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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

REA Historic April Auction: Baseball Card And Memorabilia Treasures 1845-1975

Collecting World’s Most Anticipated Auction May Be Best Ever

The T206 Wagner and the 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth Rookie Card are the two most valuable baseball cards in the world. Both are included in REA’s highly anticipated spring auction. But the incredible thing is that is just the beginning. “This is an unbelievable auction,” says REA president Robert Lifson. “We always try to tone down expectations and over deliver, but really, there’s just no other way for us to describe the material assembled for this auction. It’s incredible. There are so many highlights; I don’t even know where to begin. The collectors with the really historically significant items to sell, and noncollectors with extremely important new discoveries, they have gone out of their way to wait for our auction to sell. We take this as a great compliment and an honor. All our auctions are special, and that’s our number one goal always, but as this one has come together, we are amazed. We’re an all-consignment auction. We are really at the mercy of what turns up and becomes available from consignors. This fact makes how this sale came together even more incredible. This may be our best auction ever.”

The Robert Edward Auctions catalogs will ship on April 9, 2008. The first copy off the presses will be presented to The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, for their library, as is the long-standing tradition. The other 10,000 650-page catalogs will be sent to collectors all over the world who have anxiously been waiting all year for the annual sale by Robert Edward Auctions, the collecting world’s most exciting and highly-anticipated auction. Inside the auction catalog will be hundreds of items worthy of Cooperstown, many of which will ultimately find their way into the most prestigious collections in the world, both private and public. The final date of bidding is May 3. Bidding starts April 12 by Fax, phone, or the Internet via the Robert Edward’s site. The total sales for the event are expected to exceed $5-million.

Coming to the block will be over 1,600 lots of baseball collectibles covering the entire history of the game. The newly-discovered T206 Honus Wagner is one of the great card collecting finds in the auction. This card was the highlight of the recently discovered “Beckett T206” find. All 546 cards have been graded by Beckett Grading Services and the entire collection will be offered in the auction. The Wagner and the entire collection are an amazing find, but the story behind their discovery is also amazing. These cards were saved by the owner’s grandfather and were stored in the attic for decades. The family was in need of money and actually rediscovered the cards in December 2007 when searching the house for things to sell! Throughout all these years, no one in the family had given the cards any thought, especially with reference to value, and they remained all but forgotten. After submitting the cards for authentication and grading, feedback from Beckett Grading Services immediately made the family very aware of the great significance and value of the find. It’s not every day that an authentic T206 Wagner is discovered. The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, requested Beckett Select Auctions’ assistance in selling the collection at auction. Robert Edward Auctions was chosen by Beckett Select and the consignor to present the T206 Wagner and the entire “Beckett T206” find in this REA auction. The Wagner is a low-grade example but a T206 Wagner is extremely valuable in any condition. It has a minimum bid of $50,000 and is expected to sell for in excess of $100,000.

The 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth Rookie Card, Graded VG 40 by SGC, is also a newly-discovered rarity. Many consider this card to be the single most important and miraculous baseball card in the world. The 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card features Ruth as an unknown minor league rookie straight out of Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. Only eleven 1914 Baltimore Ruths are known to date, including the one owned by the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore. This newly-discovered card was saved as a keepsake by a non-collecting family in Baltimore. The last 1914 Baltimore News Ruth card offered to the collecting world at auction was graded PSA 2 GD and sold for $200,000 at Robert Edward Auctions in 2007. The reserve is an extremely modest $10,000, but this card is expected to sell for a record price.

Nineteenth-century baseball items of great historical significance have always been a special area of interest for REA. This auction has some of the most remarkable items in this important area to ever come to auction. The most extraordinary of these is the finest known example of the preeminent baseball advertising poster of the nineteenth century: the “Anson-Ewing Beer Poster.” The Anson-Ewing poster is one of the most legendary icons in both the historic baseball and classic American advertising poster collecting worlds. The glorious multicolor stone lithograph poster was issued in 1889 in promotion of Guinness Brewery’s “Finest Pale Ale” and “Extra Foreign Stout,” both of which were sold under the company’s “E. & J. Burke” label. This 1889 advertising poster represents the first documented paid endorsement of a product of any kind by baseball players. “We have always hoped to someday have the opportunity to present an example of this poster at auction,” commented REA president Robert Lifson, “ but had no idea it would take 37 years of waiting.” It was worth the wait. When this was submitted for? auction, there was also an added bonus. “There was no question that we had found our catalog cover piece. A cover piece doesn’t get any better than this.” The spectacular example is by far the finest in existence of the “Anson-Ewing Beer Poster,” considered by many to be the single most beautiful baseball advertising poster ever created, and one of the most magnificent and important of all American advertising posters. The reserve is $50,000, and while the estimate is open, it is expected to set a record price for any baseball or American advertising poster.

