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Legendary Sports Items Being Auctioned from REA Next Month

Collecting anything is usually dictated by two guiding forces: your passion, and your budget. Sometimes, one can take priority over the other, which can result in some pretty rough moments of clarity the next day when you realize you blew your rent money on a sweet looking hockey jersey.

Of course, there’s also a level of collectibles that no amount of passion will bring to your home. Such is the case with Robert Edward Auctions’ “blockbuster sale,” running from April 16 through May 12, according to a post on Sports Collectors Digest. The post offers a sneak preview of what some truly high rollers will have the chance to bid on when the auction gets underway next month.

What kind of items? Well, when you think of valuable sports collectibles, it’s impossible not to think of the T206 Honus Wagner card, widely regarded as one of the most valuable baseball cards in existence. The card is especially rare because Wagner, a Pittsburgh Pirate and widely regarded as one of the best ballplayers of the era, demanded the American Tobacco Company cease production of the card, resulting in a very limited number ever produced. The card’s Wikipedia entry notes that estimates of the number of cards made range from 60 to 200…and even at 200, that’s a remarkably low number of cards.

The card featured in the upcoming REA auction is a particularly rare specimen, it seems. According to the SCD post, the Wagner card is stamped “October 16, 1909,” the date of the final game of that year’s Wold Series. REA’s president, Robert Lifson, offered his view on the item:

“This is an incredible card with or without the stamp, but the date stamp gives this card an amazing significance. Not only is this the only T206 Honus Wagner card that actually dates itself – which all alone is interesting as the T206 Honus Wagner card was only issued in 1909 – Oct. 16 is the date of the final and deciding game of the 1909 World Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers.”

The card has a reserve of $100,000, and it’s expected that it could sell for more than $300,000–but knowing the passion that this card can generate, I have a suspicion that might even be a conservative estimate.

The auction also features a whole slew of other valuable baseball collectibles from the game’s early years, including a 1912 Ty Cobb Tobaco Tin, a 1923 Babe Ruth bat that is believed to have been swung by Ruth on opening day with the Yankees, a Ruth rookie card, a T206 Eddie Plank card (from the same era as the aforementioned Wagner), and plenty more.

While baseball cards, autographs, and other memorabilia take the lion’s share of sports items going up for bid next month, the selection also includes fight-worn trunks from the infamous 1975 boxing match between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali–the match more commonly known as the “Thrilla in Manilla.” The trunks’ reserve is at $25,000, but the final amount some lucky (and probably wealthy) collector will shell out for these could wind up anywhere.

While there is no chance I will ever have enough cash laying around to even consider bidding on any of these items, it’s easy to get excited about the items themselves, as they represent some of the greatest and most legendary moments in not just sports history, but American history and culture in general. I’m very eager to see how these auctions go next month.

Of course, in the meantime, I guess I’ll just stick to buying bobbleheads. While they probably won’t go up in value ever, it is fun to watch them nod approvingly.

[Via Sports Collectors Digest and Wikipedia]


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