Spring Auction Preview Lot: Complete Set of 1915 Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods Advertising Pins Discovered Including TWO NEW CHECKLIST ADDITIONS!!!

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized


1915 Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods Advertising Pins Complete Set (10) with Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson, and Two Previously Unknown Pins - The Only Complete Set!

Presented is one of the most extraordinary baseball pinback finds of all time: a newly-discovered complete set of ten advertising pinbacks issued in 1915 by Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods of Kansas City, Missouri. By any measure, Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods pins are one of the collecting world’s rarest and most desirable baseball pinbacks. Their rarity is legendary. The discovery of even a single sample would be remarkable, as fewer than fifty Schmelzer’s pins are even known to exist. Prior to this discovery, a find of ten different Schmelzer’s pins would have been thought to be impossible. Prior to this find, only eight different Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods pins were known to exist.

For many years, eight different subjects, each corresponding to a different baseball position, were known to exist in the Schmelzer’s set, and speculation among collectors and pinback enthusiasts has always been that a ninth pin existed to round out a complete baseball team. The ninth pin was always presumed to be “second base,” as that was the only position missing. But the identity of the ninth featured player was unknown. This remarkable find answers the 100-year-old mystery and identifies the ninth player position pin representing second base as Hall of Famer Johnny Evers! The tenth different pin? We had never before even contemplated the existence of a tenth pin. But it also exists and is included in the find: The previously unknown tenth pin in the Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods pin set is manager George Stallings!


Obviously, the ten pins offered here represent the only known complete set in existence.

This complete set of ten pins has a fascinating history. When we received the e-mail from a noncollector inquiring about the value of his ten different Schmelzer’s pins, we were naturally skeptical both because of the extreme rarity of Schmelzer’s pins (reproductions are known) and because we only knew of eight different subjects. We immediately asked for pictures, and after a short wait, we were stunned to see that not only were the pins real, but there really were ten different subjects! Significant pinback discoveries such as this, let alone from a set issued 100 years ago, are naturally few and far between. In response to our inquiry as to how he happened to have these great rarities, the consignor explained to us that his parents owned and operated an antique shop in Kansas from 1953 to 1963. They bought them at their Kansas City antique store. This made a lot of sense because Schmelzer’s was a Kansas City Sporting Goods store. Our consignor actually recalled seeing the pins among the family’s odds ‘n ends as early as 1960, and noted that they were saved because he liked them, and that they have remained safely in storage for the past 55 years. Careful storage and remarkable foresight (or luck) is responsible for this incredible offering today! This newly discovered set of ten pins is the second-largest find of Schmelzer’s pins ever (second only to REA’s find of twelve pins in 2006, which included only six different subjects).


In addition to their great rarity, Schmelzer’s are noted for being the first baseball pin set to combine photos of famous ballplayers with color lithographic artwork. Each pin in this striking set features a black-and-white portrait image of the player along with a full-color figure of a generic ballplayer to the left, representing a position, which is also noted above the portrait in red lettering. On the curl of the pin it is indicated, in tiny letters, that these pins were manufactured for Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods by The Whitehead & Hoag Company, the premier pinback-maker of the era. Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods pins have been revered by advanced collectors for both their rarity and design since the earliest days of organized collecting. They are also noted for the inclusion of several big names, including Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, and Christy Mathewson, in the relatively small set. While these players were staples in many prewar card sets, and their cards can routinely sell for great sums, those cards pale in comparison in terms of rarity to the Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods pins. Any short list of the era’s most desirable baseball pinbacks will include the Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods pins of Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, and Christy Mathewson (all of which, of course, are included in the offered set).

The ten subjects which comprise this complete set are: Ty Cobb (Right Field, Detroit Tigers), Charlie Deal (Third Base, St. Louis Terriers), Johnny Evers (Second Base, Chicago Cubs), Hank Gowdy (Catcher, Boston Braves), Danny Hoffman (Left Field, St. Louis Browns), Joe Jackson (Center Field, Cleveland Naps), Rabbit Maranville (Short Stop, Boston Braves), Christy Mathewson (Pitcher, New York Giants), Butch Schmidt (First Base, Boston Braves), and George Stallings (Manager).

While this set is extremely noteworthy for its completeness and uniqueness, it is an added benefit the ten pins display beautifully! They are not perfect (though Jackson is close), due to varying degrees of foxing, but are still exceptionally attractive. Each pin boasts a crisp image and bold colors. The original gloss is intact, and the celluloid surface of each pin is free of any distracting scratches or chips, as is commonly encountered with pinbacks. Light to moderate foxing is present along the edges of all of the pins, and on the fronts to varying extents. Ideally, the Joe Jackson pin (only the sixth-known example) has survived in the finest condition, with minimal foxing almost exclusively relegated to the curl (aside from some minimal perimeter spotting, foxing virtually not visible from the front). The front foxing is most serious on the following five pins: Cobb (only the fifth-known example), Gowdy, Hoffman, Mathewson, and Stallings. Foxing is present but much more modest and therefore of far lesser impact to the extremely impressive appearance of the remaining five pins: Evers, Deal, Maranville, Schmidt, and, as noted, Jackson. The original advertising back paper is complete and intact on the reverse of each pin, with bold black printing and light toning. The original pin is also complete and intact on all as well.

In our opinion (and we are big fans of pinbacks so maybe we are biased), a strong case can be made that the rarest baseball pinbacks are extremely undervalued and represent an extraordinary value compared to the rarest baseball cards. As baseball pinbacks continue to rise in prominence among the world’s most advanced collectors, it would not surprise us if the most desirable examples someday rival the values placed on similarly rare and desirable cards. That is not the case today, but we can’t help but think this may someday change, especially with reference to Joe Jackson.

The significance of the two previously unknown subjects (Evers and Stallings) can also not be overstated as, in addition to providing the answer to a century-old mystery, they represent the only known examples of each. This is a spectacular, unique, and most remarkable newly discovered complete set of one of celluloid collecting’s most desirable advertising pinback rarities. Total: 10 pins.

Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000+++.


Newly Discovered 1897 Cameo Pepsin Gum Pin Checklist Addition: Hall of Famer “Big Sam” Thompson

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized


Exceedingly rare, newly discovered Cameo Pepsin Gum pin of Hall of Famer Sam Thompson of the Philadelphia Phillies. This is the first “Big Sam” Thompson Cameo Pepsin Gum pin we have ever seen (or heard of!) and it may represent the only known example, since it does not appear in any of the published checklists, including the 2011 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. Incredibly, it was just recently discovered this year by a New England antiques dealer, who by chance found two Cameo Pepsin pins in an estate he purchased (the other, Tenney, also appears individually in the spring auction). This is the only issue to feature Thompson at the tail end of his career (he appears on several tobacco cards and cabinets years earlier as a member of the Detroit Wolverines). That fact, combined with this pin’s extremely rare (and possibly unique) status, make it a particularly exciting Cameo Pepsin Gum checklist addition. The pin is clean and crisp, with especially strong photo contrast and a clean surface. The reverse paper label is completely intact. Excellent condition overall. All Cameo Pepsins are rare (some naturally rarer than others), and when newly discovered collections surface, there is always the possibility of a previously unknown checklist addition, but this newly-discovered Hall of Famer is a particularly exciting checklist addition. Manufactured by Whitehead & Hoag. Diameter: 1.25 inches. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).

Provided below is a link to an extraordinary 2012 article on Cameo Pepsin Gum pins, including a then-current checklist, courtesy of The Sports Collectors Digest and written by Keith Olbermann:



1909-1911 T206 White Border Honus Wagner PSA VG 3 - One of the Finest Examples in Existence!

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized


Every T206 Wagner naturally has a great story, sharing the Wagner legend that is now part of classic American folklore, and every Wagner also has an additional story relating to its provenance. Collectors have always been fascinated with all aspects of the history of Wagners: how they were discovered, where they have been purchased, when, for how much, where they have been, how they have happened to survive. Sometimes there are more questions than answers, and sometimes a Wagner is special in ways that no other examples share.

Wagners that have great stories include “The Gretzky-McNall Wagner” (the most valuable and famous card in the world), “The All-Star Cafe Wagner” (when owned by Charlie Sheen, displayed at the All-Star Cafe in New York, famously stolen by employees and replaced with a color Xerox, later recovered by the FBI); “The Nun’s Wagner” (a very low-grade, trimmed, and shellacked T206 Wagner donated to an order of Roman Catholic Nuns, who were shocked to discover its great value; the $262,000 the sale of the card realized in 2010 was put to great use by the order). There is also “The Jumbo Wagner” (a T206 Wagner with very large borders), “The Burdick Wagner” (”Father of Card Collecting” Jefferson Burdick’s very own example, donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art), “The Halper Cooperstown Gift Wagner” (in the 1980s when famous collector Barry Halper learned that the Hall of Fame did not have a Wagner, he gave them his duplicate as a gift!); “The Diecut Wagner” (the background was completely cut away on this card, leaving only the portrait and bottom border; REA sold this card in 1997); “The Nagy Wagner” (a very strong example once owned by legendary pioneer collector Frank Nagy); “The Restored Wagner;” and even “The Restored and Unrestored Wagner.” We’re sure there are others that are deserving of special distinction and mean no disrespect by not naming them.