Additional major nineteenth-century items in the auction include: the recently discovered 1862 New York Knickerbockers Reunion Team Photograph, which pictures an All-Star team of the key members of the team who played from 1845-1850. The Knickerbockers are universally regarded as the most important and first former organized baseball club with documented rules. For some of these important and first formal organized baseball club with documented rules. For some of these important early baseball pioneers, this is the only photographic image known. This is one of the most important baseball photographs in existence, and one of only three photographs known that can lay claim in any way to being a team photo of the Knickerbockers. The photograph was discovered in the former home of Walter T. Avery, one of the original Knickerbockers who is in the photo, and who played in the very first baseball game on June 19, 1846, at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken. (reserve $10,000). REA is also offering the finest silver trophy baseball to ever come to auction: In the early days of the game, silver trophy balls were the ultimate prize that a club could win. This is one of the most important nineteenth-century baseball items to ever surface, and is also an exciting new discovery. This 1865 Silver Trophy Ball was presented to the legendary Boss Tweed, owner of the very prominent Mutual Base Ball Club, in honor of their victory over the Active Base Ball Club on September 21, 1865. Today, silver trophy balls are virtually nonexistent. Even the Baseball Hall of Fame does not have a silver trophy ball dating from the 1860’s. This is an extraordinary relic dating from the earliest days of the national pastime, just months after the Civil War had ended. (estimate $10,000+; reserve $5,000).

This auction has the finest and greatest selection of Babe Ruth memorabilia presented by Robert Edward Auctions since the Barry Halper Collection. (REA oversaw the sale of the legendary Halper Collection in 1999, which realized over $26 million.) Included is one of the finest Ruth bats in the universe. This 1921 H&B model is the only documented Babe Ruth bat known that can actually be placed directly in Babe Ruth’s hands with certainty by virtue of sidewriting. It is graded a perfect “A10” by MEARS and also graded a perfect “GU10” by PSA/DNA (reserve $25,000).

The newly-discovered 1933 R306 Butter Cream Confectionery of Babe Ruth is another extraordinary highlight item in the sale. This is a card that virtually no one has ever even seen. It is so rare that even the image of this card has never appeared in a guide or ever appeared in a auction catalog. One of card collecting’s most interesting and legendary rarities, it is believed that only one other example exists (reserve $10,000). The R306 Ruth is expected to sell for many times this modest reserve, though it is so rare it is impossible for REA to provide a meaningful estimate.

The auction includes an extraordinary array of rare nineteenth-century baseball cards including examples issued by Kalamazoo Bats, Yum-Yum Tobacco, as well as many rare nineteenth-century baseball cabinet cards; Cracker Jack baseball cards issued in 1914 and 1915; literally thousands of 1910-era baseball tobacco cards, one the largest selections to ever be offered at auction; 1887 Old Judge baseball cards issued by Goodwin and Company; complete Topps and Bowman sets from virtually every year including two complete sets of 1952 Topps with the rare high-numbers.

Also included is a remarkable selection of PSA-graded complete sets of the card collecting world’s most classic issues: The highlight of these is one of the finest T206 White Border sets ever assembled, ninth highest-graded T206 set on the PSA registry, a total of 520 cards with a grade point average of 5.11, offered as a single lot, including twenty-eight PSA NM 7, 163 PSA EX-MT 6, 239 PSA EX 5, eighty-two PSA VG-EX 4. (estimate $100,000 plus, reserve $50,000). The auction also includes complete PSA-graded sets of both the 1914 and 1915 E145 Cracker Jacks. The 1914 E145 Cracker Jack #144 Series, in particular, is an extremely rare set. This is the only completely PSA-graded set ever assembled and registered let alone presented at auction (estimate $20,000 to $40,000 plus, reserve $10,000).

The presentation of the Peter Maczak Collection is yet another exceptionally strong highlight offering of the auction. The collection is presented in thirty-nine extremely high-quality lots, including an extraordinary 1939 Lou Gehrig Handwritten Letter Discussing His Illness (reserve $10,000) and the finest 1927 New York Yankees Team-Signed Ball the REA has ever offered (estimate $10,000 to $20,000, reserve $5,000). The Maszak Collection is remarkable for the level of quality throughout and is presented in a special section in the catalog.

Many highlights have been listed above, but there is much more. The auction includes countless important new discoveries and extraordinary rarities in all areas and from all eras, including: an extraordinary selection pre-1900 baseball cards and memorabilia; display pieces; original art; rare pinbacks; autographs; graded cards; tobacco cards; caramel cards; regionals; 1930’s gum cards; bats, uniforms, and other equipment, in addition to cards of note from all eras.

The finest complete set of Mayo’s Cut Plug Tobacco cards to ever be assembled will be offered individually. Issued over a two-year period from 1894 to 1895, Mayo’s Cut Plug Tobacco cards are one of the nineteenth-century’s most significant issues. It is by far the finest graded set ever assembled. Of the forty-eight cards in the set, twenty-five of them are the highest-ever graded examples. The average grade for all cards in the set exceeds Excellent. Another highly significant group of rare cards offered are sixty-six different E107 1903 Breisch-Williams cards, the largest selection of these rarities to ever be presented at auction individually.

