August 2018 Summer Classic Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/1/2018
Al Kaline was one of the premier batsmen in the American League during baseball's Golden Era. He spent his entire 22-year big league carer patrolling the outfield in Detroit, collecting 3,007 hits during his long tenure with the Tigers, second in team history only to the legendary Ty Cobb. A 15-time All-Star, Kaline was to the Baby Boom generation of Michiganders what Mickey Mantle was to New Yorkers. Dubbed "Mr. Tiger" by the Detroit faithful, the hardworking Kaline was also highly respected by his peers, and had a true love for the game. "I couldn't wait to get to the ballpark," said Kaline, reflecting on his career. "I'd be the first one there and I was willing to do anything. I think that's why the veterans liked me." A member of the beloved 1968 World Series Champion Tigers team, Kaline was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.

As every enthusiast of early Topps cards knows, anytime you can score a key card in a grade above PSA 8, you are entering rarefied air. Cards in grades higher than near mint-mint are eagerly sought out by well-heeled hobbyists, and thus the price for such high-grade specimens can jump two, three, or even fourfold for a mere point or even half-point grade uptick. Such is the case with Al Kaline's 1954 Topps #201 rookie card. PSA's Sports Market Report (SMR) lists the value of a PSA 8 Kaline RC at $4,500, while it conservatively prices a PSA 8.5 at $7,500. However, this card has recently sold for as much as $13,200 in a PSA 8.5 holder, a record sale realized in an October 2017 REA Auction. When two or three serious collectors are competing for a particular card, you can throw the SMR out the window—all bets are off when it comes to the market for the top cards in the hobby.

We contend that the PSA 8.5 NM-MT+ Kaline rookie card offered here is as gorgeous as the REA record setter. Exhibiting brilliant colors, sharp corners, good centering and absolutely perfect image registration, it is not only worthy of its high-end grade but should be considered by the winning bidder as a legitimate candidate for review with PSA for a possible Mint 9 upgrade. In order to catch this Tiger by its tail, you'll have to up the ante and go all in, because finding a Kaline rookie as nice as this one is tougher than drawing a royal flush.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,500
Final prices include buyers premium: $6,537
Number Bids: 7
Auction closed on Saturday, September 1, 2018.
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