Robert Edward Auctions is extremely pleased to present “The Oceanside Wagner,” one of the finest examples of the legendary T206 Wagner in existence. This exceptional card was entirely unknown to the modern collecting world for nearly a century until it was discovered in the basement of an Oceanside, New York, home in 2008 alongside hundreds of other 1910-era tobacco cards. The entire collection of cards, carefully saved for generations in the family of the original owner, was presented as part of a New York-based estate auction, where the T206 Wagner naturally “stole the show,” realizing a then-record price of $791,000. At the time of the sale, the card was graded by SGC, but in the years since, the buyer opted to have it graded by PSA to match the balance of his impressive collection. (SGC was alerted to this fact and adjusted their population report accordingly so as to not double-count a card of this importance.) The offered card has the incredible distinction of being one of the few T206 Wagner examples to have such a short, but concrete, provenance and chain of custody. Many of the known examples have circulated within the hobby for decades and have changed hands several times. “The Oceanside Wagner” has had only two owners in its entire 106-year existence! This is a remarkable and desirable trait that few other T206 Wagners can claim. The new buyer will be only the third owner ever of this incredible card!

The Card: Graded VG 3 by PSA. This very attractive T206 Honus Wagner possesses virtually every quality highly desired by collectors. It has vibrant colors, a bright orange background, and a crisp, bold, and entirely flawless portrait. The card is well centered (very slightly to the right), and the corners show even wear, with only a single small crease present on the entire card, placed unobtrusively in the top right corner and barely breaking through to the reverse. The advertisement for Sweet Caporal Cigarettes printed on the reverse is perfectly centered and clean.

This is a particularly strong T206 Wagner that far exceeds the condition and visual appeal usually found with T206 Wagners. This is very easily seen just by looking at the card, but it is further confirmed when one evaluates the known T206 Wagner population as documented by the PSA and SGC population reports. The offered card is one of only four examples graded at this level by PSA with three additional VG examples graded by SGC. Only four examples grade higher (all by PSA): one NM-MT 8, one EX 5, one EX 5 (MC), and one VG-EX 4. By any measure, this is one of the highest-grade examples of the T206 Wagner in existence! Of the forty-six T206 Wagners listed on the combined PSA and SGC population reports (which may be a bit high as several examples have been crossed between the two companies over the years), twenty-three grade Poor or “Authentic,” one grades Fair, and eleven grade Good.

A grade of VG is exceptional for a T206 Wagner, and the visual appeal of the offered example places it at or near the top of the already exclusive company it keeps. This is a phenomenal-looking card in all respects that elicits a positive and awed response from everyone who sees it. The colors are noticeably brighter, fresher, and bolder than virtually every other T206 Wagner in existence. The image is perfect, and it shows just enough honest wear to give it character but not serve as a distraction in any way. Its provenance as an original-owner example introduced to the hobby in 2008, purchased by a collector (our consignor) at public auction, and kept in his sole possession until now, adds a nearly unparalleled documented history to this card that defines the next owner as only the third unique owner of this card in its history. Valuing Wagners is very subjective. That’s for the bidders to decide. History has shown that the T206 Wagner has always been a tremendous store of value, and has gradually climbed in price for decades, commanding ever-impressive sums in all grades. Higher-grade examples are few and far between. Whatever the auction result, whether it brings far more (as we believe it deserves to), or less, than its 2008 auction selling price, it is a great privilege and honor for us to be chosen to present this card, the finest example of the legendary T206 Wagner ever auctioned by Robert Edward Auctions, and one of the finest examples in existence of card collecting’s greatest treasure.

Reserve $100,000. Estimate (open).


First Known 1951 Topps Blue Back Display Box Surfaces - Woody Gelman Provenance!!!

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized

Below is a preview April auction catalog description for a particularly interesting item that we think collectors will enjoy seeing and reading about!


Presented is an incredibly rare and desirable original one-cent 1951 Topps Blue Backs display box. This is, in our opinion, the most significant and simply extraordinary Topps display box known to exist. It is also very likely the rarest. This is the very first 1951 Topps Blue Backs display box that we have ever seen let alone had the privilege of offering! In addition, the box is accompanied by an extremely rare original 1951 Topps wrapper.

When we received an e-mail from an extremely advanced old-time collector alerting us to expect this display box as part of his consignment to this auction, we were extremely curious and anxious for his package to arrive. We had never before seen the box that he described, but we knew from his description that it would be special. We were not disappointed! Upon unwrapping the display box, we were immediately aware of its great rarity. We had never before even seen a 1951 Topps Blue Back counter display box. And we had never even heard of a surviving example. In addition to being awestruck by its rarity and design, we were also most fascinated with an ink stamp in the upper left corner that read “File Copy Please Return To Woody Gelman.” Woody Gelman, of course, was one of the most legendary pioneers of collecting and was also the head of the art department at Topps. This box was his personal copy! The remarkable provenance, in fact, explains how this incredible box even happened to survive. Woody Gelman thought to put aside a box in 1951!

Out of curiosity, we asked our consignor if he happened to recall how he came to acquire this box. Not only did he remember, but the answer made a great deal of sense. He purchased this display box in 1985 directly from Bob Foster, a very prominent dealer from Connecticut who specialized in the rarest wrappers and boxes. In the mid 1980s, Bob acquired an extremely impressive selection of box and wrapper rarities (that no doubt included this very box) directly from the family of Woody Gelman!

The box, which measures 8.5 x 4.75 x 2.25 inches, has survived in tremendous condition, a fact that is directly related to its time as Woody Gelman’s personal file copy. The bottom of the box displays adhesive residue and small areas of excess paper from removal from Gelman’s album (where it was stored flat). The box was been reassembled and glued shut at the top opening. The colors are bright and crisp, with a green, red, and yellow color scheme around the side and top panels surrounding various baseball scenes and advertising for “Baseball Trading Card Candy.” A small sticker on the top panel advertises the “New! Blue Back Series,” a reference to the Blue Back series cards produced by Topps in 1951 that this display box once housed.

The accompanying wrapper has been flattened to dimensions of 7 x 4.75 inches and presents as Excellent, with only a few breaks in the delicate wax surface visible under close inspection. It features the same design as the top panel of the Blue Back display box and encourages youngsters to collect the full deck of 52 baseball cards. This wrapper was not designed for the Blue Back box, but was used for packaging the Topps Major League All-Stars, Connie Mack All-Stars, and Teams cards issued in the same year, which were accompanied in packs by two-card panels of red backs (blue backs were issued later and may have also been packaged in panel form inside these wrappers, but we cannot be sure). While this wrapper may or may not have housed blue backs at one time, it is an exceptionally rare and important companion piece as a Topps relic from the same year (1951).

This is a tremendously rare and significant pairing of an original display box and wax wrapper from this monumental year in Topps and card-collecting history. The box (as well as the wrapper) would be extremely significant additions to any world-class collection of display boxes, advertising, or Topps-related collectibles. Total: 2 items (one display box and one wrapper). Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).


A few illustrations from additional 1951 Topps related lots in the auction that came with the box and wrapper (but are offered separately) appear below:




REA Auction Preview: Very First Three Stooges One-Sheet Poster Coming To Auction!

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized


Half of All Three Stooges Titles 1934-1957 Are Represented in Historic Sale

Robert Edward Auctions will be offering the most extraordinary Three Stooges movie-poster collection to ever come to auction in the history of collecting in its April 25, 2015 auction. The most important highlight of the collection is what may be the only known one-sheet poster for the group’s first film for Columbia Pictures in 1934: Woman Haters. Is this the only example that exists of this historic poster? “We think it is. We can’t find another. But we can’t be positive,” says REA’s auction manager Tom D’Alonzo. “The only collectors who have even suggested to us that another exists all seemed to have one thing in common. They really want this one!” While the one-sheet from the Woman Haters is the prize of the collection, due to its enormous historical significance, many extreme rarities spanning the Stooges’ entire career are included. The offering is the final of three auctions that were required to present the collection. This is the largest selection of vintage Three Stooges posters to ever come to auction, and the best has been saved for last!

The Stooges produced 174 comedy shorts for Columbia between the years 1934 and 1956. This amazing offering features one-sheet posters for half of those films, eighty-seven different titles total, including nine rarities from the 1930s and early 1940s starring Curly: Woman Haters, Violent Is The Word for Curly, Termites of 1938, No Census No Feeling, An Ache In Every Stake, All The World’s A Stooge, Cactus Makes Perfect, Dizzy Detectives, and A Gem of a Jam. One of the most exciting lots in the auction will be the astounding collection of seventy-six different Three Stooges one-sheet movie posters, spanning the years 1947 to 1957. Incredibly, this collection of seventy-six posters features nearly every Three Stooges one-sheet poster ever issued featuring the team of Moe, Larry, and Shemp, with the exception of just three.

