Let’s talk Sports collectibles!

Brooklyn Dodgers 1952 Panoramic photograph autograph Jackie Robinson Roy Campanella Duke Snider RR Auction

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

NEW! RR’s dedicated Sports Department!

Kath at RR here. We have exciting news! RR Auction is harkening back to its roots, by introducing a new dedicated Sports Department in 2018. Our CEO Bob Eaton began the company in 1976, as a teenaged collector of baseball cards himself. Now, we’re taking our decades of auction successes and applying them to curating the category that started it all: Sports collectibles, and especially, trading cards.

Louis Bollman is a well-known Sports collectibles expert, with more than 20 years of industry experience and a pedigree including several of the world’s finest auctions. He’s definitely our go-to person on trading cards knowledge! We’re happy to have his expertise on our team here at RR Auction.

Here’s what Louis had to tell me about our foray into the past, present and future of Sports collectibles:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_empty_space height=”40px”][ra_box_rounded image=”8673″][vc_column_text]Louis Bollman, sports expert at RR Auction.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Let’s talk Sports collectibles!

Kath Palmer: How did you get started in the world of Sports collectibles, Louis?

Louis Bollman: When I was 12, I heard about a Napoleon Lajoie baseball trading card, and I needed to know the mystique – why it sold for so much money. It started my quest. As it turns out, it was made by a Boston company. New England has a rich tradition of producing baseball cards: Goudeys, DeLong, regional issues… Collectors should “bring ‘em home” to Boston via RR Auction [laughs].

KP: We New Englanders are certainly passionate about sports. I’m sure there are lots of Sports collectibles in the hands of local fans and families.

LB: I know hidden among the attics and safe deposit boxes, there are hidden Babe Ruth items. I’d really like to get at those. At one Sports collectibles expo, a person came up to my table with a 1915 Red Sox team-signed baseball with Babe Ruth on it. I would have paid 100 grand for it. It was a historic museum piece. It was heartbreaking to watch it walk away.

KP: For those folks who have a collection of trading cards or other sports memorabilia and who might be new to the process, what should they keep in mind when considering putting items up for auction?

LB: The first thing would be, leave it alone; don’t try and evaluate the worth of the items yourself. I personally have 20 years of evaluation experience and have curated hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of materials at auction. The vast experience our whole team of experts has is ready to do that work for you. We’re your advocate in the market. We’re on your side.

Autographed baseball Babe Ruth RR Auction
Autographed baseball, Babe Ruth. Sold by RR Auction for $24,147.


What’s hot in Sports collectibles

KP: Louis, tell us what items are the most sought-after currently in Sports collectibles.

LB: The best situation is fresh collections – meaning, the same card or item hasn’t been around the auction block before. It’s the very first time it’s being offered for purchase. Estate collections are great for that. As to sports figures, Mickey Mantle is extremely hot right now, as is Babe Ruth. Baseball cards with extreme interest currently are pre-1976. Also in demand are deceased Hall of Famers, autographs, awards, pennants, rings, game-used equipment, etc. Rookie cards in high grade are also extremely hot right now.

KP: Speaking of grading, how does that work?

LB: The grade is determined by the physical properties of the item – its condition – and whether it matters or not is what and who it is. We’re willing to evaluate all collections at RR Auction, all potential consignments, with our free appraisal service.

KP: What are some of the more unique items you’ve evaluated?

LB: One thing that’s highly sought is displays. For example, around 1961, Post Cereal put trading cards on their boxes to cut out. What’s really rare are those advertising pieces from in-store displays. The players also embarked on these ‘barnstormer tours,’ like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig touring the country. Advertisements, posters, programs for that are also highly desired.


Why sell with RR Auction?

KP: Whether they’re new to selling Sports collectibles at auction or are seasoned consignors and collectors, what would you say is the best reason to sell with RR Auction?

LB: For the ‘been-around’ people: It’s time you got another perspective. There’s a reason for the way we handle things here – it’s the reason I chose to be part of the RR Auction team. Accountability to our clients and personalized customer service. Let us be your advocate. We’re all collectors ourselves.

KP: We also offer generous cash advances. Should consignors worry about the robustness of the market for Sports collectibles?

LB: Not at all. There are buyers for everything. In fact, there’s often more money in a down-market.

Ready to step up to the plate? Contact us for your free appraisal![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Space auction results: We broke another world sales record!

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin holding a flown US flag presentation signed by the entire crew, plus his additional autograph on flag itself. Sold by RR Auction.


Rocket-powered results!

Kath at RR here. Last night (Nov. 17), RR Auction achieved a new world record for a publicly sold, flown U.S. flag. Our Space auction sold an Apollo 11 crew-signed flown flag presentation for $120,693 – more than double the previous sales record… which we had also set!

What made this flag especially desirable to collectors was that in addition to being signed by the entire Apollo 11 crew on the presentation, Buzz Aldrin signed again in the flag itself. We had a photo of Buzz holding the presentation as part of the lot (our main photo, above).

Many items relating to the Apollo 11 mission were highly successful. The beautiful solid gold Lunar Module replica created for Buzz Aldrin by Cartier sold for an incredible $149,862:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][ra_box_rounded image=”8593″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

And Aldrin’s flown page of “Go to Descent” instructions – uniquely featuring notations by Neil Armstrong – realized a price of $78,346.

More out of this world results

Other noteworthy sales included:

  • Apollo 17 flown Robbins Medal, which sold for $37,481;
  • Dave Scott’s Apollo 15 lunar orbit-flown CSM Systems Data Book that achieved a sales price of a whopping $60,995. (A video of the book contents is here).


