Market Report: Tiger Woods Rookie Reaches New Level, an Auction Recap, and a Few Thoughts on Hawaii (2023)

Market Report: Tiger Woods Rookie Reaches New Level, an Auction Recap, and a Few Thoughts on Hawaii (1)

Tiger Woods Card Breaks the $100,000 Mark!

Hold on to your hats people because you are not going to believe this one. A 1996 SI For Kids Tiger Woods card graded Gem Mint 10 by PSA sold for an astonishing $125,000 this past week. That's right, $125,000! This is not only the highest price ever recorded for a modern card but it is also one of the highest prices realized of all-time.

The seller, Mike Souza of American Pastime Investments in San Diego, was excited to be a part of hobby history. "This is simply great news for the hobby," said an excited Souza. "When I first saw this card, I knew it had a chance at making the "10" grade. There was no evidence of yellowing or print on either side of the card, which is a common condition problem for this issue. This has to be the highest price paid for a post-1952 sportscard in any grade."

The buyer remains anonymous.

Here are the top 30 prices realized of all time for PSA graded cards:


PSA ItemsPrice Realized
T206 Honus Wagner PSA NM-MT 8$1,265,000
T206 Honus Wagner PSA NM-MT 8$640,500
T206 Honus Wagner PSA VG-EX 4$325,000
1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle PSA Gem Mint 10$325,000
T206 Eddie Plank PSA NM-MT 8$203,000
T206 Joe Doyle Variation PSA Good 2$178,598
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA Gem Mint 10$160,000
T206 Honus Wagner PSA VG 3$145,314
1915 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson PSA 9$125,000
1996 SI For Kids Tiger Woods PSA Gem Mint 10$125,000
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA Gem Mint 10$121,000
1954 Topps Hank Aaron PSA Gem Mint 10$110,000
1941 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio PSA Mint 9$109,510
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA Gem Mint 10$104,500
1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #181 PSA Mint 9$100,050
1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #144 PSA Mint 9$100,000
1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle PSA Mint 9$100,000
1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie PSA Mint 9$95,700
1953 Topps Willie Mays PSA Gem Mint 10$94,798
1953 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA Gem Mint 10$94,000
1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie PSA Mint 9$91,466
1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #181 PSA Mint 9$90,000
1952 Topps Willie Mays PSA Gem Mint 10$90,000
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA Mint 9$88,217
1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #181 PSA Mint 9$87,729
1933 Goudey Sport King Babe Ruth PSA Mint 9$85,174
T206 Christy Mathewson (portrait) PSA Mint 9$84,100
1952 Topps #1 Andy Pafko PSA Gem Mint 10$83,870
1863 Harry Wright Benefit Card PSA Authentic$83,542
T206 Eddie Plank PSA Near Mint 7$82,411

Starting the Year with a Bang, SportsCards Plus Auction exceeds $950,000 Mark

With over 240 lots of high-quality material, SportsCards Plus enjoyed a competitive night of bidding during their last sale. When the phone stopped ringing, the auction finished with $961,618 of total bids. Several strong prices were recorded, including a bid of $79,876 for the incredibly rare 1932 U.S. Caramel Fred Lindstrom graded PSA 3 VG. It was the first Lindstrom graded by PSA and, believe it or not, only the second example known to exist.

David Kohler, President of SportsCards Plus, was pleased with the overall performance of his latest offering. "Overall, we were very pleased with the results," said Kohler. "This was really the first major auction of the year and, with the stock market in the condition that it's in, this was a great sign for the hobby. I was starting to think that our prices would suffer from the decline in the economy, but with our success and a few more price records broken, it is apparent that the economy in the card business is great."

Below is a sampling of highlights from the sale:

CardPSA GradePrice Realized
1932 U.S. Caramel Fred Lindstrom #163$79,876
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #3118$35,599
1954 Dan Dee Mickey Mantle9$27,110
1919 T213 Type 3 Coupon (batting)9$20,967
1969 Topps Super Mickey Mantle #2410$6,737
1997 Grand Slam Ventures Tiger Woods10$40,643
1939 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio #268$6,072
1939 Play Ball Ted Williams #928$8,452
1948 Leaf Ted Williams #768$7,519
1957 Topps Don Drysdale #189$9,370
1962 Topps Mickey Mantle(switch hitter) #3189$6,737
1959 Topps Mickey Mantle All-Star #5649$5,423
1961 Topps A.L. HR Leaders #449$1,988
1961 Topps Mickey Mantle #3009$6,417
1961 Topps Mantle Slams #3079$1,741
1962 Topps Yankees Team #2519$2,035
1964 Topps A.L. Bombers #3319$2,862
1964 Topps Stand-Up Mickey Mantle8$1,644
1903 E107 Breisch Williams Cy Young5$7,429
1934 Zee Nut w/coupon Joe DiMaggio5$16,019
1909-11 T206 Red Kleinow - Boston8$3,179
1911 T201 Mecca Double Folder (Mathewson)8$4,314
1915 Sporting News John McGraw #1148$2,112
1948 Leaf Stan Musial #48$6,111
1948 Leaf Alvin Dark (SP) #518$2,623
1948 Leaf Gene Hermanski (correct spelling) #1028$3,974
1955 Bowman Elston Howard #589$2,295
1957 Topps Dodgers Sluggers #4008$2,304
1960 Topps Eddie Mathews All-Star #5589$1,529
1964 Topps Stand-Up Hank Aaron8$1,345
1964 Topps Stand-Up Willie Mays8$1,189
1956 Topps George Blanda #1110$3,084
1961 Topps Jim Brown #719$974
1963 Topps Jim Brown #149$4,631
1952-53 Parkhurst Gordie Howe #888$2,300