Lobby cards are equally represented in the sale, the most significant of which is the only known lobby card from the Stooges’ second short in 1934, Punch Drunks. In addition to its extreme rarity, the Punch Drunks lobby card comes with the special provenance of having been obtained by the consignor directly from Moe Howard’s daughter, Joan. Fifty-five different lobby cards are featured in the sale, including ten seldom-seen examples from the 1930s: Punch Drunks, Hoi Polloi, Slippery Silks, Whoops I’m An Indian (two different scene cards), Cash and Carry, The Sitters Downers, Grips, Grunts & Groans, Mutts To You, Healthy Wealthy and Dumb. This is an unprecedented offering of Three Stooges posters, all of which originate from the finest private collection of Three Stooges posters ever assembled. Online bidding starts approximately April 5th. For more information regarding the sale or to request a free catalog, please visit Robert Edward Auctions’ website at www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com or call 908-226-9900


1899-1900 Brooklyn Dodgers Financial Record Book: A Treasure Trove of Lost Dodgers History (Plus REWARD for Missing Pages 177-178!)

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized

REA April Auction Preview:

Offered here is one of the most extraordinary items we have ever handled and one that would be the cornerstone of any advanced Brooklyn Dodgers collection: the official ledger book recording all of the Brooklyn Base Ball Club’s finances from April 1899 through December 1900. We have never before seen anything comparable to this ledger, which provides a complete accounting of the team’s day-to-day financial operations at the turn of the century. Recorded in this book (in the personal hand of co-owner Charles Ebbets and another club official) are all of the club’s income and expenses during the two-year period, during which the Baseball Club won two pennants, including everything from player salaries and gate receipts to the cost of peanuts and mowing the grass.


The survival of this historic ledger book in itself is remarkable and has a fascinating story. It was literally saved from the dumpster during the dismantling of Ebbets Field following the club’s move to Los Angeles in 1959. According to our consignor, Robert Dunn of Brooklyn, a friend of his was part of the labor crew working at Ebbets Field at the time and he asked his boss if he could take home any of the items that were being thrown in the trash. His boss said he could help himself! This ledger was one of the items he thought looked interesting enough to save. A year or two later, the friend, knowing our consignor liked baseball, gave him the ledger as a gift. This was back in the early 1960s, when the ledger (and almost all baseball memorabilia) had little monetary value. But Mr. Dunn’s interest in baseball and Brooklyn history was most sincere. He was the ideal caretaker for this extraordinary volume that captures the heart and soul of the Brooklyn Dodgers during an era from which so little exists that documents the inner workings of the finances of the Brooklyn Dodgers or any other Major League franchise. This ledger book documents virtually everything!


While our consignor has been the only owner of the ledger since that time, unfortunately, it has not remained in his sole possession during this entire time. In the mid 1990s he loaned the ledger to a third party, allegedly for museum display purposes. Incredibly, the third party subsequently represented in his personal financial dealings with others that he owned the ledger book. In 1997 he used it to obtain a loan of sorts, actually “selling” the ledger book which he did not own (along with additional items, including other Dunn family personal keepsakes such as the Dunn family’s ticket stubs to the final game at Ebbets Field, saved by Mr. Dunn’s grandfather, as well as other Dodgers items which were also loaned) for $15,000, but with the right to buy the ledger and other items back for $16,000 the following year if desired (an option which was exercised). All of this was completely without the knowledge of Robert Dunn, who for years requested the return of the Brooklyn Dodgers ledger book and the rest of his material. Finally, in October of 2005, Mr. Dunn threatened to hire an attorney if the material was not returned by October 31, 2005. When the return was not forthcoming, legal counsel was retained. The ledger book and other items were finally recovered in 2006.



The drama, however, does not end there. Unbeknownst to our consignor, during that decade-long “loan” period, one leaf of the ledger book (a single sheet, representing two pages numbered 177 and 178), appears to have been removed from the album. Those two pages we believe are the Brooklyn Dodgers financial ledger pages in Ebbets’ hand that surfaced in 2000 when they were offered as Lot 1104 in Hunt Auctions’ February sale. Obviously, we have no way of knowing who won the sheet in that auction, or where it is today, but Mr. Dunn has authorized Robert Edward Auctions to offer a $1,000 reward for the return of the missing sheet to reunite it with and complete the 1899-1900 ledger book. If the sheet is returned to REA prior to the close of the auction, it will be reunited with the ledger as part of the lot. If the page should be returned after the auction, it will be sent to the winning bidder at that time.

The ledger (9.5 x 14) is comprised of 301 numbered pages. The entries end on page 181. Of those 181 recorded pages (minus pages 177 and 178), all but seven contain handwritten financial information of the club. Two years are represented: 1899 and 1900. Page 1 is blank, as are pages 64-69, which separate the years 1899 and 1900. All of the entries are neatly scripted in black fountain pen, grading “9″ on average. In general, the ledger proceeds chronologically, with income and expenditures recorded, respectively, on the left-hand and right-hand pages. Some sections of the ledger are in the personal hand of Charles Ebbets. The balance is in the hand of another club official.

This book is a treasure trove of financial information. All incoming funds and outgoing funds of the club are recorded. Included are the exact attendance records for Brooklyn’s games, with gate receipts broken down by seat prices. Also recorded are all of the concession sales, including peanuts, refreshments, and scorecards. Included on the expenditure side are both player and employee salaries ( team owner Charles Ebbets’ salary is also recorded numerous times, including in his own hand), as well as the cost for general repair and maintenance of Washington Park, equipment (balls, bats, uniforms, etc.), team stationery, newspaper advertising, a subscription to the Sporting News, and, of course, peanuts (150 pounds of peanuts cost $7.75 in 1900). In short, virtually all financial information relating to the business of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1899 and 1900, there is no doubt this volume was Charles Ebbets’ single most important document of financial records of the club. It was literally the heart and soul of the business of The Brooklyn Base Ball Club.

What is especially notable is that the ledger documents not only player salaries (which all alone is extremely fascinating, especially in light of the many great players on the club), but also provides information regarding Ebbets’ partnership with Baltimore Orioles team owner Harry Von der Horst. During this period of time owners were allowed to have financial interest in more than one club. Von der Horst invested heavily in the Brooklyn club in 1898, acquiring controlling interest at the time, and the ledger records numerous payments to both Von der Horst and the Baltimore Base Ball Club over the next two years. As a result of the merger, Von der Horst supplied Brooklyn with many of his former top players, including Hughie Jennings, Joe Kelley, Joe McGinnity, and Willie Keeler, as well as manager Ned Hanlon (Hanlon also owned shares of the Brooklyn franchise through Von der Horst). With that influx of talent, Brooklyn captured the pennant in both 1899 and 1900. Each of those future Hall of Fame players is listed numerous times in the ledger with regard to salary payments and special compensation. The ledger also records the payment of fines to the National League levied against Kelley, Keeler, and Bill Dahlen on July 13, 1899.

Additionally, the ledger records bonus payments to both John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson in September and December of 1900 (the bonus payment to McGraw is the last entry in the book). After the National League dropped the Baltimore Orioles (along with three other clubs) prior to the 1900 season, the contracts of McGraw and Robinson were assigned to Brooklyn on March 9th. The next day, their contracts, along with that of Bill Keister, were purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals. McGraw and Robinson did not want to play in St. Louis, especially since they owned a successful cafe in Baltimore called the Diamond. McGraw only agreed to report to the Cardinals after the reserve clause (which basically bound a player to one club for life) was stricken from his contract. As can be seen here, both players also received a financial bonus to play for St. Louis.

It would be impossible for us to unlock all of the secrets and historical significance of this entire large volume without investing far more time and research than is possible for us to devote. Leafing through the pages, everywhere we look, there is important otherwise lost history of the club and baseball of the era that is recorded here and nowhere else. The business of major league baseball at the turn of the century has few surviving records, let alone such complete records for a team of the stature of the Brooklyn Base Ball Club, the National League Champions of 1899 and 1900. There is no doubt that in the future this volume will be greatly appreciated as an extremely important original source document of incalculable value to historians and scholars of the game and Brooklyn baseball.

Condition: The exterior portion of the leather-bound ledger is extremely worn, displaying numerous large tears and staining. Moderate separation is evident along the spine, but the volume remains firmly bound. The pages display only minor toning and are in Excellent condition overall.

Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open).


REA Fall Auction Hits $4 Million!!! Sets Countless Records!!!

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized


Babe Ruth Rookie Sells for $84,000; Rare McKinley Card Hammers Down At $96,000, Setting Non-Sport Card Record!

Collectors turned out in full force for Robert Edward Auctions’ Fall Auction, the second such event added to the company’s calendar after many years of conducting a single blockbuster Spring Auction. An incredible 15,710 bids were placed on the 1410 different lots offered for sale, 98.5% of which sold to an impressive 576 different winners. The auction ended with total proceeds of $4,072,980.

The auction was full of extremely strong showings for hundreds of vintage, rare and high grade cards and historic memorabilia that have long been the REA trademark. “The auction was amazingly successful,” said REA President Rob Lifson. “We had a little bit of everything for sale. The interest from collectors was incredible and the amount realized was considerably more than we anticipated.”

