It’s Raining Kalamazoos!!!

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized

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Well, a find of three cards is maybe not exactly “raining Kalamazoos,” but these New York player Kalamazoo Bats cards are so rare that a new find of just three cards really is a big deal!  These cards were found in upstate New York where (probably not coincidently) a few other New York Kalamazoo Bats cards have surfaced over the years, including the example of Hall of Famer John Ward that sold for $141,000 at REA in 2008, setting a record price for any nineteenth-century baseball card ever sold at auction that stands to this day. (link:

If anyone out there has any of these 1887 Kalamazoo Bats of New York players, and have any interest in selling, please call or write!

(You never know, sometimes a simple post like this will shake some of these rarities “out of the trees” or help someone out there that has one or more find us. It’s happened before!)

The three New York player Kalamazoo Bats cards pictured above (all Mets players) finally arrived in our office just last week. We have known about them and have been hoping to get them since October of last year! One of the reasons for the delay was that the consignor of this find wanted to know what we thought his cards would sell for, and we had to tell him we really didn’t know. All we could do was show him past auction results and explain that we’ve seen a lot of volatility in prices over the years for these Kalamazoos. Since 2004 we’ve seen common New York players sell for as low as $7,475 (on a Mays example at REA in 2004) to $49,937.50 (in 2007 at REA for a Richardson that may be the single finest high-grade NY Kalamazoo example of any player in existence) to an unbelievable $82,000 (an apparent aberration) for an example of a common player (Donahue) elsewhere in 2009. 

Obviously, many factors are involved in how selling prices come to be and it only takes two bidders (or one, depending on exactly how the auction works or if there is a reserve) to send any card to any level in any auction. Condition plays a role in valuing all cards and collectibles, and Hall of Famers naturally sell for a premium, but in the case of Kalamazoo Bats New York players, even though all are very rare, the precise rarity of a non-star player can play a very big role. A “more common” New York player in the Kalamazoo Bats set may have fewer than ten examples known to exist!This is still a rare and valuable card but might be  considered relatively common (compared to the even more modest number of cards known of other players in the set) among advanced Kalamazoo Bats collectors, and be valued at far less than another player with just one or two examples known. It’s always exciting for us to offer Kalamazoo Bats. And even the most “common” New York Kalamazoo Bats card is at least ten times rarer than a T206 Wagner! They are among the most majestic and one of the great classics of all of nineteenth-century baseball cards. For most cards, but especially for Kalamazoo Bats, whether a given card is worth $X or $Y, that is something we can’t predict, and can only be answered by collectors at auction. The three examples pictured above will appear in REA’s spring auction. Each has a minimum bid of $5,000.

Robert Edward Auctions is still accepting consignments for the spring auction!

To inquire about consignments, or to request a complimentary catalog, please visit  

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