• <center><b>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>including Americana<br>February 16, 2023</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. CHAUCER, Geoffrey. <i>The Works…now newly imprinted.</i> Edited by F.S. Ellis. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [EINSTEIN, Albert (1879–1955)]. –– ORLIK, Emil (1870–1932), artist. Lithograph signed (“Albert Einstein”). N.p., 1928. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel. <i>[The Lord of the Rings trilogy:] The Fellowship of the Ring.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Two Towers.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Return of the King.</i> 1955. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne ("Mark Twain") and Charles Dudley WARNER. <i>The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.</i> Hartford and Chicago, 1873. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> LOVECRAFT, Howard Phillips. <i>Beyond the Wall of Sleep.</i> Collected by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1943. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Black Sun Press] Proust, Marcel, 47 Unpublished Letters from Marcel Proust to Walter Berry, Paris: The Black Sun Press, 1930. $400 to $600.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Williams, William Carlos (1883-1963), <i>Spring and All,</i> first edition, Paris: Contact Publishing Co., 1923. $400 to $600.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Washington, George (1732-1799), Autograph Letter Signed. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Poe, Edgar Allan (1809-1849), Autograph Letter Signed. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Thoreau, Henry David (1817-1862), Autograph Manuscript. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Paris Commnue], Photograph album. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Fleming, Ian (1908-1964), <i>Casino Royale,</i> first edition, London: Jonathan Cape, 1953. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Audubon, John James and the Rev. John Bachman, <i>The Quadrupeds of North America,</i> New York: V.G. Audubon, 1849, 1851, 1854. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Lewis, C.S. (1898-1963), <i>The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,</i> first edition, London: Geoffrey Bles Ltd, 1952. $600 to $800.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Bhagavad Gita] Wilkins, Charles, trans., <i>The Bhagvat-Geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon…,</i> first edition, London: Printed for C. Nourse, 1785. $700 to $1,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, <i>Faust: Eine Tragodie von Goethe,</i> Hammersmith: Printed by T.J. Cobden-Sanderson & Emery Walker at the Doves Press, 1906-1910. $800 to $1,200.
  • <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Thomas Paine ALS Confirming Christmas Eve Attack Likely Based on Anti-Christianity, “The account you heard of a man firing into my house is true.” $24,000 to $35,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> George Washington Gives a Horse and Guns to His Loyal Guard 10 Days Before Resigning as Commander-in-Chief. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> John Hancock ALS, “General Howe is bent on coming here” - Troops, Martha Washington, & 1777 Continental Congress, to Wife Dolly! $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Abraham Lincoln Boldly and Fully Signs Appointment of Consul Who Would Facilitate Bond Sales in Europe Financing Civil War. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> The Rarest of Dual Signed Kennedy Items! 1963 Christmas Card with "Blessed Christmas" Removed at the Last Minute for Kennedy's Jewish Friends. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> George Gershwin Signed Contract for 1st Production of <i>Porgy and Bess,</i> Also Signed by Dubose Heyward & Ira Gershwin, Historic! $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Einstein Signed, “Two years after the fall of the German Goyim” 1st Ed. of <i>Mein Weltbild.</i> $12,000 to $14,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Walt Disney <i>Fantasia</i>-Era Boldly Signed TLS Re: "Special Effects Department," PSA Certified Authentic & With Phil Sears COA. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> 1996-97 Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls Home Game-Worn Jersey Showcasing "Light" Evident Use, MEARS A5. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Wayne Gretzky’s 1994 All-Star Used Game Jersey, Inscribed to Former MLB Player! $4,500 to $5,500.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> <i>The Astronauts</i> Signed by All 7 Mercury Astronauts! $4,000 to $5,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Fabulous Edison, Firestone, Burroughs Signed Journal With 44 Original Photos, Very Rare. $4,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Il Ponte, Jan. 31:</b> BLAEU, Joannes and Martinus MARTINI - <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum, sive Novus Atlas. Pars sexta. Novus Altas Sinensis.</i> Amsterdam: Blaeu, 1655. €8.000 to €12.000.
    <b>Il Ponte, Jan. 31:</b> ORTELIUS, Abraham - <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum.. Nomenclator ptolemaicus.</i> Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1579. €10.000 to €15.000.
    <b>Il Ponte, Jan. 31:</b> PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista - <i>Carceri d'invenzione.</i> [Rome: G.B. Piranesi, second half of the 18th century]. €20.000 to €30.000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2020 Issue

Baseball Card Sells for Record Price of $3,936,000

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The $3.936 million Mike Trout SuperFractor baseball card.

Move over Honus Wagner. Wagner, the turn-of-the-century baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, has long ruled the collectible works on paper field known as baseball cards. We used to flip these in a contest with our friends (for many, our introduction to the joys of gambling). We bought them in packs of 5 for a nickel (with a free piece of bubblegum to boot). Now they have become multi-million dollar collectibles with an industry to support them. Times have changed.

 

In 2016, a T-206 Honus Wagner card sold for an astounding $3.12 million. Originally, it didn't even cost five for a nickel. It was given away as a premium in packs of cigarettes by the American Tobacco Co. between 1909-1911. It is a rarity though not extremely so. There are 57 in existence. It's relative rarity is attributable to the objection of Wagner himself, a nonsmoker. The astronomical price for this particular card is due to it being in superb condition, evidently never flipped by a boy's hands.