Paced by the highest-graded example of the legendary 1932 U. S. Caramel William McKinley rarity, which hammered at $96,000, a total of seventy-one items sold for $10,000 or more. Other top-selling items included a 1916 M101-4 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card ($84,000), a 1909-1911 T206 White Border Eddie Plank ($66,000), and an extraordinary newly-discovered baseball signed by Babe Ruth ($39,000), which had been carefully saved in the same family for decades.


Babe Ruth items continued to be a strong draw, and collectors had their pick from numerous cards, autographs, and other items of the “Sultan of Swat.” In addition to the rookie card and single-signed baseball mentioned earlier, a number of other items produced impressive final figures at the end of the night. A beautiful uncut sheet of 1933 Goudey cards featuring a bold example of #181 Babe Ruth realized $36,000, while a newly-discovered 1915 Boston Red Sox real-photo postcard, depicting a young Ruth in his rookie season, sold for a record $21,600. An original 1917 news photo of Ruth attracted forty-two bids, the most of any item in the auction, and sold for $16,800. 1930s gum cards of Ruth were of special note to advanced collectors, including a 1932 U. S. Caramel PSA NM 7 ($15,600), a 1933 Goudey #149 SGC NM+ 86 ($15,600), and a highest-graded 1933 World Wide Gum #80 SGC NM+ 86 ($10,200). Other Ruth highlights included an extraordinary signed photo ($10,200), a twice-signed check ($7,200), and a signed baseball glove ($6,600).
ruthball.jpgCollectors continued to show great appreciation for the T206 White Border set, long regarded as one of the most popular sets in the hobby. In addition to the Plank rarity mentioned earlier, two large accumulations of T206s were hotly contested by bidders, with a near-complete set of 457 different realizing $27,000 and a new-to-the-hobby group of 325 different hammering down at $20,400. A near-complete PSA-graded set of Southern Leaguers realized $13,200, while a unique and striking printing error of Cy Young, discovered in an old-time collection, brought $10,200. Several rare backs were also up for bid, led by a Brown Hindu example of Mordecai Brown, which sold for forty-five times its opening bid and hammered at $9,000 and a Lenox example of Vic Willis, which realized $7,800. Common players brought big numbers too, including a Lenox example of Mickey Doolan ($7,200), an Uzit example of Doc Crandall ($5,100), and an autographed Nap Rucker ($5,100).

Other card highlights include:

• 1914 T222 Fatima Individual Players Complete Set - #1 PSA Set Registry - $39,000

• 1933 V353 World Wide Gum (Canadian Goudey) Color-Process Sheets - $30,000

• 1915 Cracker Jack #103 Joe Jackson PSA NM 7 - $27,000

• 1878 Boston Team Cabinet with George and Harry Wright - $27,000

• 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle SGC EX 60 - $22,800

• 1917 E135 Collins-McCarthy #80 Rogers Hornsby Rookie SGC EX+ 70 - $20,400

• 1909 T204 Ramly Walter Johnson PSA EX 5 - $19,200

• 1908 PC760 Rose Postcard Honus Wagner - $18,000

Non-baseball cards were also well-represented with many impressive prices turned in among cards from football, basketball, and hockey. A stunning partial set of 1961-1962 Fleer basketball cards, consisting of forty-eight cards graded Mint, was broken up and sold individually, much to the delight of collectors. Led by a sharp example of Wilt Chamberlain’s key rookie card ($10,800), the group totaled an astounding $47,280. A 1959 Topps football cello box realized $19,200. Rookie cards continued their hot streak with a PSA MINT 9 Peyton Manning rookie bringing $13,200, a 1958 Topps Jim Brown graded SGC NM/MT+ 92 sold for $4,800, and a 1962 Topps Fran Tarkenton graded SGC NM/MT+ 92 hammering at $4,200, nearly three times its book value for the grade. A beautiful 1948 Bowman George Mikan rookie graded PSA NM 7 sold for $6,600 while a 1986-1987 Fleer Michael Jordan graded BGS GEM 9.5 ended at $4,500.

Memorabilia collectors had plenty to choose from as well, and the rookie contract of Hall of Famer Ross Youngs, consigned directly by his family, was a highlight. The 1917 contract called for Youngs to earn a salary of $1,200; at the end of the auction, it hammered for an incredible thirty-two times his salary, ending at $39,000. Two championship rings were also among the highest-selling items, with a 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series ring presented to Red Patterson and a 2009 New York Yankees World Series ring presented to an executive each hammering at $30,000. A stunning Christy Mathewson check, accompanied by a letter directly from Mathewson’s wife, brought $20,400, and a 1923 Yankee Stadium opening-day ticket stub realized an incredible record-setting $19,200. A fascinating group of Dieges & Clust items, comprised of many unique items relating to the production of various rings, press pins, and awards, tallied an impressive $33,600. One of the finest collections of baseball Hartland statues to ever be assembled or auctioned was met with extremely strong bidding, selling at $15,600. One of the most unique items in the auction, a 1982 Derek Jeter Little League team-signed baseball and team photo, generated tremendous interest among both the general public and serious advanced collectors, finally ending at $14,400 once the dust settled.

Other memorabilia highlights include:

• 1934 Brooklyn Dodgers Road Uniform - $14,400

• 1931 Lefty Gomez Signed New York Yankees Contract - $10,800

• 1868 Atlantics vs Tri-Mountain Trophy Ball - $9,600

• 1869 Nebraska Otoes Trophy Bat - $9,600

• 1948 Chesterfield Advertising Display - $9,600

• 1971 Thurman Munson Game-Used Home Flannel - $9,600

• Circa 1933 Billy Hamilton Signed Album Page - $8,400

• 1949-1950 Willard Brown Signed Puerto Rican League Contract - $7,800


The second installment of the finest collection of “Three Stooges” material ever to be offered at public auction, consisting of high-end movie posters, lobby cards, and trading cards, proved again to be a tremendous hit with collectors. Ten one-sheet movie posters and more than fifty lobby cards were presented over fifty-five different lots and tallied $157,020 after the dust settled. Two one-sheet posters from 1937 short films, Playing The Ponies and Dizzy Doctors, led the category, realizing $22,800 and $18,000, respectively. A 1935 lobby card from the film Hoi Polloi also generated great interest, hammering at $10,800. On the trading card side of the collection, extremely spirited bidding drove the entire collection of ninety-six ultra high-grade 1959 Fleer cards, presented over thirty-seven different lots, to an astounding total hammer of $162,420, including individual cards of Curly ($13,300), Larry ($5,400), and Moe ($5,400).

Original nonsport artwork also was met with great collector interest as several vintage sets were well represented and turned in outstanding prices. Two original 1962 Topps “Mars Attacks” artworks presented individually sold for a combined $27,000. An assortment of fourteen 1962 Topps “Civil War News” original artworks sold for a collective $18,240, while ten 1965 Topps “Battle” original artworks totaled $14,880. A single 1934 National Chicle “Skybirds” artwork realized a record $5,100.

Modern cards also earned tremendous respect in this auction, with a collection of 133 different cards produced between 1996 and 2004 realizing a staggering $79,020. Led by a collection of rare 1996 Donruss Signature Series cards, highlighted by Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken, which sold for $27,000, the collection showed that there is great demand in this area of the market. Other top sales included $20,400 for a collection of sixteen 1999 Upper Deck Piece of History game-used bat cards, $10,800 for three limited-edition Ted Williams insert cards, and $4,500 for twenty-two 1996 Leaf Signature Series cards.

REA is now accepting consignments for its next auction, set for the spring of 2015. To inquire about consignments, learn more about Robert Edward Auctions, view all auction results, register for future auctions, or receive a complimentary copy of one of their past catalogs, visit www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com. For further information, contact Robert Edward Auctions, PO Box 7256, Watchung, NJ 07069, or call (908) 226-9900.

REA Blockbuster Fall Auction Mails September 26!!!!

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized


Astounding array of items includes 1916 Babe Ruth Rookie, five 1952 Topps Mickey Mantles, Nineteenth-Century Baseball Rarities and More!

(Watchung, NJ) - Collectors around the world have long looked to Robert Edward Auctions for the finest sports cards and memorabilia the hobby has to offer. With a reputation as the most trusted auction house in the hobby, Robert Edward Auctions has been able to bring to market countless items discovered among passed-down family possessions or originating from the most advanced collections, resulting in nearly $100 million in sales during the past decade. Beginning October 1, the company will offer more than 1300 lots in their highly-anticipated fall catalog auction, the second such event added to their calendar, which previously consisted of only a spring sale. The auction closing date is October 18.

With material spanning from the 1860s to the present day, the auction is highlighted by an extraordinary selection of cards, featuring all the biggest names in the game: Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, and Honus Wagner, among others. Ruth’s 1916 Sporting News rookie card graded SGC EX+ 70 leads the offerings, followed by a stunning PSA NM 7 1915 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson, and a striking PSA VG-EX+ 4.5 example of the legendary 1909-1911 T206 Eddie Plank rarity. One of the most iconic trading cards ever produced, the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is featured in a variety of different conditions for collectors to consider, including two beautiful high-grade examples. One of the rarest cards presented in the auction does not even picture an athlete, instead originating from a 1932 set issued by the U.S. Caramel Company, dedicated to U.S. Presidents and featuring William McKinley. This newly-discovered example, which is thought to be one of less than ten in existence, is graded EX 60 by SGC and has the prestige of being the highest-graded example of this extreme rarity ever recorded.

