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:
Louis Bollman, sports expert at RR Auction.
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.
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!