The Fall Classic Sports Memorabilia and Collectibles Auction is LIVE!
One of the most anticipated auctions in the sports collecting hobby. These milestone events garner significant media attention and feature an impressive array of some of the most important sports cards and memorabilia.
Overview of Top Auction Items
Baseball AutographsLot # 1: 1972 Mickey Mantle Signed and Handwritten "Lewd" Yankees Questionnaire - The Most Famous Mantle Document in the Hobby (PSA)
Addendum: Subsequent to the catalogpublication, we were contacted by former New York Yankees executive MartyAppel, who has first-hand knowledge of this letter, which he kindly shared withus:
"I was the Yankees Assistant PR Director then, withBob Fishel my boss. We wrote to many ex-Yankees for a 1973 50thanniversary Yearbook feature on 'greatest memory.' That is myhandwriting on 'Dear Mickey' and 'Bob Fishel.' Mick's response isindeed his, in his handwriting, but it was meant to shock the very straight-lacedBob Fishel on whom he was always playing practical jokes. The item isauthentic, but the intent was bawdy humor, not depiction of a real event. I called Mick when I received it and said, 'We're going with the Barney Schultzhome run in 1964' and he laughed and said 'Of course.' I held the letterfor decades (never showed Bob Fishel), finally gave it to Barry Halper, andfrom there it slipped off to others over time." - Marty Appel.
Mickey Mantle's talents on the baseball field are welldocumented. Much less known, however, are his literary skills, particularlywhen it comes to off-color narrative prose. Offered here is his greatestcontribution to that genre, his magnus opus if you will. This is the mostfamous, or perhaps we should say infamous, Mantle handwritten document in thehobby, although saying "in the hobby" is somewhat of a misnomerbecause this is the first time it has ever been made available for sale,publicly or privately. It has, however, been viewed by many collectors becausecopies of it exist and have been posted (and then reposted) online and throughvarious social media platforms. That familiarity has led to its now iconicstatus but, like the Mona Lisa, or any other great work of art, there is onlyone original, and this is it.
Mantle'smuse for this particular literary endeavor was longtime New York Yankees publicrelations director Bob Fishel. In December 1972, Fishel sent out aquestionnaire to former New York Yankees players asking them to share theiroutstanding event at Yankee Stadium. As he noted in his cover letter, theupcoming 1973 season marked the 50th anniversary of Yankee Stadium, and theteam planned a season-long "Golden Anniversary" celebration,culminating in a special ceremony on Old Timers Day. The responses given by theplayers would be featured in a 1973 50th Anniversary Yearbook. Mantle, ofcourse, was sent his respective questionnaire and he dutifully filled it outand returned it in the prepaid envelope provided.
WhenFishel opened the envelope, which Mantle marked "Personal - BobFishel" in pencil on the front, and read Mantle's response, we canonly imagine his reaction. Knowing Mantle as he did, maybe Fishel would havebeen more surprised if he received anything different. The first question askedeach player to list what they considered their outstanding experience at YankeeStadium. The second question asked them where or when the event occurred andinstructed each respondent to "give as much detail as possible."Mantle did not disappoint in that regard. To the first question, Mantle wrote"I got a blow job under the right field bleachers by the Yankee BullPen." He followed that up by providing the specifics: "It was aboutthe third or fourth inning. I had a pulled groin and couldn't fuck at the time.She was a very nice girl and asked me what to do with the cum after I came inher mouth. I said don't ask me, I'm no cock-sucker." It is signed"Mickey Mantle - The All-American Boy." Both Mantle's signature andhandwritten text have been rendered in blue ink and grade 9/10.
Thisletter was probably the talk of the Yankees front office for days after itarrived and we can probably thank all the employees who made photo copies of itat the time for the many images now circulating on the internet (we must notethat all the images on the web represent copies of this document; none weremade from the original offered here). Both the questionnaire and cover letter(8.5x11") display two horizontal mailing folds, a few small edge tears atthe fold lines, and a paperclip impression near the top border. They areaccompanied by the original return mailing envelope (8.75x4"; large tearalong the top). Both the cover letter and envelope are dated/postmarkedDecember 14, 1972." Full LOA from PSA.
Football CardsLot # 2: 2018 Panini National Treasures Football Stars & Stripes Premium #163 Josh Allen Rookie Laundry Tag Patch Autograph Card #2/3 PSA MINT 9 (Pop 1 of 1 Highest Graded)
2018 Panini National Treasures Football #163 Josh Allen Stars and Stripes Rookie Patch Autograph card. It has been graded and encapsulated by PSA MT 9. It has a Laundry Tag Patch with an autograph written in blue upon a white background. It is #2/3 and is a parallel from First Off the Line. According to the population report, this is the highest graded example.
