Rare Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth Cards Shine at Heritage Auction

In the recent Heritage Spring Sports Card Auction, collectors and sports memorabilia enthusiasts witnessed the spectacle of rare and coveted items going under the hammer. Leading the charge was a T206 Ty Cobb card, featuring a distinctive tobacco advertisement back, capturing a winning bid of $432,000. The allure of this card lies not only in its association with the iconic baseball player but also in its rarity, with only around 25 known to exist in the world.

The T206 Ty Cobb card’s uniqueness extends to its back, boldly declaring “King of the Smoking Tobacco World,” setting it apart from the standard cards in the series. Its glossy finish adds to its desirability, reflecting its origins in a bygone era when tobacco products were commonly associated with baseball trading cards.

Another star of the auction was a sought-after M101-5 Sporting News Blank Back Babe Ruth rookie card, fetching an impressive $348,000. This card, graded PSA 4, stood out among the lineup of valuable items, highlighting the enduring popularity and value of vintage sports memorabilia in the collecting community.

Among the notable sales were a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card, securing a price of $204,000, and a 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card, commanding $210,000. The auction’s success was further underscored by the participation of over 2,450 bidders from around the globe, culminating in total sales exceeding $10 million.

A standout moment came with the sale of one of the three PSA 10 graded 1969 Topps Nolan Ryan rookie cards, which realized $180,000, showcasing the continued demand for high-quality and rare sports cards. Chris Ivy, Heritage’s Director of Sports Auctions, highlighted the auction’s diverse appeal, appealing to both serious collectors and those seeking investment opportunities in the market.

The auction also featured a signed 1951 Bowman Willie Mays rookie card, a prized item with only 31 known signed copies in existence, selling for an impressive $126,000. The event showcased not only trading cards but also unopened materials, with a 1967 Topps Football cello box and a 1970 Topps baseball (Mixed Series) cello box each fetching $81,000. Additionally, a Jackie Robinson UCLA football debut ticket stub exceeded expectations, selling for $22,800.

A remarkable highlight was the discovery of eight 1914 Lawrence Semon issue postcards, including a Ty Cobb card, which turned a modest $400 investment into a substantial return of $50,370, highlighting the potential for extraordinary finds in the vintage card market.

For those eager to delve deeper into the results of the auction and explore more about these fascinating pieces of sports history and memorabilia, Heritage Auctions provides comprehensive insights and information on their website. Whether as a collector, investor, or enthusiast, the Heritage Auctions platform offers a gateway to the thrilling world of rare sports cards and memorabilia.


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