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 an extraordinary collection of vintage sports cards. The star of the show was a premiere SGC graded 1916 M101-5 blank back Babe Ruth rookie card, which fetched a staggering sale price of $630,000. With only seven other known examples within SGC’s records, this card is a true rarity. The entire auction brought in an astonishing total of over $11.1 million in sales, featuring seven items that each sold for more than $100,000.

One of the highlights of the auction was a 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card, graded PSA 10 in impeccable condition. This card achieved the highest sale price for a Gem Mint PSA graded copy since September 2021. It was a testament to the enduring popularity of the basketball legend.

The auction also showcased a remarkable selection of vintage, still-sealed boxes. Notably, a 1965 Topps Baseball wax box containing cards from the second, third, and fourth series, from the collection of Adolph “Herky” Rupp Jr., was auctioned for an impressive $336,000. Rupp Jr., who was the descendant of the famed Kentucky basketball coach, Adolph Rupp, had an impressive collection that also featured a 1953 Topps Willie Mays card, graded PSA 8, which sold for $186,000.

The auction also unveiled several unopened boxes from a newly discovered collection acquired towards the end of the previous year. These boxes generated significant excitement among collectors, with a 1970 Topps Baseball 6th series cello box breaking records with a $105,000 sale. A 1968 Topps Football 1st series 36-pack cello box set a new benchmark at $99,000. Additionally, a 1973 Topps Baseball 3rd series 500-count vending box fetched $18,600. The initial offerings from this collection amassed $284,455, with expectations of reaching seven figures as more items are sold in the coming months.

Vintage autographed cards were also a major highlight of the auction. Nearly two dozen cards, originally collected by Mike Greenbaum, garnered significant interest. A standout piece was a 1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson card, graded 1.5 with an impressive autograph grade of 8, which sold for an impressive $117,000. A similarly graded signed Roy Campanella card from the same set fetched $69,000.

Individual card sales were also strong, with a T206 Ty Cobb Green portrait, graded PSA 6 and featuring a Piedmont advertising back, selling for $105,000. A 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle card, graded PSA 9, reached $80,533. Another notable sale was a 1962 Topps Manager’s Dream card, showcasing both Mantle and Mays, which sold for $75,000.

Complete sets were also in high demand during the auction. The highest-rated set of 1909-1912 Colgan’s chips discs fetched $54,000. The 16th-ranked 1969-70 Topps Basketball set garnered an impressive $93,000. An all-PSA 8 1952 Bowman baseball set was acquired for $84,000, showcasing the diverse and valuable selections on offer.

The Heritage Auctions’ Winter Sports Card Auction was truly a record-breaking event, with the Babe Ruth rookie card and Michael Jordan rookie card leading the way. Collectors and enthusiasts alike eagerly awaited the sale, resulting in unprecedented prices for these rare and highly sought-after items.


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