Annual Robert Edward Auction sale packed with sports rarities

WATCHUNG, N.J. — As is tradition, the first copy of the Robert Edward Auctions catalog for their 2010 spring sale will be presented to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., for their library. The remaining 10,000 catalogs will be sent to collectors all over the world. Inside the catalog will be hundreds of items worthy of the most prestigious collections, both public and private. The final date of bidding in this year’s auction will be May 1. Bidding is available by fax, phone, or the Internet via the REA Web site at Total sales for the event are expected to exceed $5 million.

REA’s reputation for hosting the baseball collecting world’s most highly-anticipated event is a reputation built on 40 years of experience. “This year, the material is unbelievable,” said REA president Robert Lifson.

The legendary Sy Berger, universally recognized as the “Father of the Modern Bubble-Gum Card,” has chosen Robert Edward Auctions to help him share his treasures with the collecting world. Sy Berger was the face of Topps for over 50 years, and is one of the most important hobby industry pioneers in the history of collecting. His collection includes, among many other items, 117 original paintings used to create the 1953 Topps bubble-gum card set.

Possibly the most incredible and historically significant item in this year’s auction is the famous “Merkle Ball.” This is the actual ball held by Chicago second baseman Johnny Evers that, when he touched second base, reversed a game-winning hit and changed the course of the 1908 pennant race for the New York Giants. Rookie Fred Merkle, playing in his first full game ever, found himself on first base in the bottom of the ninth, with the potential winning run on third and Giants shortstop Al Bridwell at the plate. When Bridwell lined a single to center, the Giants scored what appeared to be the winning run. Unfortunately, since Merkle had simply followed baseball tradition by scampering to the clubhouse to avoid the fans swarming the field, he never touched second base. In the confusion of a seemingly lost game, Chicago second baseman Evers produced this baseball, stepped on second, and demanded that Merkle be called out at second on a technicality, invoking a little-enforced rule. When the umpire ruled Merkle out at second, the winning run was negated. Mayhem ensued, and has never really abated. Since the ?eld was then unplayable due to impending darkness and the presence of thousands of fans on the field, the game was called a tie.

The season ended with the Giants and Cubs in a tie for first place, which forced the tie game to be replayed. This time, the Cubs won handily, thereby winning the National League pennant. Had Merkle simply touched second base, everything would have been different: the Giants would have been awarded the victory, and thus would have likely won the 1908 pennant. Instead, the Cubs went on to win the World Series – the last Series they’ve ever won.

The “Merkle Ball” was personally saved as a special keepsake by Johnny Evers and comes with an affidavit directly from the Evers family. This historic baseball carries a $25,000 auction reserve.

Also included in the auction is the most highly sought-after and valuable baseball card in the world – the T206 Honus Wagner. Graded PR-FR 1 by PSA, the “Connecticut Wagner” has been lost to the collecting world, locked away in a safe deposit box for the past 25 years by its owners, a father and son collecting team, who purchased the card along with a complete T206 set for $10,000 at a Connecticut card show in the 1980s. With a reserve of $50,000 and an estimate in excess of $150,000 for just the one card, that $10,000 investment seems like a wise one today.

In addition to the “Connecticut Wagner,” this sale will include virtually every one of the baseball card collecting world’s most revered “Holy Grails.” One special highlight is a 1909-11 T206 Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb Back, one of only a dozen known.

To review the catalog online, or to order a free copy of the catalog visit

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