Basketball CardsLot # 3: 2003 Ultimate Collection Basketball #127 LeBron James Autograph Rookie Card #99/250 BGS MINT 9 Auto 10
2003-2004 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Basketball #127 LeBron James (R) autograph card. The card and autograph have been graded and encapsulated by BGS MT 9 with an Auto grade of 10. Sub-grades are Centering 10; Corners 9; Edges 9; and Surface 9. It is #99/250 and has a blue autograph on a white background.
Football CardsLot # 4: 2000 Upper Deck Exclusives Football Gold #254 Tom Brady Rookie Card #20/25 BGS MINT 9 (Highest Graded)
2000 Upper Deck Exclusives Football Gold #254 Tom Brady (R) card. The card is one of the rarer and most important Brady rookie cards in the hobby. The card has been graded and encapsulated by BGS MT 9. Sub-grades are Centering 9.5; Edges 9; Corners 8.5; and Surface 9.5. It is #20/25. According to the BGS population report, this is the highest graded example with only 5 cards graded in total.
Football CardsLot # 5: 2017 National Treasures Football Holo Silver #161 Patrick Mahomes RPA Rookie Patch Autograph Card #8/25 PSA MINT 9 - Auto 10 (Pop 1 of 2 Highest Graded)
For modern football superstars, a National Treasures RPA is the crown jewel. Here we have Patrick Mahomes' most iconic and sought after rookie card, the 2017 National Treasures Football #161 Holo Silver Patch Autograph (R) card. The card and autograph have been graded and encapsulated by PSA MINT 9 with a bold blue auto grading a perfect 10 out of 10. Numbered #8/25, this beauty contains a rare three-color swatch with four breaks and an autograph in blue upon a white background. The market tends to favor “true” RPA’s numbered to 99 as the more valuable examples, even more valuable than the scarcer /25 versions, but that may change one day if collectors realize finding a scarcer example should result in a higher price. When it comes to investment opportunities, this is usually the number one candidate for Patrick Mahomes, and should have long term stability as he continues to play at an elite level.
Football CardsLot # 6: 2020 National Treasures Football Holo Silver #158 Justin Herbert RPA Rookie Patch Autograph #5/25 BGS GEM MINT 9.5 - Auto 10 (Pop 1 of 3 Highest Graded)
The most important RPA from the 2020 National Treasures release; the #158 Justin Herbert (R) Patch Autograph card. Card and autograph have been graded and encapsulated by BGS GEM MINT 9.5 with a perfect blue autograph grading 10 out of 10. Sub-grades are Centering 9.5; Edges 9; Corners 9.5; and Surface 9.5. Numbered #5/25 and contains a breathtaking four-color blue, white, yellow, and black patch with an autograph in blue upon a white background. When it comes to ranking importance for an RPA like this, the most important thing is the patch, then the grade. Luckily this card has the best of both worlds with the best possible patch and 9.5 grade, thus placing it in the top 1% of "elite." As Herbert continues to play at an elevated level, we can see why his prices have remained so high and consistent.
