When it was announced that the highest-graded T206 collection on the PSA registry was up for auction, we knew the prices would be staggering. With numerous 8s, 9s, and 10s, the cards figured to do quite well.
PSA’s Joe Orlando weighs in with the final amount – more than $8 million.
Some records are broken, but others are annihilated. What a night for the hobby. The finest T206 baseball card set ever assembled broke the $8 million mark tonight without a Wagner! Hundreds of individual records were set. This PSA 8 Sherry Magee (Magie error) sold for $660,000: pic.twitter.com/3ZOzkarZwh
— Joe Orlando (@JoeOrlandoPSA) September 21, 2018
A few prices were, well, gigantic. The most expensive card was the Eddie Plank PSA 7, which sold for $690,000. The Magie PSA 8 error card was right behind it at $660,000. Outside of the Big Four, the Ty Cobb green background card was a PSA 8 and brought in $360,000. Others were just as impressive and 13 cards each sold for more than $100,000.
These sorts of crazy values won’t affect most of us not chasing high-grade pre-war tobacco cards. Not everyone has five (let alone, six) figures to drop on a single card, so the prices on these ultra expensive cards won’t register with a good many collectors. Impressive? Obviously. But the numbers just sort of float by for the majority of us out there, myself included.
So given that, what can we get from this? Well, a few things.
For one thing, it means that bidding is very competitive for these cards. Even if only, say, a dozen bidders are interested, high-grade cards can still do quite well. All it takes, after all, is only two motivated parties for things to escalate pretty quickly. Many prices for these cards outperformed expectations and that’s because bidding was very intense.
Second, it proves that high-grade stuff will do exponentially well. A lot of collectors will point out some inconsistencies with grading and ultimately determine that it shouldn’t mean very much. But ‘shouldn’t’ and ‘don’t’ are two different things. We can all debate how seriously these grades should matter. But what is not up for discussion is that they do, in fact, matter.
Even if a grade may seemingly be off, those actual grades matter quite a bit. When you get into the upper grades for a card, the difference between a single number grade can mean five figures. That doesn’t mean you should be rushing to resubmit your PSA 8 Tony Gwynn 1983 Topps rookie in hopes of it getting a PSA 9. I generally think the resubmit grade is kind of silly for like 99% of the stuff out there. But in terms of the ultra pricey stuff, every number matters a lot. That’s especially true if you’re talking about a card that is the highest graded of its kind.
I wrote a while back about the importance of grading companies. That article dealt more with things such as avoiding forgeries, gaining a degree of consistency, and such. But grading companies also play an important role in that the card market has gotten exponentially bigger because of them. Before grading companies, a nearly perfect card would often be worth what a price guide said. Now, a perfect graded card can be worth 20, 30, or 40 times that. Whether or not you deal in high-grade cards is really irrelevant. Those higher-grade cards help improve the overall value of all cards.
Finally, the sales from this week also continue to show us that T206 remains extraordinarily hot. At this point it sounds like a broken record and I’m actually somewhat tired of repeating that point. But it’s still true.
Yes, the cards are not overly rare. These high-graded ones certainly are but I’d counter that there are more high-grade T206 cards than the other major pre-war issues, too. The sale prices here continue to prove that collectors are really into T206 right now and when that train slows down is anybody’s guess. I’ve always personally felt there are probably better long-term investments out there (such as T205, for example) but it’s clear that that is a minority opinion at this point.
T206 cards, right now, are absolutely driving the bus when it comes to the industry.