Historic Sales at Heritage: Ruth Rookie and Jordan Cards Lead Record-Breaking Auction

Over the weekend, Heritage Auctions’ Winter Sports Card Auction made history with its extraordinary sales. The star of the event was a premiere SGC graded 1916 M101-5 blank back Babe Ruth rookie card, which fetched an astonishing price of $630,000. With a rare rating of 5.5 by SGC and only seven other known examples within SGC’s records, this card is truly a gem among collectors. In total, the auction achieved an impressive $11.1 million in sales, featuring several items that sold for over $100,000.

One of the standout pieces was a 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card, graded PSA 10 in immaculate condition. This card reached the highest sale price for a Gem Mint PSA graded copy since September 2021, solidifying Jordan’s status as a highly sought-after collectible in the sports card market.

The auction also showcased a remarkable collection of vintage, still-sealed boxes. Among them was a 1965 Topps Baseball wax box containing cards from the second, third, and fourth series. This box, originating from the collection of Adolph “Herky” Rupp Jr., descendant of the legendary Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp, fetched an impressive $336,000 after authentication by BBCE. Rupp Jr.’s collection also included a 1953 Topps Willie Mays card, graded PSA 8, which sold for $186,000.

Furthermore, the auction revealed a collection of recently discovered unopened boxes, acquired towards the end of the previous year. These boxes brought record-breaking prices, with a 1970 Topps Baseball 6th series cello box selling for $105,000, a 1968 Topps Football 1st series 36-pack cello box setting a new benchmark at $99,000, and a 1973 Topps Baseball 3rd series 500-count vending box being purchased for $18,600. This collection, connected to a former Topps employee, garnered an initial total of $284,455, with expectations of reaching the seven-figure mark as more items are sold in the following months.

The auction also presented an assortment of nearly two dozen vintage autographed cards from Mike Greenbaum’s collection. One of the highlights was a 1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson card, graded 1.5 with an autograph grade of 8, which led the pack with a sale price of $117,000. A similarly graded signed Roy Campanella card from the same set also attracted significant interest, fetching $69,000.

In the individual card sales category, a T206 Ty Cobb Green portrait, graded PSA 6 and featuring a Piedmont advertising back, sold for an impressive $105,000. A 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle card, graded PSA 9, reached a price of $80,533, while a 1962 Topps Manager’s Dream card, showcasing both Mantle and Mays, sold for $75,000.

Complete sets were also featured in the auction, with the highest-rated set of 1909-1912 Colgan’s chips discs selling for $54,000. The 16th ranked 1969-70 Topps Basketball set garnered $93,000, and an all-PSA 8 1952 Bowman baseball set was acquired for $84,000. These sales further demonstrated the diverse and valuable selections available at the auction.

Overall, the Heritage Auctions’ Winter Sports Card Auction was a resounding success, presenting collectors with an exceptional range of premier sports cards and vintage collectibles. With the record-breaking sales of the Babe Ruth rookie card and the Michael Jordan rookie card, among other significant items, this auction solidified its place in history as a remarkable event in the world of sports card collecting.