Top Willie Mays Collection Brings $1.2 Million in Memory Lane 2019 Spring Auction

Ranked as the best on the PSA Set Registry for 15 years, a comprehensive collection of rare and high-grade Willie Mays baseball cards sold for a combined $1.2 million in Memory Lane's Spring catalog auction early Sunday morning (4/7).

The 282-card collection included more than 92% of all known Mays cards, with a weighted GPA of 8.07.

The highest selling card in the "Mays Fan Club" collection was a 1961 Topps Dice Game test issue Mays graded PSA 6. One of only two known examples, the card sold for a whopping $85,200, one of the top prices paid for any of the few cards from the set that have reached auction. The same card had sold in a January 2014 auction for just under $31,000. Recent research has trended toward the set as having been created in 1963 rather than 1961.

Two dozen cards from the Mays collection sold for over $10,000 each. A 1953 Topps #244 rated 8.5 by PSA soared to $59,376, a record price for the grade.

A PSA 9 1952 Bowman #218 sold for $51,600, a PSA 8 #305 rookie card netted $49,200, a PSA 10 1959 Topps #464 reached $33,988, a PSA 9 1962 Topps #300—one of the ten best on PSA's Pop Report—netted $28,180, a PSA 10 1963 Fleer #5 sold for $26,660, a 1962 Topps Venezuelan #54 NL Home Run Leaders graded 8.5 sold for $23,188 and a 1967 Topps Fence Buster #423 went for $20,198.

Mays Fun Club Collecion.

In all, more than 1,000 lots were offered in the catalog, which featured vintage and modern sports cards and memorabilia. Sales totaled over $3.1 million.

Mays Fun Club Collecion.

"We're very happy. We had an amazing auction with several record prices," said Memory Lane's J.P. Cohen. "The market really seems as strong as it's ever been."

The top-selling item was a 1939 Play Ball Ted Williams rookie card graded PSA 9. One of 12 at that level on PSA's Pop Report (one higher), the card sold for $180,000.

A near set of 470 1909-1911 T206 cards, all graded, led a large section of pre-War card lots, selling for $79,200.

T206 Ty Cobb cards remain hot with a Red Portrait Old Mill back graded PSA 8 selling for $75,600 and a Green Portrait Cobb rated PSA 6 bringing $36,580. Other T206 sales of note included a PSA 9 Red Kleinow at $18,224 and a Sherry "Magie" error card graded PSA 2 ($17,226).

Other sales of century-old cards included a rare 1903 Breisch Williams Cy Young graded 5 ($66,000) and a 1915 Cracker Jack Eddie Collins rated PSA 8.5 ($12,712).

Dozens of high-grade and rare post-War cards were offered, topped by a 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente rookie card. Graded PSA 8, it sold for $41,376. A 1969-70 Topps Lew Alcindor rookie card graded PSA 9 also drew a crowd before selling for $38,976.

Memory Lane offered a PSA 4.5 example of one of the hobby's rarest bubble gum era cards, the 1948-49 Leaf #8 Satchel Paige. Bidders chased it to the tune of $32,650. Mickey Mantle cards remained strong with a rare PSA 10 example of the relatively common 1968 Topps Game card rocketing to new heights at $11,943.

Even "common" cards from the early 1950s can sell for uncommon prices in high grade with PSA 9 versions of the 1952 Topps Eddie Pellagrini ($15,200) '52 black back Jim Hegan ($9,612) and 1953 Topps Ted Kluszewski ($10,734) proof of that. Even a 1952 Topps baseball 1-cent display box netted $4,554.

The auction included some photos and autographs from early baseball icons including a Lou Gehrig signed government postcard ($5,011), a Connie Mack signed postcard ($5,570) and a George Grantham Bain photo of Babe Ruth from his early days with the Yankees ($6,669).

All prices include the buyer's premium of 20 percent.

Memory Lane's next auction is slated for this summer. Consignments are being accepted through June 15th.