Baseball cards and memorabilia from 1845-1975 at REA auction

WATCHUNG, N.J. – The Robert Edward Auctions catalogs will ship on April 9, 2009. The first copy off the presses will be presented to The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., for their library, as is the longstanding tradition. The rest of the 672-page catalogs will be sent to collectors all over the world. Up for auction will be hundreds of items worthy of Cooperstown, and prestigious collections. The final date for bidding is May 2; bidding starts April 10 by fax, phone, or the Internet via the Robert Edward Auctions site. The total sales for the event are expected to exceed $5 million.

Robert Edward’s annual spring auction is an anticipated event. “We try to make it a special event for everyone, to make it fun and at the same time to give collectors and historians some great reading with the catalog,” says REA president Robert Lifson. “We’re trying to do more than just have an auction. We’re trying to create a positive event that makes collecting fun, and one that everyone can be a part of, as a bidder, a consignor, or just as an observer. This may be our best auction ever.”

The 1915 Cracker Jack poster shown on the catalog cover is expected to be an auction highlight. Other expected top lots are the two most valuable baseball cards in the world – the famous T206 Honus Wagner and the 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card (each with a reserve of $50,000). A newly discovered find of unopened 1930s gum cards, and a Babe Ruth cap from 1932 (reserve is $50,000) will be sold.

The Cracker Jack poster, produced to promote Cracker Jack’s 1915 baseball card issue, is one of the most rare baseball pieces. The offered example carries a minimum bid of $25,000. Lifson adds “We think this is such a great item we actually produced a celluloid magnet as a keepsake, featuring the poster. We made more than 10,000 of them. Every catalog will include one. Only one person can get the poster but everyone can have a small refrigerator magnet version. It also seems in keeping with the spirit of Cracker Jack. You know, a prize in every box.”

Coming to the block will be more than 1,500 lots of baseball collectibles covering the entire history of the game. The unopened gum boxes and packs from the 1930s will be offered in 50 lots.

The T206 Wagner was once owned by actor Charlie Sheen. He allowed the card to be displayed at the All Star Café in New York. In a plot worthy of a TV episode, the card was stolen from its display case by workers at the All Star Café, and replaced with a copy. When the theft was discovered, the thieves were soon caught, and the Wagner card was recovered by the FBI. The card 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.

Many consider the 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie 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 St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. Only ten 1914 Baltimore Ruths are known to exist, including the one owned by the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore. The reserve for this card is $50,000, and it is also expected to sell for in excess of $100,000.

The auction includes 19th-century baseball cards with examples issued by Kalamazoo Bats, Mayo’s Cut Plug, as well as rare baseball cabinet cards; Cracker Jack baseball cards issued in 1914 and 1915; 1910-era baseball tobacco cards; and complete Topps and Bowman sets including three complete sets of 1952 Topps with the rare high-numbers.

The newly-discovered 1933 R306 Butter Cream Confectionery of Babe Ruth is another highlight item in the sale. One of card collecting’s rarities, this is only the third example known (reserve is $10,000).

The auction includes display pieces; original art; rare pinbacks; autographs; caramel cards; regionals; 1930s gum cards; and bats, uniforms, and other equipment, in addition to cards of note from all eras.

The Charlie Conlon collection is presented in this historic auction. One highlight is the T206 Larry Doyle NY Nat’l (hands over head pose). This rarity (graded VG-EX 50 by SGC) is one of only seven authentic examples known to exist, making it the rarest of all T206 cards. The minimum bid is $25,000. It is expected to sell for more than $100,000.

The auction presents game-used bats, including those of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Pie Traynor, and Hack Wilson. A Mickey Mantle bat is of special note as it is from so early in his career and can be dated to 1955.

In addition to autographed balls from all eras, and signed photos, the autograph album collection of early hobby pioneer Dr. John O’Meara, assembled in the 1930s, will be featured. The collection includes Hall of Fame signature rarities such as George Wright, Billy Hamilton, and Ned Hanlon. The highlight of all autographed items in the auction may be the 1899 Ed Delahanty handwritten letter (reserve is $10,000).

Copies of the 672-page full-color premium catalog are available free. To review the catalog online, to learn more about Robert Edward Auctions, or to receive a complimentary copy of the catalog, visit For more information call 908-226-9900.