With over 500 lots of sports collectibles being sold over the next three days, the SCP Fall Premier Auction contains a plethora of high quality cards and game-used memorabilia. In this edition of Auction Action we preview the key storylines and important lots scheduled to sell.
The market for #311 Mickey Mantle has weathered the recent market tumult very impressively. In August the record for any baseball card, let alone a Mantle, was set by the sale of an SGC 9.5 copy for $12.6 million. The recent trend in these #311s shows us that at the very high-end of the hobby, the grader premium/discount washes away and the quality of the card itself shows through. Once graded 7.5 by PSA, this card has been re-slabbed and now stands as the lone CSG graded copy in their pop report. With impressive centering, clean boarders, crisp edges, and vivid coloration, the lot has already attracted 11 bids with a current price in excess of $700,000.
CSG estimated this lot was given an estimate of $2 million—SCP more conservatively projected "$1.5 million and up". Neither are out of the realm of possibility, two 2021 sales of PSA 8 copies found prices of $2.112 million and $2.029 million respectively.
A steep drop-off from the projected $2 million of the marquis lot described above; this piece is still a storied piece of baseball history. Awarded to outfielder Ben Paschal, a Yankee from 1924-29, the ring represents the triumph of one of the most lauded teams in baseball—the 1927 Yankees. Although presented to one of the lesser known players on the roster, I mean hey Ruth or Gehrig this man is not, his ring is a powerful object that represents among the highest of highs experienced by the franchise in its 100+ year history. Aside from their 1927 season being one of the most dominant in baseball history; it also happened to be the first year that rings were awarded to the season's champions. When the Yanks won just four years earlier they had each been awarded Pocket watches. Flexing '27 pocket watches' doesn't have quite the same ring as '27 rings'—Ha, ring, and rings, get it?
Rings like this one come onto the auction block once every so often, but this one is relatively well kept for a nearly 100 year old piece. Although it is unlikely it will hit the highs of the 1927 ring presented to Ruth, which sold for $2 million in 2017, it does have the potential to reach into the six figures. A 2014 sale found the ring of Murderer's Row lead-off hitter, Earle Combs, fetch $155,350.
The bidding is currently sitting at $78,469, but there are plenty of deep pocketed Yankee fans out there—you cannot count out the 212 when it comes to bidding up Yankee memorabilia.
Among the most sought-after collectibles within the world of sports memorabilia, Babe Ruth bats have experienced a breakout year in 2022. Earlier this year, the all-time record for any bat was set when a Babe Ruth gamer sold for $1.62 million. Volume and quantity at auction remains low and each example that does appear can vary in a number of factors including condition, years of use, and the make of the bat itself. This particular bat was used as Babe transitioned from Boston to New York in 1920. He hit 54 homers and began to work his way into the hearts of New Yorkers and baseball fans alike. The bat is still in superb condition, SCP describing it as showing: "no evidence of restoration, presenting just as it was when it last left the hands of the greatest slugger and most famous baseball player of all time.". SCP is no stranger to the high-end Ruth bat market, having sold a million-dollar game used piece of lumber in 2019.
Bats wielded by the legendary slugger have fetched in excess of $1 million, but this lot is currently sitting at $56,369. As with the ring above, one would assume well moneyed New Yorkers could see this as a wonderful opportunity to own a piece of baseball history at the very low end of the market.
Baseball cards from the early 20th century were far less standardized than they are in the modern era. The most infamous set from these years is 'T206', a tobacco card set issued from 1909 to 1911 by the American Tobacco Company. The release of these cards were a landmark moment in the history of collecting, with many in the set going on to become the most valuable cards in existence. The set includes cards known even among those outside the hobby, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, and the gentleman above, Ty Cobb. Supremely graded copies of those above have fetched well into the seven figures.
The PSA population report shows more than a thousand graded examples of this card, but with the 'Old Mill' back, there are only two examples graded higher. Among recent sales over the last 4 years there are plenty of 'Piedmont' back cards, this example's 'Old Mill' back is rather rare.
With bidding already at $37,925 the sale price has already blown past the most recent sale price of an NM 7, which went for $21,000. It is possible collectors see the unique back of the card as reason to pay a hefty premium.
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