Jackie Robinson & Brooklyn DodgersLot # 7: 1947 Jackie Robinson Rookie Brooklyn Dodgers Photograph Used for 1947 Bond Bread Rookie Card (PSA Type I)
When Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson broke the modern Major League Baseball "Color Line" on April 15, 1947, as a Brooklyn Dodger at Ebbets Field, he not only made baseball history, but he also made an enormous impact on the civil rights history of America. Presented is an incredible Type I original news service photo of Robinson that was used for Robinson's 1947 W571 Bond Bread #37 Rookie Card, the Robinson 1947 D305 Bond Bread Exhibit #38, and Robinson's photo in the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers' Picture Pack. Robinson spent the 1946 season in the International League with the Montreal Royals, one of the two top Dodger farm clubs. Jackie tore up the International League in '46 as he hit .349 and stole 40 bases in leading the Royals to the Little World Series Championship. Robinson had an amazing season in his rookie 1947 campaign as he hit .297, led the National League with 29 stolen bases, won the Rookie of the Year Award, and helped the Dodgers to the pennant. In his Major League career, consisting of ten seasons, all spent with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson hit .311, with 197 stolen bases, won the 1949 National League MVP and led the NL in hitting the 47 season at .342, was a 7-time All-Star and helped the Brooklyn Dodgers to their only World's Championship, in 1955. Even with Robinson's great statistics, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron said, "Jackie's character was much more important than his batting average." And it was Robinson's enormous strength of character that helped him accomplish so much. As his teammate, Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese said, "To do what he did has got to be the most amazing thing I've ever seen in sports." The photo is an incredible image. The focus is on Robinson, in his home Dodgers uniform, and one can see the face of the 28-year-old Robinson clearly as the fire in his eyes is readily apparent as he kneels, bat in hand, near the first base dugout of what appears to be Ebbets Field. The black and white photo measures 8x10". The back of the photo shows "Jack R." written in blue ink in an unknown hand. The photo was used for the 1947 Bonds Bread #37 Robinson. This W571 set consisted of 44 cards, each 2.5x3.5" and including cards of many other Hall of Famers, including Ted Williams, and Stan Musial, but the most valued card is Jackie Robinson's. The offered photo was also used for the 1947 Bond Bread D305 set of exhibit cards, with each card measuring 2.25x3.5", and with Robinson's card still the most valued. The original Bonds Bread photo has been encapsulated and graded by PSA as Type I Authentic. With the 2022 season being the 75th Anniversary of Robinson's debut in 1947, interest in Jackie Robinson's career remains exceptionally high, and the offered Type I photo is a treasured, timeless keepsake of Jackie Robinson's immortal career.
FootballLot # 8: 1975 Joe Greene Pittsburgh Steelers Game Worn Jersey MEARS A10
Pittsburgh Steelers home jersey worn by Hall of Fame defensive tackle "Mean Joe" Greene during the club's 1975 World Championship season. Graded a perfect A10 by MEARS. Joe Greene game-used jerseys are exceedingly rare. This is the first example we have ever offered and we cannot recall the last time we have seen another at public auction. The black dureen jersey, with gold-and-white accents on the sleeves, features the number "75" on the front, reverse, and each shoulder. The name "Greene" is lettered on a black nameplate on the reverse, directly above the number. All numerals are applied in white tackle twill, while all letters are applied in gold tackle twill. Located on the left front tail are a "75" year tag, a "Sand-Knit 52" label, and a second "Sand-Knit" label that reads: "Designed & Tailored Exclusively for the Pittsburgh Steelers American Football Conference." The jersey is original as issued and displays heavy wear, including team repairs to moderate tears on the front and shoulders.
"Mean Joe" Greene is one of the most iconic players in NFL history and widely considered one of the best defensive tackles to ever play the game. The cornerstone of Pittsburgh's fabled "Steel Curtain" defense during the 1970s, Greene helped lead the club to four Super Bowl victories during the decade. Included among his many achievements and honors are two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, five First Team All-Pro selections, three Second Team All-Pro selections, ten Pro Bowl appearances, the 1979 NFL Man of the Year, Award and selections to the NFL 1970s All Decade Team, NFL 75th Anniversary All Time Team, and NFL 100th Anniversary All Time Team. His enormous accomplishments on the field notwithstanding, he is still best remembered by a generation of fans for his 1979 Coca-Cola commercial, which made him a household name. It should be noted that of all the many Hall of Fame players in Steelers history, Greene's number "75" is still one of only two uniform numbers officially retired by the club. This is one of the most significant NFL jerseys we have ever offered and a "Holy Grail" for Pittsburgh Steelers and NFL Hall of Fame jersey collectors. Full LOA from MEARS (Grade A10).
Mantle and MarisLot # 9: Rare 1957-58 Mickey Mantle New York Yankees Game Used Batting Helmet (Taube LOA)
New York Yankees batting helmet worn by Hall of Fame outfielder Mickey Mantle, circa 1957/1958. Mickey Mantle game-used batting helmets are exceedingly rare. This is the first we have ever offered, and we cannot recall having seen more than two or three others at auction in the past 25 years. It may also hold the distinction of being the earliest-known Mantle New York Yankees game-used batting helmet, as the others we are aware of date from the 1960s. The navy fiberglass helmet features the Yankees white "NY" logo affixed to the front in white-felt lettering. (The logo appears to have been coated with an application of shellac or lacquer, which has hardened over time.) Mantle's uniform number ("7") is written in faded black marker on the protective pad located in the center of the interior. Most important, the name "Mantle" is written in badly faded marker on a strip of white tape located on the interior back of the helmet. It should be noted that Mantle's name on the tape is just barely visible to the naked eye, but it can be seen more easily when observed under ultra-violet light. An "American Baseball Cap" manufacturer's label appears on the interior, which also includes the size: "7 1/4." An additional interior label reads "The only truly PROTECTIVE baseball cap on the market for high schools, colleges and adults." The helmet displays extensive wear, indicative of more than one season's use, including heavy soiling, chips to the edges, and a moderate crack on each side, just past the end of the brim. (The cracks were most likely the result of Mantle repeatedly flipping his helmet after an at bat, as was his custom, rather than a beaning.)
