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

Over the weekend, Heritage Auctions’ Winter Sports Card Auction made history with an extraordinary sale that included the premiere SGC graded 1916 M101-5 blank back Babe Ruth rookie card. This highly sought-after card reached an astonishing sale price of $630,000. With a rating of 5.5 by SGC, this card is incredibly rare, with only seven other known examples recorded by SGC. The auction itself was nothing short of monumental, accumulating a grand total of over $11.1 million in sales. Among the remarkable treasures sold, seven items each garnered over $100,000, including the buyer’s premium. Of particular note, a 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card, impeccably graded PSA 10, achieved the highest sale price for a Gem Mint PSA graded copy since September 2021.

The auction also featured an impressive collection of vintage, still-sealed boxes, with one highlight being a 1965 Topps Baseball wax box containing cards from the second, third, and fourth series. This particular box, originating from the esteemed collection of Adolph “Herky” Rupp Jr., was sold for an impressive sum of $336,000, following authentication by BBCE. Rupp Jr., the descendant of the renowned Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp, also had a 1953 Topps Willie Mays card graded PSA 8, which commanded a price of $186,000.

Furthermore, the auction showcased several unopened boxes from a newly discovered collection, which had been acquired towards the end of the previous year. Among these, a 1970 Topps Baseball 6th series cello box made waves by setting a record-breaking sale price of $105,000. Additionally, a 1968 Topps Football 1st series 36-pack cello box established a new benchmark at $99,000, while a 1973 Topps Baseball 3rd series 500-count vending box was sold for $18,600. The initial offerings from this collection, associated with a former Topps employee, fetched a total of $284,455, with expectations of reaching the seven-figure mark as more items are sold in the upcoming months.

In addition to the impressive array of cards and boxes, the auction also featured nearly two dozen vintage autographed cards, painstakingly curated by Mike Greenbaum. Of these, a standout was the 1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson card, graded 1.5 with an autograph grade of 8, which commanded a remarkable $117,000. Similarly, a signed Roy Campanella card from the same set, also graded similarly, fetched $69,000.

Notable individual card sales included a T206 Ty Cobb Green portrait, graded PSA 6 and featuring a Piedmont advertising back, which sold for an impressive $105,000. A 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle card, graded PSA 9, reached $80,533, while a 1962 Topps Manager’s Dream card, showcasing both Mantle and Mays, sold for $75,000.

Complete sets were also a highlight of the auction, with the highest-rated set of 1909-1912 Colgan’s chips discs fetching an impressive $54,000. The 16th ranked 1969-70 Topps Basketball set garnered $93,000, while an all-PSA 8 1952 Bowman baseball set was acquired for $84,000, showcasing the auction’s diverse and valuable selections.

The Winter Sports Card Auction at Heritage Auctions was an extraordinary event that set records and captivated collectors worldwide. The sale of the Babe Ruth rookie card and the Michael Jordan rookie card, among other valuable items, solidified this auction’s place in history as a truly remarkable event in the world of sports card collecting.


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