Historic Sales at Heritage: Ruth Rookie and Jordan Cards Lead Record-Breaking Auction

In a recent Winter Sports Card Auction hosted by Heritage Auctions, collectors witnessed a historic sale that left enthusiasts in awe. The star of the event was a prized Babe Ruth rookie card, graded 5.5 by SGC and featuring a blank back from the 1916 M101-5 series. With only seven other examples known within SGC’s records, this particular card fetched a staggering sale price of $630,000.

The entire auction recorded an exceptional result, accumulating a total of over $11.1 million in sales. Seven items, including the buyer’s premium, exceeded the $100,000 mark, solidifying the significance of the event. Notably, a Gem Mint PSA 10 graded 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card achieved the highest sale price for a graded copy in Gem Mint condition since September 2021.

One of the highlights of the auction was a collection of vintage, still-sealed boxes, with the standout being a 1965 Topps Baseball wax box. This coveted item, containing cards from the second, third, and fourth series, originated from the collection of Adolph “Herky” Rupp Jr., the descendant of the renowned Kentucky basketball coach, Adolph Rupp. After being authenticated by BBCE, the box was sold for an impressive $336,000. Rupp Jr.’s collection also included a PSA 8 graded 1953 Topps Willie Mays card, which commanded a price of $186,000.

In addition to the remarkable boxes from Rupp Jr.’s collection, the auction featured several unopened boxes that had recently emerged from a newfound collection acquired at the end of the previous year. These boxes garnered immense attention from collectors, resulting in extraordinary sales. A 1970 Topps Baseball 6th series cello box set a new record with a sale price of $105,000, a 1968 Topps Football 1st series 36-pack cello box reached $99,000, and a 1973 Topps Baseball 3rd series 500-count vending box was acquired for $18,600. The initial offerings from this collection, linked to a former Topps employee, achieved a total of $284,455, with expectations of even higher sales in the future.

The auction also showcased nearly two dozen vintage autographed cards amassed by Mike Greenbaum during their original time of sale. One of the standout items was a 1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson card, graded 1.5 with an impressive autograph grade of 8, which secured the highest bid at $117,000. A similarly graded signed Roy Campanella card from the same set fetched $69,000.

Individual card sales contributed to the success of the auction as well. A T206 Ty Cobb Green portrait, graded PSA 6 and featuring a Piedmont advertising back, sold for $105,000. A 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle card, graded PSA 9, reached an impressive price of $80,533. Furthermore, a 1962 Topps Manager’s Dream card, showcasing both Mantle and Mays, sold for $75,000.

Complete sets were also highly sought after during the auction. The highest-rated set of 1909-1912 Colgan’s chips discs sold for $54,000, displaying the enduring appeal of vintage collectibles. The 16th ranked 1969-70 Topps Basketball set achieved a price of $93,000, while an all-PSA 8 graded 1952 Bowman baseball set was acquired for $84,000, further illustrating the diverse and valuable selections available at the auction.

Heritage Auctions’ Winter Sports Card Auction was undoubtedly a monumental event, breaking records and captivating collectors with its unique offerings. From the rare Babe Ruth rookie card to the iconic Michael Jordan rookie card, the auction showcased the enduring allure of sports memorabilia and the passion of collectors who eagerly seek out these prized items.


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