An extraordinary selection of important baseball uniforms, one of the finest ever offered, is presented including: 1972 Hank Aaron Atlantic Braves Signed Game-Used Home Jersey, one of the finest Aaron jerseys in existence and graded A9 by MARS (estimate $10,000 plus).

The auction also presents one of the finest selections of game-used bats to ever come to auction, including three Babe Ruth bats, four incredible Stan Musial bats all from the same collection (three from the 1950’s and one a special model for the 1960 All-Star Game), Roberto Clemente, Frank Robinson, Willie McCovey, Al Kaline, Bob Gibson, Yogi Berra, Pie Traynor, Al Simmons, Hack Wilson, Mel Ott, Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays, Richie Ashburn, Rogers Hornsby, Duke Snider, Honus Wagner Pro-Model Coaches Bat (Wagner Family Provenance!), Jimmie Foxx, Goose Goslin, and Sam Crawford. Dozens of additional pro-model bats are featured, including a circa 1887 “Detroit” Baseball Bat (from the estate of 19th-century star Deacon White) that is the earliest known factory-stamped major league bat know to exist (reserve $2,500).

Autographed memorabilia is another extremely strong area. In fact, this auction includes the most comprehensive selection of Hall of Fame autographs Robert Edward Auctions has ever offered. One historic highlight is one of the most significant Negro League items in existence: Josh Gibson’s 1932 Homestead Grays playing contract, signed by both Gibson and team owner Cum Posey Junior (reserve $5,000, estimate open). Gibson broke this very contract and left the Grays to join the Pittsburgh Crawfords early in 1932 when Crawfords owner (and top numbers racketeer) Gus Greenlee raided the Grays roster, signing both Josh Gibson and Oscar Charleston for more money.

Additional significant historic memorabilia of all types is included: 1912 Boston Garter Advertising Display Sign with Eddie Collins and Hal Chase (estimate $10,000 to $15,000); a very important newly-discovered circa 1914 Chicago Americans Giants Panoramic Photo including Rube Foster, “Pop” Lloyd, and Pete Hill (estimate $5,000, reserve $2,500); a new find of thirty-four 1898 Cameo Pepsin Gum baseball pins which was recently discovered in a New Jersey family estate, including Cap Anson, Connie Mack, and seven new checklist additions; and what may be the very finest 1894 Zimmer’s Base Ball Game known to exist, a recent and remarkable new discovery to the collecting world that made it into the auction at the last minute (estimate $10,000 to $20,000).

Sports other than baseball are also represented by a significant selection of extremely high quality items, including Michael Jordan 1984-1985 Chicago Bulls Game-Used Rookie Home Uniform (graded MEARS A10, reserve $10,000).

One of the most important non-baseball sport items is a 1960’s Muhammad Ali eighteen-page handwritten draft for his autobiography regarding his conversion to Islam, that may be the single most important Ali manuscript in private hands (reserve $10,000). Another tremendous item with significant cross-collecting appeal is the original painting by master illustrator Bernie Fuchs of Arnold Palmer that appeared on the cover of the June 15, 1964 issue of Sports Illustrated (estimate $5,000+ reserved $2,500).

The auction also includes a selection of very high quality Pop Culture and Americana related items. In addition to thousands of nonsport cards dating from the 1880’s to the 1960’s, the Americana section is highlighted by Woody Guthrie’s Signed Annotated Copy of Forty Thousand Quotations, with over five-hundred pages of notes by Guthrie detailing his thoughts on all subjects and used as a primary tool in his song writing over a period of many years, and perhaps the most significant Woody Guthrie item that could possibly exist (reserve $10,000); a 1964 signed Beatles program (estimate $5,000+); and an original Superman cape actually worn by George Reeves in the 1950’s television program “The Adventures of Superman” (estimate $10,000+).

Copies of the 650-page full-color premium catalog (shipping April 9) are available free. To review the catalog on-line, to learn more about Robert Edward Auctions, or to receive a complimentary copy of the catalog, or to inquire about consignments, visit Robert Edward Auctions is currently assembling their next sale. For further information contact: Robert Edward Auctions, PO Box 7256, Watchung, NJ or call (908) 226-9900.

For over 30 years Robert Edward Auctions has specialized in all areas of historic baseball collectibles, as well as other sport, non-sport, and Americana collectibles including political and campaign memorabilia, autographs and manuscripts, and original illustration art. Robert Edward Auctions has been responsible for many of the most important baseball memorabilia sales including overseeing the sale of the $26-million Barry Halper baseball collection, universally recognized as the best and largest in the world; the legendary “Gretzky-McNail” T206 Honus Wagner card, $1.3-million; the uniform Yankee legend Lou Gehrig was wearing in 1939 when he gave his famous farewell speech, saying “Today, I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” $306,000; and the 1854 Knickerbocker Trophy baseball, now on permanent exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York, at a then-record $72,000.