Vintage Baseball & Basketball Blowing Out Auction Estimates

At the start of each year is when auction houses help to set the tone for expectations in the sports card market. It of course is not exact science, and some auctions can blow out expectations while other auctions disappoint. Heritage Auctions has been conducting its Winter 2022 auction ending on January 27 and 28, 2022. We already saw that the top 1914 Cracker Jack baseball cards blew past Heritage’s own Guide/Estimates. What does $1 million+ for just the top 3 cards say?

What we know now is that it was not just Cracker Jack cards in demand. There were many high-end cards in baseball and in basketball that absolutely crushed it on most of the expectations. Having some prized PSA 10s and other PSA 9 in vintage cards can bring out the big bucks — and they did!

Collector’s Dashboard evaluates high-end collectibles as an alternative asset class. It is now undeniable that the top cards are facing interest from collectors and from investors frequently both chasing the same exact assets.

We have tallied the top baseball and basketball card sales from Thursday night’s session. These had a 20% buyer’s premium, but we did not make notes about any sales taxes nor about any shipping and handling fees.

What should stand out was strong sales of Mickey Mantle rookies, with two examples of the true 1951 Bowman rookie, as well as two of that prized 1952 Topps that is so much more desired by the collecting community. Another great standout should have been two of the 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie and a strong graded Babe Ruth and a beauty of a Shoeless Joe Jackson card. Strong sales were also seen from a PSA 10 Pete Rose and PSA 9 card of Ted Williams. (Images below by Heritage Auctions)

1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle

On top of some strong card set sales, two super high-end graded cards of Wilt Chamberlain stood out as if they had some other hidden assets inside them because the prices were just so much higher than expectations.

Thursday’s extended bidding session went late into the wee hours of the night. We did not capture everty single estimate offered by Heritage because some of the sales were not looking as strong early on. These include their description, the guide value or estimate and the last seen bidding prices as of the morning of January 28, 2022.


CARD/DESCRIPTION Guide Value/Est. Final Price
1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie #253 PSA NM-MT 8…. $400,000 – up. $504,000
1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie #106 PSA Mint 9…. $300,000 – up. $384,000
1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain Rookie #8 PSA Mint 9 – Only Three Graded Higher…. $250,000 – up. $348,000
1969 Topps Wilt Chamberlain #1 PSA Mint 9 – Pop Four, None Higher…. $40,000 – up. $276,000
1971 Topps Bert Blyleven Rookie #26 PSA Gem Mint 10–Dmitri Young Collection. … ? $138,000
1957 Topps Ted Williams #1 PSA Mint 9 – Only One Higher!… ? $138,000
1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #144 SGC NM 7…. $75,000 – up. $126,000
1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle #253 PSA NM 7…. $80,000 – up. $111,000
1972 Topps Pete Rose #559 PSA Gem Mint 10…. ? $66,000
1909-11 E90-1 American Caramel Joe Jackson SGC 40 VG 3…. $50,000 – up. $54,000
1915 D303 General Baking Honus Wagner (Batting) PSA VG 3…. $25,000 – up. $72,000
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Rookie #311 SGC VG 3…. $40,000 – up. $60,000
1957 Topps Bill Russell Rookie #77 PSA NM 7…. $50,000 – up. $48,000
1921 E121 American Caramel – Series of 80 Babe Ruth SGC VG 3…. $30,000 – up. $37,000
1909-11 T206 Piedmont 150 Sherry Magee “MAGIE” Error PSA VG 3 – The Hobby’s Most Famous Typo!… $20,000 – up. $31,000


Baseball Cards:Singles (1930-1939), 1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie #106 PSA Mint 9....

Basketball Cards:Singles (Pre-1970), 1969 Topps Wilt Chamberlain #1 PSA Mint 9 - Pop Four, None Higher....

Baseball Cards:Singles (1930-1939), 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #144 SGC NM 7....