS 7.5 grade with a BGS 10 for the signature. The card delivers impressive eye appeal with a patch that displays the three primary colors of the Los Angeles Chargers. As the MVP race heats up towards the latter part of the 2021 season, Herbert cards should see a continued appreciation in value, especially if the Chargers manage to unseat Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs atop the AFC West. 

Is there anything Steph Curry can’t do? The superstar point guard is already averaging 30.4 points per game this season while guiding the Warriors to a 4-1 record through the first weeks of the 2021 season. If Curry can continue to cement his legacy as the greatest shooter in NBA history, his cards and memorabilia will continue to command top prices at auction. SCP has a game-worn Curry jersey that is photomatched to two games in which Chef Curry was cooking. In the first game, #30 dropped 36 points on the Chicago Bulls en route to a 129-128 win. That game also marked NBA history as Step became just the third player to score more than 2,500 career three-pointers. Curry then donned this jersey the following night when he sank 31 points with 6 assists in a ten-point win against the Detroit Pistons. The authenticated jersey is currently priced at $18,389 through ten bids. 

Attainable Auctions

This feature includes cards that we find particularly interesting and are still available at an affordable price. 

Delivered to mailboxes throughout the country, Sports Illustrated for Kids featured a sheet of perforated cards that were, in most cases, carelessly ripped from the magazine or completely ignored. Those that took extra precaution in carefully separating the individual squares from their sheets though are now reaping the rewards decades later. SCP Auctions features two 1990s SI for Kids cards that feature icons from the late 20th-century sports world. Both cards are currently priced below $1,000 and would give any frugal collector or investor the opportunity to add a graded SI card to their portfolio at an affordable price. No one captivated the 1990s skate culture quite like Tony Hawk. From skateboards and merchandise to an estimated $1.4 billion in sales for his branded video game Pro Skater, attention has now turned to Hawk’s rookie card. Sales for his 1990 SI For Kids card have consistently surpassed $500 in PSA 8 and 9s with a limited number of examples graded near mint and mint. SCP Auctions has a BGS 9 that has reached $1,100 and still sits at a reasonable range for anyone interested in collecting a mint-quality card from the skating legend. 

While Mia Hamm delivered an illustrious career on the soccer field, it is now her SI for Kids card that is establishing records at auction houses. In June, Goldin Auctions sold a PSA 10 example for $34,440 which made it the most expensive female sports card of all time. That record was broken this month when a 2003 NetPro Serena Williams card sold for $44,280 but the growth of women’s sports cards is unquestioned heading into the closing weekend of this SCP Auction. The auction house has a BGS 9 graded Mia Hamm card that displays impressive centering and clean perforation. The card has yet to attract a bid with a minimum set at $1,000, creating a potential opportunity for someone bullish on the continued appreciation of women’s cards.

All Auction Image Credit to SCP Auctions

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