Several other newly-discovered items also promise to draw spirited interest, including two nineteenth century cabinet cards held in the same family for decades, depicting the 1878 Boston Red Stockings (with George and Harry Wright) and the 1879 Chicago White Stockings (with Cap Anson), a 1915 postcard featuring Babe Ruth as a young pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and an exceptional 1908 Rose Company Postcard of Honus Wagner, which highlights two dozen fresh-to-market examples from this iconic set.

Other impressive highlights include:

  • 1888 N173 Old Judge Cabinet Collection Including Rare Brown and Red Mount Examples
  • 1909-1911 T206 White Border Partial and Near-Complete Sets Plus Two Magie Errors, Signed Cards, Rare Backs, and Fascinating Printing Anomalies
  • Completely graded sets of E91 American Caramel, E93 Standard Caramel, and E95 Philadelphia Caramel
  • 1910 E93 Standard Caramel Christy Mathewson PSA NM-MT 8
  • 1911 T3 Turkey Red Near-Complete Set
  • 1914 T222 Fatima Individual Players Complete Set: #1 PSA Set Registry
  • 1914 B18 Blankets “Red Infield” Ty Cobb, Baker, Demmitt, and Moriarty
  • 1933 R319 Goudey Uncut Sheet with Five Hall of Famers Including #181 Babe Ruth
  • 1933 V353 World Wide Gum (Canadian Goudey) Color Process Proof Sheets (8 sheets)
  • 1933 R331 National Chicle Football Complete Graded Set with Nagurski Rookie
  • 1959 Fleer “Three Stooges” Complete Set: #11 PSA Set Registry
  • 1959 Fleer “Three Stooges” Individual Cards Including 21 PSA GEM MINT 10s, PSA MINT 9 Larry and Moe, and PSA NM-MT+ 8.5 Curly
  • 1961-1962 Fleer Basketball PSA MINT 9 Partial Set Break
  • 1962 Topps “Civil War News” Original Artwork Collection
  • 1965 Topps “Battle” Original Artwork Collection
  • Complete baseball set collections, including 1933 and 1934 Goudey, 1948 to 1955 Bowman, and 1952 to 1980 Topps
  • Complete football set collections, including 1930s Wheaties, 1948 to 1955 Bowman, 1964 to 1967 Philadelphia, and 1955 to 1969 Topps

Memorabilia collectors will also find a superb offering of items. Autograph highlights include an extraordinary newly-discovered circa 1940 Babe Ruth single-signed baseball and a stunning 1922 Christy Mathewson check graded MINT 9 by PSA/DNA that was long ago a gift from Christy Mathewson’s wife and is accompanied by a letter directly from Mrs. Mathewson! Numerous championship rings and awards will be up for bid, highlighted by an original 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series ring in its original presentation box - issued to key executive Red Patterson, the club’s public relations director and the man who officially announced that the Dodgers were moving from Brooklyn! Also included in the auction are 1998 and 2009 New York Yankees World Series rings and a 2001 New York Yankees American League Championship pendant. A tremendous Dieges & Clust archive, which includes original artwork and dies for the various press pins and championship awards produced by the company, will be offered in twenty-eight different lots. The “crown jewel” of the collection is the original artwork for the 1927 New York Yankees World Series Ring, one of the most revered rings in all of collecting. A number of items consigned directly from the family of Hall of Famer Ross Youngs will be featured in the auction, highlighted by his original 1917 rookie contract. Several uniforms and jerseys will also appear, including the earliest-known Thurman Munson flannel, a 1971 New York Yankees home jersey, as well as an extremely rare complete 1934 Brooklyn Dodgers uniform, originating directly from the family of a former player.

The sale of the finest collection of “Three Stooges” movie posters and lobby cards to ever come to auction continues with Part Two of three installments, comprised of fifty-five lobby cards presented in forty-four lots, plus ten one-sheet movie posters. The lobby cards are highlighted by seven remarkably rare cards from the 1930s, including examples from 1935’s Horse Collars and Hoi Polloi. Among the ten one-sheet posters, all from extremely desirable early titles featuring Curly, are two extraordinary 1930s examples: Dizzy Doctors and Playing The Ponies, both of which were produced in 1937. An exceptional array of additional movie memorabilia will also be offered, including posters from The Day the Earth Stood Still, Godzilla, and Window Cleaners, one of the earliest appearances of Disney’s Donald Duck character, as well as lobby cards from The War of the Worlds and Psycho.

Other impressive highlights include:

  • 1863 Abraham Lincoln Signed Military Commission
  • 1868 Atlantics vs. Tri-Mountain Trophy Ball
  • 1870 Rockford Forest City’s Team Composite with Albert Spalding
  • 1885 Cincinnati Red Stockings Large-Format Team Cabinet with Bid McPhee
  • 1887 Detroit Wolverines Imperial Cabinet Photograph
  • 1889 Baltimore BBC National League Membership Application - Nicholas Young Estate
  • 1916 Chicago American Giants Panoramic Photo Including Rube Foster, “Pop” Lloyd, and Pete Hill
  • 1923 Yankee Stadium Opening-Day Ticket Stub with Date Printed on Stub
  • 1948 Chesterfield Advertising Display - Unrestored Newly Discovered Example
  • 1958-1963 Hartland Statues Complete Set In Original Boxes with Original Tags!
  • 1959-1963 Hartland Football Statues Partial Set (17) Plus 4 Boxes
  • Finest Known 1967 Official George Mikan ABA Basketball
  • 1975 John Lennon and Paul McCartney Dual-Signed MacLen Music Check
  • The Tonight Show Clock from Johnny Carson’s Final Show!
  • 2007 and 2008 Derek Jeter Pro-Model Bats
  • Collection of Limited-Edition LeRoy Neiman Serigraphs

“The response to our inaugural fall auction was tremendous, and the response from sellers to the assembly of our second fall auction really confirmed to us that there’s just an enormous demand for the services we provide, far greater than can be satisfied by just one auction per year,” said REA President Robert Lifson. “An essential ingredient that makes our auctions so special is the enormous amount of work that is invested in each auction. That will never change. Whether we have one, two, or someday three auctions per year, the one thing we can promise is that every auction will be extremely carefully assembled and a special event. This auction is no exception, and it has an incredible number of outstanding items.”

Lifson stressed that the company encourages anyone interested in receiving a catalog to contact Robert Edward Auctions by e-mail to receive one free of charge. “You don’t have to bid to receive a catalog. It is our great pleasure to send them out, for free, to anyone who is interested in the types of items we offer. We’re very much looking forward to collectors getting the catalog in their hands. Sending out catalogs is one of the ways we promote interest in the hobby and collecting, as well as in our auctions. So many collectors today tell us they got their start learning about the hobby through REA catalogs. That’s a great feeling, even if it’s starting to make me feel old!”

Catalogs for the auction begin mailing September 26, and bidding begins October 1. The final day for bidding will be Saturday, October 18. For a free catalog and to register for the auction, visit www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com. The company is already working on assembling their blockbuster spring auction, slated for April 2015, and is accepting consignments through the end of the year. To inquire about selling your items in one of the hobby’s most anticipated events, call 908-226-9900 or visit www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com.

Baseball Card and Memorabilia Records Set in $8.5 Million Dollar REA Auction!!!

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized

Mickey Mantle Jersey Hammered Down at $201,450;

Carlton Fisk Home Run Ball Sells for $142,200;

Countless Baseball Card Auction Records Set At REA!!!


Watchung, New Jersey.  Collectors of high-end baseball cards and memorabilia were glued to Robert Edward Auctions as prices soared to astounding levels across the board during the record-setting April 26, 2014 auction. An incredible 147 lots sold for $10,000 or more. Nine lots eclipsed the $100,000 mark. The total sales of $8.52 Million defined this sale as one of the largest and most successful baseball auctions in collecting history. A never-before-offered 1874 Boston Red Stockings Cigar poster featuring George Wright sold for $189,600. This set a new world record for a baseball-related advertising poster, and even more significantly, this result also represented a record price for any kind of American advertising poster ever. A 1968 Mickey Mantle jersey, originating from the personal collection of a Yankees batboy and purchased in 1985 as a personal keepsake of his favorite player for the then-princely sum of $5,000 (and, fortunately, kept safely all these years), stunned the owner with its final realized price of $201,450. Carlton Fisk’s iconic home run ball from Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, accompanied by a letter of provenance from Cincinnati Reds outfielder George Foster, drew national media attention and sold for $142,200. An outstanding 1916 Babe Ruth rookie card in EX-MT condition (reserve $25,000) was hammered down at $142,200. A newly-discovered example of 1887 N172 Old Judge tobacco card of Hall of Famer Deacon White, with his portrait on the card misidentified as “McGreachery,” was one of the most exciting 19th century card finds in recent years. One of only two examples known, the legendary Old Judge “McGreachery” rarity (res. $10,000) soared to an astounding $130,350. This auction result set a new record for any Old Judge tobacco card ever sold privately or at auction. The list of extraordinary record-setting prices seems almost endless. REA president Robert Lifson comments, “These results speak for themselves: about the quality of the material offered, about the appreciation of the collecting world for how REA presents items and conducts auctions, about the well-deserved trust collectors have in REA, and about the strength of the market.”