 

This record was recently broken by an even rarer baseball card, though it has little in common with the type of baseball cards we used to collect. This one was rare from the get-go, what, in the book world we call a “limited edition,” or some, less charitably, refer to as a “manufactured rarity.” Exactly why someone would pay so much money for a card produced just 11 years ago for a player still active in the big leagues is a mystery to me. Sure, Mike Trout is an unusually good ballplayer, a sure-fire hall of famer, perhaps the greatest player of his generation. Still, $3.936 million for a relatively recent baseball card seems totally absurd to those who think of baseball cards as a kid's toy. Even though this is a rookie card, inherently more valuable for ballplayers who go on to be great, and that Trout has signed it, almost $4 million still seems a bit steep. Indeed, in 2018 this card sold for a mere $400,000, and wasn't that an amazing investment!

 

Baseball cards have changed a lot since my youth. Topps is still the popular brand, but now they have luxury models to go along with the plain old cards we knew. This card is from the “Bowman Chrome” collection. These are cards mostly produced during a player's rookie season, and often are autographed by him. Naturally, if you buy one of these for a player who later turns into a star, say, Mike Trout, then you've got something special. On top of this, there is something known as “Refractor” cards. These have a rainbow finish that stands out depending on how the card is turned. A Bowman Chrome Refractor is evidently better than an ordinary Bowman Chrome, or an ordinary Refractor. Then, within these, there are different print runs, ranging from five to a couple of hundred. Goldin Auctions, which sold this recent record-breaker, sold one of these one-of-five Mike Trout Refractors, #5/5, last spring for a whopping $922,500.

 

But wait. There is a higher level still. There is something called a SuperFractor. Of these, there is but one. There is some sort of gold coloring in the background, but probably not real gold as gold is not worth anywhere near as much as these baseball cards. So, it was the 2009 Mike Trout SuperFractor Topps Bowman Chrome card #1/1 that came up for sale at Goldin Auctions with a minimum bid of $1 million. Such a low minimum was not needed. There were 20 bids in the online auction that met that minimum, and when the final bidder saved the other 19 from themselves, the bid was $3,936,000. You could buy a mansion on the beach for that. Most people will never make more than a fraction of that much money in their lives. When the masses arise and demand the confiscation of the wealth of the rich, they will point to this act of decadence as proof they don't need all that money. I'm sure it's a nice baseball card, but seriously, it's still a baseball card. It could be a SupercaliFractor-expialidocious card and it still wouldn't justify spending $3.936 million on a baseball card. What is wrong with people?


Posted On: 2020-11-01 11:55
User Name: bukowski

We are all collectors here and I’ve been collecting books for forty years, stamps for fifty-five years and baseball cards for fifty years. Why belittle baseball card collectors? They’re not any more odd than book collectors. The general population thinks that book collectors are odd balls. I doubt that you concur. Likewise, we baseball card collectors resent your sniggering suggestion that we are somehow lacking in taste and refinement. Your entire article is one long series of snide remarks and cheap cracks that smack of snobbery. Most unseemly. Don’t knock our hobbies, which are not mutually exclusive.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Original Film Posters<br>27 January - 10 February 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Vertigo (1958), poster, US. The ultimate poster on this classic Hitchcock title, one of three known examples. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Lawrence of Arabia (1962), roadshow poster, US. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Star Wars (1977), style C poster, printer's proof, US. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> The Navigator/ La Croisiere du Navigator (1924), re-release poster (1931), French. £5,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Bullitt (1968), special test poster, US. £3,000 to £5,000.
  • <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 817. Bellin's complete five-volume maritime atlas with 581 maps & plates (1764) Est. $24,000 - $30,000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 325. An early and important map of the Republic of Texas (1837) Est. $11,000 - $14,000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 45. De Bry's early map of North Pole depicting Willem Barentsz' expedition (1601) Est. $3,500 - $4,250
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 154. Poignant map of the United States documenting lynchings (1931) Est. $250 - $325
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 457. Extremely rare matching set of pro-German propaganda from WWI (1914) Est. $2,000 - $2,400
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 815. Homann's world atlas featuring 110 maps in contemporary color (1751) Est. $14,000 - $16,000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 60. Miniature pocket globe based on Herman Moll (1785) Est. $3,500 - $4,500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 8. Visscher's rare carte-a-figures world map (1652) Est. $14,000 - $16,000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 158. Matching satirical maps of the US by McCandlish: "Ration Map" & "Bootlegger's Map" (1944) Est. $3,000 - $4,000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 820. One of the finest English atlases of the early 19th century (1808) Est. $4,750 - $6,000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 59. Important milestone in preparation for 1969 moon landing (1963) Est. $750 - $900
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 805. Superb bible leaf with image of crucifixion of Jesus with gilt highlights (1518) Est. $800 - $950
  • <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Gideon Welles, <i>Extensive archive of personal and family papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy,</i> 1791-1914. Sold September 29 — $281,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Rock Climbers,</i> cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> watercolor, ink and gouache, 1954. Sold December 15 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Brontë, <i>Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell,</i> three volumes, first edition, 1847. Sold June 16, 2022 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Geoffrey Chaucer, <i>The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed,</i> London, 1542. Sold October 13 — $106,250.
    <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Dorothea Lange, <i>Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age 32),</i> silver print, 1936. Sold October 20 — $305,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> George Washington, Autograph Document Signed, with two manuscript plat maps in holograph, 1751. Sold October 27 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Winfred Rembert, <i>Winfred Rembert and Class of 1959,</i> dye on carved & tooled leather, 1999. Sold October 6 — $233,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> M.C. Escher, <i>Relativity,</i> lithograph, 1953. Sold November 3 — $81,250.

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