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Auction Action: Lelands Late Fall Preview

Auction Action: Lelands Late Fall Preview
December 9, 2021
Bradley Calleja

Lelands Late Fall Auction Preview

The grail of Tom Brady cards returns to Leland’s this weekend and will make a push to be their fourth Brady card to strike a hammer price above $800,000 in 2021. Lelands has already sold two Tom Brady Championship Rookie Tickets for seven figures this year and expectations are high for this /100 offering that demonstrates strong centering and clean edges. The corners on this card received a 7.5 which by default, caps the overall grade of this card at a BGS 8, even though the average rating between the four sub-grades is actually an 8.5. The autograph is also one of the best 9's I have viewed and could easily pass as a 10. The eye appeal of this card will likely override the shortcomings within the grade and it is already drawing plenty of attention as 21 bids have pushed the price to $397,996 with three days remaining.

Altan Insights will complete a full review of Lelands Late Fall Auction next week, filled with a review of assets that are relevant to fractional investors. With this article we dive into offerings that we would like to see fractionalized, cards that carry potential catalysts, and attainable auctions that even those on a budget can afford.

Fractional Wish List

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

Sports cards and memorabilia will collide this weekend as Lelands will sell a unique vintage baseball jersey with ties to the world of cardboard. Under-sized and under-appreciated, Mel Ott played in the shadows of Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio but built a career that would challenge the stats of any Bronx Bomber. Ott crushed 511 home runs, drove-in 1,860 runs, and garnered 12 All Star game appearances during an legendary 22 year career. 

This weekend, Leland’s is offering one of the rarest game-worn assets in existence with their 1931 Mel Ott New York Giants Photo-Matched Jersey. The story surrounding this jersey extends beyond the playing field and is photo-matched to seven of Ott’s 1930 cards. The jersey was worn by Ott and became the artistic foundation for cards including the 1933 George C. Miller, 1933 Goudey, and 1935 Diamond Stars. The jersey itself carries incredible eye appeal with limited restoration and pristine threading. The ‘Giants’ logo arcs across the chest of the jersey and still displays crisp orange and black coloration that pops against the light gray fabric. On alternative asset platforms, there have been jersey’s from Koufax, Mantle, and Mays offered but still no Mel Ott threads to date. The jersey should push towards a final price that exceeds $250,000 and it is currently priced at $140,790 through eight bids. 

Arguably the most iconic non-sports set ever produced, the 1932 U.S. Caramel Presidents series carries a combination of history, rarity, and questionable sales tactics. Produced by U.S Caramel in 1932, the candy company promised collectors a free box of chocolate if they returned all 31 cards from the “Presidents” set. In a devious marketing ploy, U.S. Caramel produced a microscopic quantity of William McKinley cards to encourage card buying as people struggled to complete the set. Just how limited was the total McKinley population? It was not until 1990, 58 years after the set was released, that the existence of the McKinley card was even confirmed.

The known McKinley production total is ten cards and only two have been graded by PSA- one of which is up for auction this weekend at Lelands. The current price for this incredibly rare piece of pre-war cardboard sits at $15,834 through 17 bids and the backstory combined with improbable scarcity would make this an attractive addition to an alternative asset portfolio.

Cards with Catalysts

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

In a parallel to “The Last Dance” which highlighted the career of Michael Jordan, ESPN is currently airing episodes of “The Man in the Arena”, which focuses on the G.O.A.T of professional football. Future catalysts for Tom Brady will be limited, he is already a seven-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Super Bowl MVP, three-time league MVP, and fourteen time pro bowler. While he’s already penciled in as a first ballot Hall of Famer and holds numerous records, promoting his legendary career through a docu-series could provide a similar boost to Brady cards that we saw with Jordan collectibles while ‘The Last Dance’ was airing. Lelands has a wide array of Brady rookie cards that are closing this weekend and could be propelled in value by the series plus a potential eight Super Bowl title in February.

One Brady rookie that could reach new heights is the 2000 Leaf Certified Mirror Gold out of 35. Lelands has a BGS 8.5 that has garnered 29 bids and reached $64,831 with three days remaining in the event.

Speaking of football cards with catalysts, the card market will be closely watching names like Kyler Murray and Joe Borrow as the 2021 season nears its crescendo. One card that could see a jump in valuation depending on the next few weeks is the 2020 National Treasures Green Jersey Joe Borrow RPA. This example is from a print run of nine and carries a BGS 9.5 grade with a 10 for the Borrow autograph. This card is the highest graded example from the set in existence and has attracted eight bids for a current price of $14,071.

In a hobby that has experienced a recent added emphasis in eye appeal and aesthetic, the 2019 National Treasures Stars & Stripes Kyler Murray RPA delivers. The patch is a well-centered Cardinals logo that matches well against the red, white, and blue color scheme and the card carries strong grades for edges, corners, and surface. Both of these quarterbacks are leading teams that are in the playoff hunt, with the Cardinals sitting atop the NFC and the Bengals currently holding the AFC's sixth seed. If either can make a deep playoff push, watch for the price of their numbered rookie cards to reach new levels of value as their careers establish new levels of respect.

Attainable Auctions

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

While cards and game-worn memorabilia receive most of the attention from collectors and investors, emerging categories are gaining steam heading into 2022. One of those categories are photographs- real-life images that capture historic moments in time. Lelands has a plethora of PSA-graded photographs up for auction that carry low minimum bids and are attainable for those of us who are buying on a budget. One non-sports photo that is an intriguing offering is a 'Titanic Life Boat at Sea' PSA Type III.

Quick photo primer: Type III images are developed from a duplicate negative or wire within two years of the picture being taken. While Type I images understandably attract the most attention, this Type III was developed sometime between 1910-1912, giving it vintage appeal plus historic quality.

Lelands is also carrying lots from the star of ESPN's The Last Dance- and I'm not talking about Michael Jordan. Security guard John Michael Wozniak, who was highlighted in the series for his first-hand accounts regarding MJ's competitiveness, owned multiple items of the NBA G.O.A.T that are up for auction this week. From Jordan's underwear to three of his neckties, the Wozniak family is auctioning items that capture the unique and tight-knit relationship between MJ and the late security guard who passed away from cancer in 2020.

For less than $5000 (at the time of publication), an avid Michael Jordan collector could buy a personally worn jacket and athletic shirt once owned and worn by the Bulls superstar. As the aura around Michael Jordan continues to grow, even with his legacy seemingly established, items owned by the legend will continue to see appreciation in lockstep with other notable names in the sports stratosphere.

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Disclaimer: You understand that by reading Altan Insights, you are not receiving financial advice. No content published here constitutes a recommendation that any particular security, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. You further understand that the author(s) are not advising you personally concerning the nature, potential, value or suitability of any particular security, transaction, or investment strategy. You alone are solely responsible for determining whether an investment, security or strategy, or any other product or service, is appropriate or suitable for you based on your investment objectives and personal financial situation. Please speak with a financial advisor to understand if the risks inherent in trading are appropriate for you. Trade at your own risk.

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