Robert Edward Auctions

April 12, 2011

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The biggest and in my opinion the best sports memorabilia auction is just around the corner. Robert Edward Auctions does one auction a year and it is always a biggie. I believe Kosmo has written articles about it in the past (Editor’s note – Yep), but this year is also sure to not disappoint.

A few lots of early interest are a 1910 Old Mill cigarette’s Shoeless Joe Jackson rookie card. I am more of a Yankee fan you say? How about a Lou Gehrig game used jersey? Is there anything much cooler than an original signed 1902 Christy Mathewson players contract? There is even a Honus Wagner card in the auction that has been professionally restored. Not sure how that will affect its value, but my guess is that card will still sell for a quarter of a million at the very least.

Cards, bats, hats, balls, photos, autographs, historical documents, jerseys, cleats, sheet music, basically anything sports or historical related and all of it cool. There is even non-sports cards such as Mars Attacks, the Three Stooges, Duke Famous Americans (one of my personal favorites cigarette card sets made in the late 1800’s) as well as a veritable cornucopia of other items.

The best part of the auction is while you can view it all online, you can also follow the link below and request a free catalog. This catalog is a piece of art work in and of itself. You have to remember – this is an auction house so the write ups on the items will be flowery as they are trying to maximizing bids, but it is a full color catalog with lots and lots of photos. (last year the book was basically 725 pages) The Catalog ships this week and REA will Fed Ex it to you so if you sign up today – you will likely have it by no later than early next week.

Here is the link to get yourself a free catalog

Last year 181 lots sold in excess of $10,000 and the total of all lots suprassed 10 million. I believe they get a 20% cut of both buyers and sellers commission which is partly why they can produce such an outstanding catalog. I have had great customer service with REA. Last year my son in a overzealous attempt at recycling, pitched a couple of my old catalogs into the recycle bin. I sent an email to REA and I received a note back from Robert Lifson himself, and he promptly overnight Fed Ex delivered the last 5 years of catalogs to me – at no cost with his compliments!

It is good customer service such as this, as well as great auction items, and the best catalog in the business that keeps buyers and sellers coming back to this auction each and every year. I personally will be keeping my eye on some of the golf card items as I am a serious collector of vintage golf cards and this auction is chock full of them.

Until next time, stay classy and may your Old Judges be worth thousands!

Christmas In April

March 13, 2010

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A few days ago, Johnny Goodman made me aware of the fact that the Robert Edward catalog would soon be shipping.  What sort of catalog is the Robert Edward book?  Men’s apparel?  Fine wines?

No, something even better.  Sports collectibles.  Not just any sports collectibles, but high end sports collectibles.  And we’re not talking about your run of the mill Tigers Woods autograph on a Hooters menu (ha ha, Tiger Woods at Hooters – yeah, we understand the irony) type of sports collectible.  We’re talking about collectibles that often have unique histories behind them.

The full name of the organization is Robert Edward Auctions.  Each year, I go to the site, click on the “Contact” link and request a copy of the catalog.  The glossy, full color catalog is filled with about 700 pages of consigned auction items.  Some guys anxiously await the SI Swimsuit issue; I anxiously await the REA catalog.  It truly is Christmas in April.

Sadly, it appears that I don’t have a 2009 catalog.  I wonder what sort of life event made me forget to order my copy.  I guarantee that I didn’t throw the catalog out – I keep the old catalogs to leaf through from time to time.  I’ll pull out my 2008 copy to share some highlights.

What would a high end sports auction be without the requisite T-206 Honus Wagner card (circa 1909-1911)?  The card – of the Pirates Hall of Fame Shortstop – is rare because Wagner demanded that the American Tobacco Company pull the card from their set.  There are a few theories on the reasoning.  Historically, it was said that Wagner did this to prevent youngsters from buying tobacco to get his card.  More recently, the thought is that Wagner simply wanted more money from ATC.

In 2008, a collector paid $1.6 million for a Wagner (not in the Robert Edward auction) with a grade of 5 (out of 10).  The example in the REA catalog was a 1 (poor condition).  The reserve was $50,000 – and the card sold for $317,250!

The auction isn’t limited just to cards, though.  There are a variety of other unique collectibles.

In recent years, canceled checks have gained popularity with collectors.  In the 2008 Robert Edward auction, there’s a check from Babe Ruth to his wife for $1000.  Why is there interest in this sort of item?  Because Babe Ruth would have put actual thought into writing out this check, as opposed to a player blindly scribbling his name on a ball.  The $1000 check – which has no actual financial value – sold for $4112.50.

An interesting modern era piece was lot 165 – a 1988 lithography featuring  the 11 living members of the 500 home run club at that time.  Not only is it a nice work of art, but it is signed by those members – Ted Williams, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mike Schmidt, Ernie Banks, Eddie Mathews, and Willie McCovey.  I couldn’t afford the $1800 it sold for – but it would look pretty sweet on my mantle.

While the auction centers around sports – and specifically baseball – there are also some non-sports items included.  Lot 1618 was the cape worn by George Reeve in the 1950s Superman television show.  How much would you pay for a rather simple piece of red fabric?  A collector paid $32,213.50.

Not everything sells for tens of thousands of dollars, of course.  A Japanese biography of Babe Ruth, published in 1948, sold for $117.50.  If you’re looking to add to your wardrobe, you could have bought the 1944 game used pants of Joe “Ducky” Medwick (last National League player to win the triple crown).  If you wanted to buy some sweet kicks, a pair of Karl Malone’s shoes from his final NBA season sold for a mere $293.75.

No, I’m not paid by REA to write this article – I’m just a big fan of their work.  If you’re a big sports fan like me, swing by their site, order a catalog, and if you have the financial ability, bid on a few items.