If you sold rare vintage baseball cards and memorabilia in 2016, your timing was impeccable. While the speculative feeding frenzy for baseball cards has showed signs of abating in recent months, which I will address in future posts, it was a very good year over all. Two of the items set all-time auction records. The “Laws of Baseball” won top baseball document honors, while the Jumbo Honus Wagner became the world’s most valuable baseball cards.
On one end of baseball evolution is the supremely talented Mike Trout, and on the other is a couple of pieces of paper from 1857 under lock and key at an auction house in Laguna Niguel. The handwritten “Laws of Base Ball” documents just sold at auction to an anonymous buyer for $3,263,246, prompting SCP Auctions Vice President Dan Imler to predict that baseball will never be the same. That’s a pretty good return on investment for an initial purchase of $12,000. But more on the transaction in a bit.
SCP Auctions’ 2016 Spring Premier online auction started last week and runs through Saturday, April 23, at www.scpauctions.com. The Don Drysdale Estate Collection, led by the late Hall of Famer’s 1962 Cy Young award and 1963 and ’65 Dodgers World Series championship rings, leads the way in this blockbuster auction that includes 1,310 outstanding lots. Other top lots include an impeccably preserved 1956 Sandy Koufax game-worn Brooklyn Dodgers home jersey; a 1936 Winter Olympics gold medal presented to Great Britain hockey goalie Jimmy Foster; a full, PSA-graded ticket run from Super Bowl 1 through 50; and the historic 1989 agreement banning Pete Rose from baseball for life, signed by both Rose and late MLB Commissioner Bart Giamatti.
The Don Drysdale Personal Memorabilia Collection
Drysdale’s most prominent awards and game-worn uniforms are up for bid including his 1963 and ’65 World Series championship rings; 1956 National League championship ring; 1962 MLB Cy Young Award; a host of game-worn Dodger uniforms from his playing days in both Brooklyn (1956, rookie season) as well as Los Angeles (1965, ‘66 and ’69); and the actual game-used baseball from the final inning pitched of his then-MLB record streak of throwing 58-and-two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball in 1968. This is perhaps the most comprehensive player collection that SCP Auctions has ever offered and covers Drysdale’s high school playing days in southern California to his minor league stints with the Bakersfield Indians and Montreal Royals to his major league successes with both the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. Early estimates price the collection at $1,000,000+.
The 1857 ‘Laws of Base Ball’ Documents
Authored in 1857 by Daniel Lucius “Doc” Adams, President of the New York Knickerbockers, the “Laws of Base Ball” is perhaps the most important baseball document in existence as it laid the foundation for the game of baseball to blossom into America’s National Pastime. Adams “Laws” were drafted for presentation at the Base Ball Convention of 1857, an event referred to by historians as “…perhaps the most important meeting in the history of baseball…” At the most critical stage of the game’s early development, Adams’ “Laws of Base Ball” set forth a codified blueprint to govern match play. Up until now, the existence of Adams’ original draft and the handwritten transcription presented at the Base Ball Convention of 1857 has been largely unknown. Early estimates price the ‘Laws of Base Ball’ at $1,000,000+.
Sandy Koufax’s 1956 Game-Worn Brooklyn Dodgers Home Jersey
One of the most historically significant Brooklyn Dodger jerseys ever offered, the 1956 home flannel was worn by Koufax at the dawn of his career. This remarkable, museum-quality treasure is the hobby’s only fully authenticated, original, unaltered home jersey worn by Koufax in the hallowed confines of Ebbets Field. An example of his 1955 Brooklyn road jersey recently sold at auction for $573,600. Classic Dodger Blue felt script adorns the front with Koufax’s legendary No. 32 on the back. Just as vivid is the red felt numbers on the jersey front. The jersey shows ideal game use with some light unobtrusive areas of soiling on the back tail and a vintage replacement of a single button has been administered. All things considered, the jersey ranks among the finest baseball garments of its era. Includes Letter of Authenticity from MEARS (Graded A9). Early estimates price the jersey at $400,000+.
Historic 1989 Agreement between Major League Baseball and Pete Rose Banning Rose for Life
On August 23, 1989, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti handed down one of the most publicized and scrutinized lifetime bans in baseball history. That was the day the late Commissioner cemented the agreement and resolution that banned Peter Edward Rose – better known as “Pete Rose” – from Major League Baseball. Offered here is the five-page, type-written “Agreement and Resolution” that was signed by the following parties abiding by this ruling: Peter Edward Rose; A. Bartlett Giamatti, Commissioner of Baseball; Reuven J. Katz, Esq., Rose’s counsel; and Fay Vincent Jr., MLB Deputy Commissioner. Estimate: $150,000+.
1967-2016 Super Bowl I through 50 Full Ticket Run – Highest Rated PSA Set Ever Offered
SCP Auctions is humbled to present the “Holy Grail” of ticket collections, a complete run of Super Bowl I though 50 full unused tickets with the highest overall PSA grade point average ever for a set offered publically. ‘SCP Auctions Super Bowl Basic’ is currently ranked #2 on the PSA registry among complete sets with a weighted GPA of 22.576 (pending SB 50 grade). Estimate: $100,000+.
1949 Hollywood Gold Cup Won by Solidarity – 63.1 Ounces of Solid 14K Gold
The Hollywood Gold Cup is a Grade 1 stakes race for thoroughbred horses that debuted in 1938 at the Hollywood Park Racetrack in Inglewood, California. The ’49 race is remembered not only for the unheralded horse that won the event, but for Ralph Neves, the remarkable jockey that rode him to victory that day. As it turns out, Solidarity’s winning time that day (2:01.2) tied the course record set two years earlier by none other than “Seabiscuit.” The beautifully designed, oval-shaped cup, which measures 13.5 wide, 4.5″ high and eight inches deep, is actually made of solid 14K gold and weighs an astounding 1,560 grams or 63 ounces! Estimate: $50,000+.
Bidding is open to registered bidders only and concludes on Saturday, April 23. The auction will be conducted online at www.scpauctions.com. For more information on how to participate, call (949) 831-3700. -Terry Melia