This auction featured The Bill Lende Collection of rare and remarkable correspondences. Several personally written letters by the eventual history-making astronauts were highly sought after by bidders. Written before their legendary missions, these correspondences offer insight into the U.S. space race as well as a glimpse into the thoughts and hopes of these men – often via seemingly prescient observations.


To wit: Neil Armstrong, writing in 1963, in a correspondence that sold at the auction for $11,837, stated:

“Exploration in space, as in any other area, provides answers to old questions, but, perhaps more importantly, provides new questions.”

Michael Collins’ letter, which sold for $18,616, noted:

“The ultimate value of our lunar landing program cannot be outlined in detail at this time, just as it was impossible to foresee all the uses to which the Wright brothers’ invention.”

We also offered several meteorites from Aerolite Meteorites, including this lunar one retrieved from northwest Africa that sold for $2,749:[/vc_column_text][ra_box_rounded image=”8594″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

See the full list of auction results here. For more information on how to consign your own Space collectibles with us, go to https://rrauctionsellconsignments.com/sell-space-exploration/.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

RR Auction attends Space Rendezvous 2017!

RR Auction Tricia Eaton Space Rendezvous 2017 Geoff Notkin meteorite collection


Tricia at RR here:

As our CMO, I was proud to represent RR Auction at Space Rendezvous in sponsorship of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation the weekend of November 4, 2017 (that’s me at our booth, above). Having the privilege to meet dozens of our clients face to face over the course of the Saturday show at the Kennedy Space Center was such a treat! It’s always nice to put a face to the name and hear firsthand why RR is leading the Space market.

Getting settled in Florida early before the Rendezvous events gave us the opportunity to visit two Space clients, including our longtime partner Ken Havekotte of Space Coast Cover Service. Having worked on several auctions with Ken over the past 5 years, it was wonderful to finally meet him and his wife Theresa in person and spend some time connecting and viewing Ken’s amazing collection!

The gala held at the Hilton Cocoa Beach on Saturday evening was especially engaging, with a speaker panel including Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart (two photos, below). He is sharp as a tack and had some of the most insightful views on the history “NASA: Past, Present, and Future” (the weekend’s tag line). Also included on the panel was Apollo-Soyuz member Vance Brand, and the moderator, five-time Shuttle veteran “Hoot” Gibson – who was certainly a “hoot!” The nickname is well-founded.

At the show we promoted our wonderful new partnership with Geoff Notkin of Aerolite Meteorites and noted “Meteorite Man” fame (see photo of our booth with meteorites front and center). After having great success with Geoff’s meteorites in our October Space sale, we are offering more in our November auction, including this amazingly rare Northwest Africa Lunar Meteorite. At the RR table, we also sold copies of our November Exploration Auction catalog to benefit the ASF, and we ended up having quite a few generous patrons.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”8546″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Also making an appearance at the Rendezvous Space Autograph and Memorabilia Show was Apollo 15 CMP Al Worden (pictured here at his table with an authentic spacesuit). As it happens, RR is actually auctioning a fishing trip with Al Worden – all proceeds will benefit the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

Our November Space Exploration Auction, featuring The Bill Lende Collection, also has a fantastic set of offerings from the ASF, including books straight from Apollo 17 CDR Gene Cernan’s personal library, to benefit charity. Go to astronautscholarship.org to discover more about the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and their contributions to ensuring America’s world leadership in technology and innovation, whilst honoring the legacies of our pioneering astronauts.

Though the ASF is currently undecided on where next year’s Space Rendezvous will be, I can tell you one thing: RR Auction will be there with our continued support![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

– Tricia Eaton is the Chief Marketing Officer at RR Auction.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][ra_box_rounded image=”8667″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][ra_box_rounded image=”8668″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Hot trend alert: Watch sales at auction

Watch the watches

Wise collectors will take notice of recent record-breaking auction sales in the form of timepieces. At RR Auction, we are recognizing that watch sales at auction are trending as one of the highest-grossing growth items in the collectibles world.

On Oct. 26, Paul Newman’s wristwatch garnered $17.8 million at auction, the highest price ever achieved. The actor’s iconic Rolex Cosmograph Daytona set a world record via the sale at auction house Phillips. The price is more than $6 million more than the previous record-holder – a rare, stainless steel Patek Philippe watch – and is a stunning increase of more than $12 million over the prior record-holding Rolex sold just a few months earlier that belonged to Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam.

But Newman’s wristwatch price is eclipsed by a 1933 pocket watch by Patek Philippe, which sold at a 2015 auction at Sotheby’s for $24.4 million.  

Time to sell?

It’s not just collectors of watches and fine jewelry that are fascinated by these high ticket item offerings. RR Auction has seen firsthand how watch sales at auction cross categories. We’ve had remarkable success selling watches owned by astronauts to our Space collectors. Moonwalker Dave Scott’s flight-worn Bulova wristwatch (shown above – complete with scratched face and dirt/debris from its time on the lunar surface!) sold at auction for $1.625 million – at the time, it was the most expensive American Space artifact ever sold at auction. Alan Shepard’s Apollo 14 Vacheron Constantin watch achieved a price of more than $81,000. We also sold cosmonaut Gennady Padalka’s flown Omega Speedmaster Pro for nearly $40,000.

If you’d like to talk to one of our specialists
about watch sales at auction, contact us.