This weekend, SCP Auctions will close their 2022 Winter Premier Auction and the event is stacked with unique memorabilia and one-of-a-kind sports cards. Altan Insights will complete a review of the event next week.
Lots to Watch
From the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle to the 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky, there is a select tier of cards that command respect anytime they appear at auction. Even though sales of these cards might rival that of a T206 Honus Wagner, no card commands respect at the same level as a T206 Wagner. This auction is proof of that as SCP will sell 51% of a Honus card for a price that exceeds 99% of all cardboard ever sold. There is an abundance of high-profile cards and memorabilia up for auction this week but the damaged T206 Honus is already leading the pack and has reached $360,575 through 17 bids. For someone outside of the hobby, it must be baffling how a card in the condition of this one could sell for mid to high six-figures, but for those within the hobby, it is completely understandable. No card carries the weight of the hobby quite like the T206 Honus: From the mystery surrounding its lack of production to its minuscule quantity and unmistakable profile, every time this card appears at auction it turns heads; Even if a section of Mr. Wagner's head is missing.
In the third inning of Game 6 in the 2021 World Series, Atlanta Braves DH Jorge Soler crushed a pitch 446 feet from home plate, driving in the only runs needed to secure a world championship for the Braves. Not only did this mammoth blast clear the fence at Minute Maid Park, it actually left the stadium. After landing on an awning outside of the park, the ball rolled down a sidewalk and ultimately stopped along a fence that separates the stadium and a local neighborhood. The ball was finally retrieved by a fan named Manuel Ramos who then decided to cosign this piece of modern sports history with SCP. The baseball has already captured five bids and is priced at $40,264.
The Rolex brand experienced tremendous growth in the late 20th century as the wristwatch producer became a premier name in the luxury space. Golf, the gentleman’s game, became the flag-bearer for the Rolex brand as legendary players like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player became ambassadors for the luxury timekeeper. The symbiotic relationship between golf and Rolex helped develop the reputation of both the sport and the watches. Today, six-figure sales for Rolex watches with ties to the game are commonplace. SCP has an incredible piece up for auction this weekend that was once owned by Arnold Palmer himself. This Day/Date model Rolex demonstrates all of the finest qualities carried by the Swiss-watch producer. From its 18-karat gold Presidential bracelet to its Champagne stick dial, this luxury watch is also engraved with Palmer’s signature “ADP” monogram. This luxurious and rare offering has garnered 4 bids and sits at $35,433 heading into the final days of the event.
Speaking of unique and rare offerings, this photograph absolutely fits the bill. On June 13, 1948, Nat Fein from the Herald-Tribune took this photo during Babe Ruth’s final appearance at Yankee Stadium and the image has stood as one of the most iconic moments in sports history. Inside of a packed stadium with dozens of photographers anxiously clicking their cameras for the perfect shot, Fein’s photo was the one that would survive the test of time. Not only is this graded Type I by PSA, which means it is a first generation photo, developed from the original negative, this particular image carries potential provenance that is simply incredible. Based on the creasing and notations found on the photo, it is believed to be the actually first print used by the Herald-Tribune for their evening paper on June 13, 1948. If there is a T206 Honus Wagner of photographs, this one is it and the bidding has reached $35,433 heading into the weekend.
Lot #7: 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig Card (SGC 9)
As one of only three SGC 9 graded examples, there are no copies graded higher in the SGC database. There is one PSA 10 example, which has not publicly sold since 2007, and that card would appraise at a multi-million dollar valuation today.This example at SCP actually sold at Heritage Auctions in May for $156,000, which is the highest price paid for an SGC 9 to date. Finding this card in such pristine condition is nearly impossible as the off-white border emphasizes any centering issues and the light colored cardboard allows surface flaws to stick-out. This copy though displays impressive condition as Lou prepares to swing at a pitch against a sky blue canvas. The 1933 Goudey series is one of the most iconic card sets ever produced and combines history with timeless superstars in a way that only a few other cards can.
The 1953 Bronx Bombers were an unstoppable machine, winning 99 games, finishing first in the America League, and dusting the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series. On April 23rd of that year though, the Yanks would need some late-inning heroics from a rising young star to knock off their bitter rival. With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Mickey Mantle delivered a walk-off home run to give New York the win over the Boston Red Sox. That 3-run blast would be the first walk-off homer of Mantle’s young, but ultimately storied career. Collectors can pick up the only encapsulated ticket stub from the game this weekend at SCP Auctions. There have been six bids at the time of publication and the current hammer price sits at $324.
Full disclosure: I, the writer of this preview, may end up bidding on this incredible piece of history myself. This basketball comes from the now-defunct American Basketball League which survived less than two seasons before closing shop halfway through the 1962-1963. It was in the short lifespan though that the three point shot was born. It would take the NBA until 1979 to adopt the three point line but the idea first emerged in the ABL during their 1961 season. Founded by Abe Saperstein, who also founded the Harlem Globetrotters, the ABL lasted just one illustrious season. Memorabilia from the ABL is understandably rare and this basketball is the first that I have ever seen on the auction block. The basketball opens a plethora of questions and is shroud in mystery. Could this ball have been the one used to make the first professional three pointer? What could the ABL have been if the league would have thrived? Either way, this is a one of a kind sphere of leather that is currently priced at $605 with less than three days remaining.
Before Serena Williams, Sue Bird, Naomi Osaka, and Simone Biles, there was Mia Hamm. The accolades for Hamm could fill this entire page. She was a two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time FIFA World Cup champion, two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, five-time U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. After years of selling in the shadows of men’s cards, Goldin Auctions sold a PSA 10 graded S.I. For Kids Mia Hamm card for $34,440. The sale occurred on June 27, 2021, and established a new all-time record price for any female sports card. Since that record-breaking result, multiple Serena Williams rookie cards have exceeded $40,000 and earlier this month, PWCC Auctions sold the first six-figure female sports card. One card that has not established a new price ceiling yet though is the 1992 S.I. For Kids Mia Hamm card. SCP Auctions has a BGS 9 graded Mia Hamm with excellent eye appeal up for auction this week. Similar graded examples were selling consistently for $2,000-$3,500 during the summer but sales have not responded yet to the recent surge in female card prices. This card could present an opportunity for a collector that is looking to diversify their portfolio at an affordable price point.
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