2012 Robert Edward Auction

April 17, 2012

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At the Soap Boxers, we love the annual sports memorabilia auction from Robert Edward Auctions (REA).  This is the third article we have written about it.  We’re not being paid to publicize the auction – we write about it just because we think it’s very cool.  Even if you don’t buy anything, the catalog is a great coffee table book, filled with a mixture of priceless treasures and really weird shit. 

1910 T206 Sweet Caporal Honus Wagner PSA Authentic

T206 Wagner (Example)

Priceless treasure: T206 Honus Wagner, PSA grade 2. 

The T-206 Wagner is the holy grail of sports card.    There are cards that are more rare than the T206 Wagner, but this card is the most famous.  Even beat up copies can sell for $100,000+, and the best examples can fetch more than a million dollars.  There are many non-baseball fans who are aware of Wagner’s name only because of this card – not realizing that he was one of the greatest players in baseball history.

The specific Wagner in the auction (not the one featured at left) has the date of Oct 16, 1909 stamped on the back in purple.  This was the day of the final game of the 1909 World Series.  REA discovered the existence of another Wagner with the exact same stamp and are saying that this most likely means that the two cards were in the same place in 1909 and were stamped on that day.

Personally, I question whether this is the case.  It’s certainly possible, but it’s also possible that someone bought a stamper decades later and decided to stamp the two cards with the historic date.  Without some sort of forensic analysis of the ink, it’s hard to blindly accept the assertion that it was stamped in 1909. 

Who cares when it was stamped?  Well, if it was actually stamped in 1909, the stamp likely enhances the value a bit.  If someone in 1968 (for example) happened to buy a date stamp, flip the date to Oct 16, 1909, and then proceed to stamp the two cards with the date, then the date stamp is nothing more than 60’s era graffiti and would detract from the value.  (Technically, even if the card was stamped in 1909, it would be graffiti, but it would be easier to overlook if the stamp were historically significant.)

Regardless of when the date was stamped, this Wagner would be a great addition to anyone’s collection.

My favorite items

My favorite auction items are the canceled checks.  Sometimes these are historically significant checks, but often they are not.  Sometimes it’s just a check to the grocery store or the hardware store.  Why do these items fascinate me?  Because they are a view into the life of the person, instead of just the player.  The checks were written in the course of ordinary life, rather signatures being hurriedly scrawled onto a ball thrust in front of them.  In my mind, at least, it humanizes the player.

What else?

There are thousands of items in the auction.  While the auction skews very heavily toward sports items, there are always some cool non-sports items.  Included in this year’s auction is a framed booking card (with fingerprints) autographed by Al Capone.  Capone had himself arrested on a weapons charge in 1929 to get keep himself from getting killed by other mobsters.

Get the catalog.

You can request a free catalog here.


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