There was quite the prize inside Heritage Auctions
two-day Winter Sports Card Catalog Auction: a 1914 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb card that sold for $516,000. Thats the highest price ever paid for a Georgia Peach found inside a box filled with caramel-coated peanuts and popcorn.
That was but one card out of a single collectors 144-piece Cracker Jack collection that sold for a combined record-setting $1.38 million and anchored Heritages near-sellout Winter Sports Card Catalog Auction, which closed early Saturday morning and realized a total of $12,591,161. Thousands of bidders worldwide competed for vintage and modern offerings, among them one of the highest-graded complete Cracker Jack sets on PSAs registry.
Here, too, was collector Stephen Parthums No. 1 Card assemblage, so called because he bought the very first and very last card from each set in which he was interested sports, initially, then from old TV shows and movies given their own card releases. And his collection brought one of the weekends biggest delights.
The 1969 Topps Wilt Chamberlain No. 1 is a fantastic card for myriad reasons, chief among them it marked Topps return to basketball cards after a 12-year break; Parthums card, a PSA Mint 9, is one of the four highest-graded examples in the world. Appropriately, it entered the auction with a $40,000 estimate. But by the time it entered extended bidding it was already a record-setter, and when it finally closed, Chamberlain scored a breathtaking $276,000.
Only six years ago, a Chamberlain 69 with the same grade sold for $9,560.
Chamberlains rookie card, a 1961 Fleer graded PSA Mint 9, also smashed its estimate in this auction, as the stunning example sold for $348,000 proof again that Goliaths best cards, like the man himself, possess an extraordinary vertical jump at the moment. Only last summer, a Wilt rookie in the same grade sold at Heritage for $288,000.
Another rookie hit one out of the park last weekend: Mickey Mantle, whose 1951 Bowman debut graded PSA NM-MT 8 sold for $504,000. Not far behind was a 1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie graded PSA Mint 9, which realized $384,000.
In all, 14 cards sold for six figures in the Winter Sports Card Catalog Auction including two of the finest cards from the 1914 Cracker Jack collection.
The Christy Mathewson, graded PSA EX 5, is one of only two to achieve such a high number, and PSA has seen but one higher. The New York Giants hurler saw his card cross the plate for a record-setting $312,000. And the 1914 Cracker Jack card featuring Shoeless Joe Jackson, graded PSA EX 5, sold for $240,000, another new record for the set. The PSA EX 5 Walter Johnson from the same set sold for $84,000. Thats a big number for the Big Train and another new Cracker Jack record, which does not surprise Heritage Sports co-founder and president Chris Ivy.
Not only are these cards beautiful and significant in their own right, but they were far rarer than their 1915 counterparts, Ivy says. And its just mind-blowing that these cards survived in this condition for a day, much less more than a century, considering they were pulled from boxes by kids with sticky caramel-coated fingers.
And it wasnt just century-old offerings that fared exceptionally well in the auction.
One of the hobbys most popular modern cards sold for $84,000: a 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady Rookie Ticket Autograph graded BGS NM-MT+ 8.5, with the signature graded Auto 10. Maybe he retired this weekend; maybe not. But this card will always be a player.
And a one-of-one 1971 Topps Bert Blyleven rookie in a GEM MT PSA 10 sold for $138,000, which is newsworthy enough as this is one of those impossible-to-find gem-mints Topps from 71 considering those black borders. What makes it even more exceptional is the fact this very example of the curve-ballers card sold less than a year ago for $55,200.