Historic Cards Auctioned Off At The National In Baltimore
By Ray Schulte, Schulte Sports Marketing & Public Relations
Nearly 40,000 sports fans and collectors converged on the Baltimore Convention Center Aug. 1-5 to see some of the greatest displays of sports and entertainment memorabilia in the world at the 33rd-annual National Sports Collectors Convention.
The much-publicized "Black Swamp Find" of 1910 E98 baseball trading cards was displayed for the first time to the public. A family from Defiance, Ohio, recently awarded Dallas-based Heritage Auctions consignment of 700 pristine vintage baseball cards, referred to as the "find in the attic." In conjunction with the National Sports Collectors Convention, Heritage Auctions conducted Platinum Night at Camden Yards on Aug. 2. Heritage auctioned the finest-known Honus Wagner E98 card (Gem Mint 10), $239,000; the best near "Set of 30" ever found, $286,800; and a color variations set, $40,332. In all, the combined totals were $566,132. These were just a few cards from the find that went to auction. Given the total number of cards, it will take Heritage a couple of years to completely auction/sell the entire find.
It is estimated that all the cards will generate approximately $3 million, which will be divided equally among 20 family members. It is worth noting that Baltimore hosted the first public viewing of this historic sports card find, which is the last time anyone will have the opportunity to view the collection in its entirety, because it has been split up starting with the winning bids from the Heritage Aug. 2 auction.
In addition, New York-based Lelands auction house displayed the earliest-known game-used Babe Ruth jersey in existence. Lelands recently purchased the historic memorabilia item for a record $4.4 million, and then turned around and sold it to one of its customers, who has asked to remain anonymous. Lelands displayed a beautiful game-used Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers jersey, among many other memorabilia items. Lelands is including it in its October auction and estimating it may go for more than $1 million.
During The National's five-day event, Jeff Rosenberg, president of Houstion-based TRISTAR Productions, set the world record by paying nearly $400,000 for the finest Babe Ruth single signed baseball in existence. This doubled the previous record, which was for a price paid for an autographed Ruth baseball at auction. This baseball was originally given to the publicist that worked on "The Babe Ruth Story" movie.
SCP Auctions, based in Laguna Niguel, Calif., had Angelo Dundee personal boxing memorabilia on display, promoting their online auction in November. Dundee's Hall of Fame career began in 1952, as he gained acclaim as a brilliant corner man. The renowned trainer was a guiding force for two of the most celebrated fighters of his era, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, as well as 15 other world champions.
Many great items from Ali, including his game-worn gloves from the 1964 Sonny Liston fight and his 1971 Joe Frazier fight, were on display. These two pairs of gloves represent two of Ali's most legendary fights, and many have referred to them as the most valuable and historic boxing artifacts in the world.
The National Sports Collectors Convention is the world's largest sports memorabilia and collectibles show. Many of the more than 600 on-site exhibitors from around the country set up to buy, sell and trade items from all sports, at all price points. Baltimore has now hosted The National twice, having held it in 2010 as well. Next year, The National travels to Chicago, and then Cleveland in 2014. Word is the promoters and exhibitors were pleased with this year's event and hope to return to Baltimore when scheduling permits.
Follow Ray@Twitter.com/SchulteSports and e-mail him at Ray@SchulteSports.com.
Issue 176: August 2012