T206 Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb Back from Historic 1997 Find: One of only thirteen examples known of the legendary T206 Ty Cobb with “Ty Cobb Tobacco” advertising reverse (res. $25,000) was consigned by the original collector who purchased it at Robert Edward Auctions in 1997. In that historic auction seventeen years ago, a then newly-discovered find of five T206 Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb back examples (approximately doubling the known population at the time) were offered at the same time. In 1997 this card sold for $22,224. In Robert Edward Auctions’ 2014 Spring Sale, it realized an astounding record $154,050. “All T206 Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb advertising back cards are rare and special, and all have gone up in value considerably since 1997,” notes REA president Robert Lifson. “This particular card not only had a special provenance, but there was definitely a consensus that this card was undergraded. It may have technically graded a modest PSA 1, but it was just a very strong card, far better looking than suggested by the grade. It had everything going for it. There was an overwhelming amount of interest.”


1909 T204 Ramly Tobacco Card Collection: The finest collection of 1909 T204 Ramly Tobacco cards to ever come to auction included a total of 183 cards presented in 101 lots. “This was an unprecedented Ramly collection,” according to REA vintage card expert Dean Faragi, “both in terms of quantity and quality.” The collector who assembled the Ramlys did so in the early days of the organized hobby, when condition was just starting to have a significant impact on value. “He constantly upgraded his set. When he found a high grade Ramly, even if he didn’t need it, he bought it. His philosophy was ‘You can never have too much of a good thing.’” That philosophy certainly paid off. The Ramly collection realized an astounding total of $297,790. The highest graded T204 Walter Johnson (res. $10,000; est. open) in the collection, a remarkable card graded MINT, which was once a part of the collection of legendary hobby pioneer Frank Nagy, all alone sold for $59,250.


More $100,000+ Highlights: A 1909-1911 T206 “White Border” Near-Complete Set that included 518 of the 524 cards in the set (res. $25,000; est. $50,000+) sold for an extremely impressive $100,725. The 1889 Brooklyn Base Ball Club Application for Membership in the National League was one of the most hotly contested lots in the auction. REA memorabilia expert Tom D’Alonzo picked the Brooklyn Application as perhaps the most historically significant item in the auction. “This was a true treasure. It is the single most important document that could possibly exist relating to the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. This application literally represents the birth of the Brooklyn National League franchise.”   Long ago originating directly from the family of former National League president Nicholas Young, it was purchased by the consignor for $27,500 in the mid-1990s and has been the centerpiece of his advanced Brooklyn Dodgers collection for the past two decades. As far as value: Times have changed! “There’s no putting a value on an item as important as this. There’s no right number. But the final selling price didn’t surprise me at all,” comments REA’s Tom D’Alonzo. In this auction, the first and only time the Brooklyn National League Membership Application has ever been available for public sale, it was hammered down at $165,900. D’Alonzo’s summarizing comment on the result: “Really, it’s priceless.”


Record Prices For Classics: A Babe Ruth-Lou Gehrig dual-signed baseball (graded NM-MT 8 by PSA) was hammered down for an extraordinary $82,950, a record price in this grade for this classic. A Lou Gehrig single-signed ball with remarkable provenance (including a VHS tape, produced in 1998, that features the original owner describing how he obtained it in 1935) sold for an exceptional $32,587. REA president Robert Lifson notes: “With memorabilia, time and time again, we see how well-documented provenance plays a role in delivering strong prices. It’s not always possible to have this kind of provenance, but when it’s there, it’s impossible not to notice how collectors respond.” A stunning 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card graded EX-MT was the most hotly contested postwar card in the auction. The SMR value in the assigned grade was $23,500. It was hammered down for $41,475, by far setting a new world record for the grade and rewriting the price guides for one of card collecting’s most iconic cards. Vintage card expert Brian Dwyer notes: “The market for the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie has long been on an upswing. That’s a given. But this was a particularly strong and attractive example. Even in the description we mentioned that we felt this might be the best “EX-MT” 1952 Topps Mantle in the Universe.” REA president Robert Lifson adds, “We see a continuing trend where collectors are recognizing that sometimes the technical grades don’t tell the whole story. This goes both ways. But when we can point out that an important card like this ‘52 Mantle really is special for the grade and deserves a significant premium, collectors look more closely, usually agree, and bid accordingly. This card deserved to sell for a record price.”


1914 Cracker Jack Cobb and T206 Eddie Plank: A 1914 Cracker Jack of Ty Cobb graded NM-MT+ 8.5 (res. $15,000; est. $50,000++) was on the radar of dozens of bidders, especially those that missed out on it when this iconic condition rarity was last sold at REA in 2012. A favorite of collectors and by far the finest example REA has ever seen, the last time this gem sold it realized $88,875. In this auction, it sold for a well-deserved new record $106,650. REA vintage card expert Dean Faragi, who picked this as his favorite card in the auction, comments, “When we first sold this card, I was floored by it. In 2012, no one knew how to even value it. There is no SMR value for a 1914 Cracker Jack in NM-MT+ 8.5 condition. The highest listed price is for a PSA 8. When we offered it again in this auction, I wasn’t surprised at all to see it sell for more. It’s unlikely we will ever see a 1914 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb to compare to this beauty.” An example of legendary T206 rarity Eddie Plank graded EX 5 by PSA sold for $88,875, setting a new record for this card which last sold for $85,236. The list of extraordinary record-setting prices seems almost endless. REA president Robert Lifson comments, “These results speak for themselves: about the quality of the material offered, about the appreciation of the collecting world for how REA presents items and conducts auctions, about the well-deserved trust collectors have in REA, and about the strength of the market”.


The Pulse of The Market: Collectors, dealers, and market watchers look to REA’s annual spring event as the key barometer of the health of the market and the most important auction event of the year. According to REA president Robert Lifson, “The market was extremely strong across the board. The auction results were staggering and exceeded our highest expectations. Most important, they exceeded our consignors’ expectations. The great prices are the result of many factors including, of course, being given the very best material in the world to offer, taking great care in cataloguing all material, having the largest circulation, extensive research and authentication, the well-deserved confidence of buyers, and an emphasis on the integrity of the auction process. Altogether, it’s a very powerful combination. The bidders appreciate what we do. And this naturally attracts consignments.” By any measure, this was one of the most successful auctions in the history of collecting. “It was also the smoothest running auction in all respects, including collecting the money. As always at Robert Edward Auctions, there were no delays in collecting money and getting it into the hands of consignors. That’s another extremely strong area for REA. In fact, this year over half the consignors had their checks in the mail within one week. Even I’m not sure how we did that. But we did.” All consignors were paid in full, 100 cents on the dollar with no adjustments due to nonpaying bidders, and in record time. “That’s the standard we strive for and achieve at REA when it comes to paying consignors. Perfection. Consignors really appreciate getting paid quickly and they really appreciate getting paid 100 cents on the dollar.”


REA Statistics: The stunning prices on all nineteenth and early twentieth century baseball cards and memorabilia totaled a staggering $8.52 million. The 1866 lots, offered on behalf of 230 different consignors, were won by an incredible 649 different bidders, illustrating the power of the marketing and auction process, and the breadth of bidder interest. Successful bidders included some of the nation’s most prestigious museums, universities, and corporate institutional collections, as well as representatives from numerous Major League teams. An incredible 24,231 bids were placed. “All areas of the auction received a tremendous response and very strong prices. Nineteenth-century baseball items were unbelievable, as always, as were all early baseball cards, advertising and display pieces, graded cards, Babe Ruth items, autographs, memorabilia, non-sport cards and artwork.” Thousands of bidders from all over the world participated. The average lot realized more than double the high-end estimate. An incredible 99% of the lots sold.


Nineteenth-Century Baseball Card Rarities: One of the most fascinating new discoveries ever offered by REA was an 1869 Forest City Base Ball Club Imperial Cabinet Photograph featuring Hall of Famer Al Spalding as a player (res. $5,000; est. open). Originating from the collection of Cleveland News sports columnist and pioneer collector Charles W. Mears, the photo was consigned directly from the Mears family and realized an astounding $47,400. A collection of three circa 1870 team cards, each with advertising for Peck & Snyder Sporting Goods, were another exciting find included in the auction. The three cards, which included one featuring the 1869 Cincinnati Reds, famous as the first professional baseball team, were recently discovered in a 19th century photo album at an estate sale in Ohio. The three cards were each trimmed, but their great rarity made them extremely desirable to pre-1900 baseball collectors. The three cards together sold for $45,030, providing a once-in-a-lifetime payoff and far exceeding the expectations of the seller. Interestingly, the trio was paced not by the 1869 Cincinnati Reds team card (res. $1,000; est. open), which sold for $10,665, but by the 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics (res. $5,000; est. open) which is far rarer, one of only three or four examples known, which sold for $29,625. An exceedingly rare 1887 Four Base Hits George Van Haltren (res. $5,000; est. $10,000++) realized an extraordinary $47,400, and an 1893 Just So Tobacco card of C. L. Childs graded EX-MT by PSA sold for $32,587, a record auction price for any card from this rare set ever.