There were some tremendous prices and the overall interest was solid. Kohler was quick to point out some trends after the sale was over. "I just think that quality and rarity are always at the forefront," explained Kohler. "Bidders are not afraid to pay a premium for truly rare material, even if the card is so obscure that it's not even listed in the price guide. They know, as time goes on, that SMR will include all the significant sales and key issues as prices come in. They feel more secure about purchasing these types of rarities. There seemed to be increased interest in the 1964 Topps Stand Ups as well. We were able to offer the keys in high-grade and the bidders responded."

A Few Thoughts about Hawaii

This year, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Hawaii Trade Conference. During the conference, there were many events where industry leaders would discuss various pertinent topics. The most interesting topic, as always, surrounded card grading and authentication. While segments of the discussion were informative, the event became comical after the moderator, Kevin Savage, opened the panel up to questions from the floor. Here is a sampling of comments and questions to which industry leader PSA and other grading services were subject. By the way, you're supposed to laugh.

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"Why can't all grading services have the same standard. If I send a card to one service and it is a NM-MT, why doesn't it come back NM-MT from all the other services?"

The gentleman in the audience wants all the services to be the same. Not only is this impossible to accomplish, but it also makes absolutely no business sense whatsoever. The point of running a grading service is to separate your business from the rest. In other words, each company is claiming to be the standard based on the level of skill of their graders and their reputation in the hobby. The standard for grading is the primary basis for competition between the services. If they all were the same, which is an impossibility, there would be no point to having more than one grading service. Even one of the panelists, a spokesperson from a competitor, asked that all grading services share grading techniques and counterfeit discoveries. That would be like one five-star restaurant giving a secret recipe to all of their competitors. That way, you could get the exact same meal wherever you go.

I don't think PSA is about to share their expertise because that is what makes them the industry leader.

"Why can't you design a holder that would make it impossible to break the card out?"

This comment came from a hobby columnist who claims to be the defender of "good" in the hobby. He claimed that he was concerned that collectors might resubmit their cards too often and he was blaming the services for allowing this to happen. First of all, collectors will do what they want to do. A grading service cannot control them and they should not be held responsible for collector actions. By the way, what is the problem with a card being resubmitted? Second, what would happen if the holder became scratched in the mail or damaged by accident? Are you then saying that the card could not be re-holdered? Finally, the holders created by the top services are tamper-evident, so you have nothing to worry about in regards to card switching, etc.

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A holder needs to be tamper-evident not impenetrable.

"Why do you make graded card prices go up but not ungraded prices? That doesn't make any sense."

Brought to you by the same man who wants cards to be permanently encapsulated. Every year this man bashes card grading at the show and he bashes card grading in his hobby column. Listen, it's one thing to not like grading, but now he is attacking graded card pricing and he is blaming the grading services for it. Guess what? Collectors determine the price of graded cards and price guides report them, they are not made up out of thin air! If you can't move your ungraded vintage cards, maybe there is a reason for it. Maybe, just maybe, collectors prefer graded cards because they are evaluated by a third party and they don't want to take your word for it (the dealer who is selling them the card). The dealer/columnist says, "I think it is a nice card, probably NM-MT, a PSA 8." Well, if it is and you are so confident in the card, why don't you send it in for grading? I'll tell you why. It's because grading has exposed overgrading, the obvious conflict of interest between the dealer and the collector.

The buyer determines the price, not the grading services.

The people in this hobby who really care about the state of the industry are the people who support grading and authentication in all its forms. Without it, collectors of cards, bats, autographs, and jerseys are left feeling insecure about their purchases. The sports collectibles market is improving each day, but it is because of attitudes like these that we will not move ahead as quickly as the hobby should. If you want the hobby to keep that "flea market" stereotype and remain unregulated, then be prepared to deal with the element that you support.

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Remember that you don't have to like grading or authentication, it's just that the war is over. It's here to stay so don't get left behind. As a suggestion to collectors, especially new ones, make sure you question the intention of those dealers who do not support authentication or grading. Do they not like card grading, for instance, because they don't like the holders or is it because they don't want to be exposed for overgrading or selling counterfeits or forgeries? They may have a good answer, but it is up to you, the collector, to find out what their true intentions are.

Superior's Spring Training Action is here!

If you are a collector if high-quality sportscards, you have to check out Superior Sports Auctions' current offering. The sale closes on March 22 so it's a great time to get a head start on the competition. There is an assortment of vintage PSA Gem Mint 10's that would rival any auction in hobby history. Names like Mantle, Aaron, Berra, Snider, Reese, Maris, and Banks are all represented in Gem Mint form. How often do you see pre-1970 cards in that grade? In addition, there are tons of high-grade examples starting with some Mint 9 gems from the T206 set to a Gem Mint McGwire rookie. Click here to check out the entire auction.

Market Report: Tiger Woods Rookie Reaches New Level, an Auction Recap, and a Few Thoughts on Hawaii (2)
Market Report: Tiger Woods Rookie Reaches New Level, an Auction Recap, and a Few Thoughts on Hawaii (3)


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