Mantle was at the peak of his career at the time he wore this helmet. After capturing the Triple Crown and winning the MVP Award in 1956, Mantle continued his assault on American League pitching the following year. "The Mick" hit a career-high .365 with 34 home runs and 94 RBI in 1957, with those numbers earning him a second consecutive MVP Award at season's end. In 1958, Mantle hit a league-leading 42 home runs to help lead the Yankees to their sixth and final World Championship of the decade. Batting helmets, much more so than bats, jerseys, or caps, are the rarest of all Mantle game-used items. This wonderful example, given the amount of wear displayed and its late 1950s dating period, may be the finest known and one that would be the centerpiece of any advanced Mickey Mantle or New York Yankees collection. Comes with full John Taube LOA.
Baseball AutographsLot # 10: Exceptional Babe Ruth Single-Signed Baseball (JSA)
Extraordinary Babe Ruth single-signed baseball dating from the early 1930s. Ruth has beautifully signed the Spalding "Babe Ruth Home Run Special" baseball across the sweet spot in blue fountain pen. The creamy background of the leather provides perfect contrast for the signature, which grades a strong 8/10. The ball is equally impressive. The only hint to its age is some slight toning and it remains in Excellent to Mint condition overall. This ball has an interesting history and is accompanied by a typed letter of provenance. Our consignor's father obtained this ball decades ago from a gentleman who met Ruth personally. According to the gentleman's written testimony, he received the ball as a child while attending a game with his father, who was an executive with Standard Oil. As he relates, many employees of Standard Oil and their families traveled to Boston as part of a company outing and were given box seats (he doesn't relate whether it was Fenway Park or Braves field). The highlight of the day was a personal meeting with Babe Ruth, who dutifully signed baseballs for each of the kids in the group. He also retained a panel of the original box, which is also included in the lot. While Babe Ruth single-signed balls are by no means rare, those of this quality are, and have always been considered one of the true "blue chip" pieces in the hobby. This is an exceptional Ruth ball in all respects and one that would be among the highlights of any advanced Babe Ruth or Hall of Fame single-signed ball collection. Full LOA from JSA. (Please Note: PSA also examined this ball and declined to issue an LOA.)
Basketball CardsLot # 11: 1996 Topps Chrome Refractor #138 Kobe Bryant Rookie Card BGS GEM MINT 9.5 (True Gem+)
1996 Topps Chrome Refractor #138 Kobe Bryant (R) card. The card has been graded and encapsulated by BGS Gem Mint 9.5. Sub-grades are Centering 9.5; Edges 9.5; Corners 10; and Surface 9.5. The card is clear with no greening. According to the population report, there are 88 Gem Mint 9.5s but only 29 are True Gem+ or better.
Basketball CardsLot # 14: 1986-1987 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card BGS GEM MINT 9.5
Perhaps the most iconic card in the basketball card hobby is this 1986-1987 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan (R) card. This example has been graded and encapsulated by the team at BGS as Gem Mint 9.5. It has sub-grades of Centering 9.5; Edges 9.5; Corners 9.5; and Surface 9. This fantastic example is razor sharp with outstanding eye appeal. According to the Beckett population report, this is one of 531 cards to have achieved this grade with only 6 grading higher. A true investment piece.
Baseball and Trading CardsLot # 16: Extremely Scarce 1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle PSA VG-EX 4 (1 of 5 PSA Examples)
1959 Yoo-Hoo Mickey Mantle card. The card has been graded and encapsulated by PSA VG-EX 4. THe card measures 2 5/8" x 3 5/8" and has a black and white photo of Mantle. It contains a facsimile Mantle signature endorsing Yoo-Hoo drinks. The reverse is blank backed. It has excellent centering with smooth edges. The bottom right corner has is slightly rounded while the remaining corners have light touches. The reverse has some light ageing with a discoloration near the middle of the card back. According to the PSA population report, this is one of only 5 graded copies.