Vintage Card Prices STRONG At REA: REA is first and foremost a baseball card auction, so it is not surprising that the big money, as usual, was in the cards:  An uncut sheet of 1933 Goudey Gum cards with three Babe Ruths and a Lou Gehrig (res. $25,000; est. open), one of only several examples known, sold for an impressive $98,800. A second 1933 Goudey uncut sheet (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+) featuring the classic green background #181 Babe Ruth card was hammered down at $35,550. The auction featured two extremely rare 1913 Boston Garter advertising cards, Ed Walsh and Frank Chance (reserve of $5,000 each), which sold for $22,515 and $41,475 respectively.  A 1933 R319 Goudey #106 Napoleon Lajoie PSA NM 7 (res. $10,000; est. $25,000+) realized an extremely healthy $41,475, representing a new auction record for the grade. A very attractive example of the 1909-1911 T206 White Border Sherry Magie error card rarity (res. $5,000; est. $10,000+) in VG+ condition realized $17,775. A rare 1909 E92 Croft’s Candy Ty Cobb card (res. $1,000; est. $2,000+) realized $14,220. A near-complete collection of 1911 M116 Sporting Life cards presented in fourteen different lots realized a combined $57,654. A stunning 1948 Bowman Stan Musial PSA MINT 9 rookie card (res. $5,000, est. $10,000+) nearly doubled the existing auction record for a MINT example, selling for an extraordinary $32,588. Collectors competed fiercely for a breathtaking 1914 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb SGC EX/NM 80 (res. $2,500, est. $5,000/$10,000+), raising the bidding until it stopped at $26,663, a new auction record and almost exactly double the previous highest-recorded sale for the card in the same grade.


Additional Vintage Card Highlights:  The All-Time Finest Ernie Banks PSA Collection was presented individually in separate lots. The 19 cards spanning Banks’ entire Major League career totaled $104,931, paced by an astounding $44,438 for the 1954 Topps rookie card of “Mr. Cub” in PSA 9 MINT condition, a record price for the grade. Thirteen PSA MINT 9 Mickey Mantle cards, spanning the years 1953 to 1969, were each offered individually and sold for a collective $111,153. A newly-discovered collection of 156 T206 White Borders (res. $2,000, est. open), still affixed to their original album pages, sold for an impressive $35,550. A near-complete set of 1909-1911 E90-1 American Caramel cards (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+), saved for decades by the consignor (who ironically was not a card collector but fortunately took great care with the cards since buying them as collectibles in his youth), drew very spirited bidding and ended at $22,515. The Joe Jackson rookie card from the same set (res. $2,000; est. open), a beautiful card encapsulated as “Authentic” by PSA, realized a very healthy $21,330. A near-complete master set of 1949 Bowman baseball cards (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+) sold for an impressive $20,145. More recent sets also sold extremely well. An exceptionally crisp complete set of 1963 Topps baseball cards (res. $2,500; est. $5,000++) hammered down at $26,663. The same collection yielded complete sets of 1964 Topps (res. $500; est. $1,000/$2,000+), which sold for $11,850, 1965 Topps (res. $500; est. $1,000/$2,000+), which sold for $16,590, and 1966 Topps (res. $800; est. $1,500/$2,500), which sold for $14,220, all incredibly impressive prices for complete, ungraded sets. Uncut sheets of vintage cards were extremely well received among buyers throughout the auction, with numerous record-setting prices achieved. A 132-card sheet from the 1959 Topps baseball series sold for $10,073, approximately fifty times the modest opening bid of $200. A 132-card sheet of 1967 Topps baseball (res. $500; est. $1,000+) hammered down at $7,703. A 110-card sheet from the 1956 Topps baseball series (res. $2,500; est. $5,000++) realized $23,700.


T206 Drum Checklist Addition Discovery: A previously unknown T206 card of Wid Conroy featuring a very rare Drum advertising reverse (res. $500; est. open), which was discovered by REA in an old-time collection, sold for $16,590. “This was a particularly exciting card for us in the auction,” notes REA president Robert Lifson, “because when it was given to us, it was presented as just a $75 or $100 T206 card of a common player in VG-EX condition. It was part of a near-set assembled decades ago, long before collecting rare T206 backs became popular. We always check the backs for rarities and this gem just happened to be there.” The discovery of any T206 Drum back is noteworthy, but this was a particularly special find as this front-back T206 combination had not been previously confirmed. It was a new checklist addition. “The consignor didn’t understand the significance when we told them. But they understand now!”


Unopened Material: Vintage unopened packs and boxes is a specialty at REA and as always delivered strong prices across the board. A 1963 Topps football wax box with twenty-four unopened packs (res. $2,500; est. $5,000/$10,000) sold for an astounding $32,587. A 1959 Topps football cello box (res. $2,500; est. $5,000/$10,000) set a new auction record, hammering down at $21,330. A 1971 Topps football second-series wax box (res. $2,500; est. $5,000) far exceeded expectations and when the bubble-gum dust finally settled, closed at a remarkable $17,775. A rarely-seen 1959 Fleer Ted Williams unopened wax box with 24 packs (res. $2,500; est. $5,000/$10,000) sold for $17,775. The only known unopened wax pack of 1962 Topps “Mars Attacks” trading cards (res. $1,000; est. open), one of the signature pieces from the Fred Walstrom “Mars Attacks” Collection, sold for $11,850. Tobacco collectors were equally as enthusiastic about an extraordinary unopened pack of 1911 Piedmont Cigarettes (res. $500; est. open). This pack - the first REA had even seen which could possibly contain a T206 card - was riveting to T206 and pack collectors alike, who competed until it hammered down at $8,887. A single 1952 Bowman baseball wax pack (res. $800; est. $1,500/$2,500) realized an amazing $5,628. Not a bad return for a nickel! A newly-discovered 1973 Topps football cello box (res. $500; est. $1,000+) was also hotly contested and realized $7,110. Five additional early 1970s football wax and cello boxes from the same collection were enormously appealing to collectors and sold for a combined $16,116. Unopened 1975 Topps Mini cello boxes continue to be on the rise, and the crisp box offered in this auction (res. $500; est. $1,000/$2,000) realized $3,258. 

Additional Auction Highlights:


Autographs: REA’s spring auction featured one of the finest selections of signed baseballs in recent memory with many significant rarities. A 1934 Tour of Japan team-signed baseball with Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, and Berg (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+) sold for $21,330. A 1949 Mel Ott & Carl Hubbell Dual-Signed Baseball graded NM+ 7.5 by PSA/DNA (res. $1,000; est. open), of special note to “500 Home Run Club” collectors as the ball could be displayed as a Mel Ott “single” (true Mel Ott single signed balls are particularly rare), sold for an impressive $13,035. An incredible multi-signed baseball, signed by sixteen Hall of Famers, including Ruth, Cobb, Wagner, and Johnson, hammered down at $29,625, more than ten times the modest opening bid of $2,500 (representing the seller’s original cost some twenty years ago). A beautiful single-signed Jimmie Foxx baseball (res. $1,000; est. open), graded EX-MT 6 by PSA/DNA, sold for $17,775. A fascinating collection of autographed baseballs, consigned by the family of the original owner, who attended many significant games and then had players sign game-used baseballs, was presented in twenty-three different lots and sold for a collective $77,795, paced by an incredible 1937 All-Star Game baseball (res. $1,000; est. open), which sold for $10,072, and a stunning single-signed Ty Cobb baseball (res. $500; est. $1,000/$2,000), which realized $9,480. Canceled checks have always been highly prized among autograph collectors due to the inherent authenticity they provide for the signatures. This auction featured a particularly extraordinary Christy Mathewson check (res. $2,500; est. $10,000+) that was all the more special because it was accompanied by a letter from Mrs. Christy Mathewson, who personally sent the check as a gift to the consignor’s husband in 1955. This special provenance further distinguished it as one of the best, if not the finest, and most interesting Mathewson check in existence, and collectors took special note. The Mathewson check sold for an astounding $21,330, setting a new record for any Mathewson check to ever appear at auction.


Player Contracts: Player contracts have long been a specialty at REA. Collectors again showed their tremendous interest in this popular area of collecting, responding with record-setting prices. An extraordinary 1914 Ed Walsh Chicago White Sox Contract (res. $2,000; est. open) with a letter of provenance directly from the Veeck family sold for a remarkable $50,362. A 1930 Lefty Grove Philadelphia Athletics Contract (res. $2,000; est. open) realized $47,400. Roy Campanella’s final contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers dating from 1958, signed just weeks before his career ending car accident, was hammered down at $32,587. Signed contracts for ten Hall of Famers, each presented individually, realized a combined $187,170.


Game-Used Jerseys and Bats: Collectors are often driven towards memorabilia issued to specific players and REA’s selection of game-used jerseys and pro-model bats was especially well-received by bidders. A 1924 jersey of Chicago Cubs pitcher Vic Aldridge (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+) was offered that was recently discovered, in of all places, in a house on Catalina Island, off the coast of California. While that might seem like a most unlikely place to find a 1920s Cubs jersey, research reveals that the island was owned by William Wrigley Jr., owner of the Cubs, and for years he made the island the team’s spring-training headquarters to help promote tourism. We don’t know if this really helped tourism, but it helped the gentleman who found this jersey. It sold for $10,072. An outstanding 1919-1922 “Shoeless Joe” Jackson “Black Betsy” Pro-Model Bat graded GU 8 by PSA/DNA and A10 by MEARS, which sold for $48,809 when previously offered at auction elsewhere in 2004, was hammered down at $65,175. An extraordinary 1958-1960 Mickey Mantle signed bat that was obtained in 1958 as the top raffle prize at a father-and-son school dinner sold for a lot more than anyone imagined when it was given away as a prize over 50 years ago. In 2014, this prize sold for $22,515. An exceptional signed Roberto Clemente bat (res. $2,500) that was presented to the consignor as a personal gift by the Pirates star in the stands during the middle of a game, sold for $10,072. Jackie Robinson was another magic name represented in the auction. His game-used jerseys sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars when offered, which is rare. This auction did not have a Jackie Robinson jersey, but did, however, feature a pair of Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers game-used pants! Dating from his final season of 1956, the pants (res. $5,000) were a more affordable alternative to a jersey. But “affordable” is relative when talking about Jackie Robinson. Amid feverish bidding, they still set the buyer back $26,625.


More Memorabilia Highlights: An extraordinary 1915 Boston Red Sox World Champions Panoramic Photo with Babe Ruth was described as perhaps the most impressive panorama ever offered by Robert Edward Auctions. Collectors obviously agreed. With a reserve of $10,000, it was finally hammered down at $50,362, a record for any panorama photo ever sold at REA. Bob Shawkey’s 1913 Philadelphia Athletics World Championship Pocket Watch (res. $2,500; est. open) realized $18,960. Watches such as these were very popular for teams to award to players in the days before World Series rings became the norm. From more modern times, the auction featured two exceptional World Championship rings. Billy Herman’s 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring (res. $5,000; est. open) awarded to him as a coach was a special highlight. This particular ring was once part of the famed Barry Halper Collection, originating directly from Billy Herman’s wife and accompanied by letters of authenticity from both Barry Halper and Mrs. Herman. After spirited bidding, the ring hammered down at $38,512. A 1999 New York Yankees World Series ring, issued to a high-ranking minor-league staff employee is naturally valuable as a Yankees World Series ring but also due to the its substantial materials (48.29 Grams, 119 Diamonds). With a reserve of $5,000, this modern classic sold for an impressive $29,625. A ticket in the shape of a light bulb from Johnny Vander Meer’s second no-hitter, the first night game in Dodgers history, carried a reserve of $500 and sold for $2,666. A rare Official Negro American League Baseball in Original Box (res. $500; est. open) sold for a record $5,628. It took more than peanuts to land the 1913 Barnum & Bailey “Famous Elephant Base-Ball Team” Circus Poster (res. $1,000; est. $2,000+). This classic poster, featuring elephants playing the National Game, has long been a favorite among both baseball and circus collectors, and realized a record $8,295. A ticket and program to the 1923 Opening Game at Yankee Stadium, saved by the consignor’s father (who actually attended the game!), carried a reserve of $2,500. The souvenirs to the christening of “The House That Ruth Built” realized a staggering $26,662. Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees for only $125,000!


1934-1956 “Three Stooges” Poster Collection: The first installment of the finest and most advanced collection of original “Three Stooges” movie posters and lobby cards to ever come to auction was a huge hit with collectors. All “Three Stooges” movie posters and lobby cards are extremely rare and have long been recognized as “blue chips” by advanced collectors in the movie poster world as well as among “Three Stooges” collectors. The offering of just a few lobby cards and posters is a rare collecting event. This auction, the first of four installments representing the entire collection, featured 37 lots selling for a total of $144,807. The six one-sheet posters alone sold for $83,246, paced by an amazing record $56,287 for the extremely desirable and early 1935 Uncivil Warriors poster. Forty-one “Three Stooges” lobby cards sold for a total of $61,560, highlighted by $9,480 for a 1934 Men In Black lobby card (res. $2,000). Interesting note: this lobby card had the amazing provenance of having originated years ago directly from Moe Howard’s daughter. Collectors are anxiously awaiting the future installments of this unprecedented once-in-a-lifetime collection. There were only 174 short films in total made by The Three Stooges between 1934 and 1956. This collection has advertising one-sheets and lobby cards representing 115 of them, including the one-sheet for The Three Stooges’ very first short, 1934’s The Woman Hater’s Club, which will hit the auction block in the near future.


Non-Sports Cards (1886-1976): While REA is primarily known for baseball cards and memorabilia, non-sport cards and card artwork from all eras have always been an important area of focus. In this auction, non-sport collectors were treated to the only known example of one of non-sport’s legendary rarities, the R72 Schutter-Johnson “Strong Man” (res. $1,000; est. open). The card, which had been kept in a private collection for more than three decades, sold for an appropriately “strong” $22,515. A rarely-seen complete set of 1950s Exhibits “Slick Chicks” (res. $200; est. open) sold for a staggering $10,665. The second-highest graded “Mars Attacks” set listed on the PSA Set Registry sold for an incredible $68,433 for all fifty-five cards. Several other rare “Mars Attacks” items from the same collection, including display boxes, wrappers, and production material totaled $32,469.  Original card artwork was also incredibly well-received by collectors, and numerous auction records were set in the process. A 1950 Bowman “Wild Man” artwork, purchased at another auction recently for $1,200, sold for an eye-popping $4,740. A pair of 1938 Gum, Inc. “Horrors of War” artworks purchased in the same auction for a combined $1,285, realized a superb $4,147. Six original “Mars Attacks” artworks, each offered individually, tallied a combined $46,511. A collection of nineteen 1950 Topps “Freedom’s War” original artworks (res. $2,000, est. open) realized $9,480. Ten different 1962 Topps “Civil War News” original artworks, each offered individually, sold for a collective $22,929, while ten different 1965 Topps “Battle” original artworks offered as their own lots realized a combined $15,997. Perhaps most amazing, forty different ultra high-grade 1959 Fleer “Three Stooges” cards sold for an astonishing combined total of $97,110.


Many other auction records were shattered for pre-1948 baseball cards, nineteenth-century baseball cards and memorabilia, non-sport cards, and Americana. Further information and complete auction results are available online at www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com

Copies of the 694-page full-color premium catalog are also still available free of charge. Go to www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com, click “Free Catalog,” and fill in your name and address. Robert Edward Auctions is currently assembling its next sale. For further information contact: Robert Edward Auctions, PO Box 7256, Watchung, NJ or call (908)-226-9900.


Robert Edward Auctions, LLC is one of the world’s leading specialty auction houses, devoted exclusively to the sale of rare baseball cards, memorabilia, and Americana.


1919-1922 “Shoeless Joe” Jackson “Black Betsy” Pro-Model Bat - PSA/DNA GU 8 and MEARS A10: Additional Information Including Past Auction Sale History

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized

One of the best bats we have ever had the privilege of offering, and one of our favorite items in the entire auction, is the 1919-1922 “Shoeless Joe” Jackson “Black Betsy” Pro-Model Bat (authenticated and graded A10 by MEARS and GU 8 by PSA/DNA respectively). Was this very bat actually used by Joe Jackson in the 1919 World Series?  It’s possible, but we’ll never know for sure. But we have come up with some great additional information regarding its past sale history, and for those interested, we have posted this, along with additional information, here:

Past Auction Sale History: 

This bat has previously been sold at auction. It was purchased by our consignor at a Vintage Authentics auction in 2004 for $48,809 (Hammer price of $42,443 + 15% buyers premium). We did not have the precise past auction history information until now (our consignor just found his original invoice and has provided it to us) so we post a copy of this invoice below. (Please note: there are two bats listed on this invoice as both were purchased at the same time. The bat we are offering, of course, is the second one listed as “Joe Jackson GU Bat”):


Note: The original SCD Authentic LOA that accompanied the bat when purchased from Vintage Authentics in 2004 has now also been posted online. (The previously posted MEARS and PSA/DNA letters did not accompany the bat in 2004, and were obtained when the bat was submitted by the consignor for authentication to these companies in more recent years.)   

Past Private Sale Offering: 

We have been asked if this bat is the very same bat that was on display (and advertised to be on display) at the MEARS booth at the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention and offered for sale for in excess of $100,000. It is the very same bat! 

Additional Extremely Informative Letter From John Taube PSA/DNA: