October 2018 Fall Classic Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/4/2018
The year 2001 was a turning point in baseball card history. It marked the beginning of the base set autographed rookie card, a revolutionary development that forever changed the hobby landscape. This revolution, if you will, was essentially launched by two signed rookie cards: Albert Pujols's 2001 Bowman Chrome #340 and Ichiro Suzuki's 2001 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection #120. Although the Pujols card bears the iconic Bowman Chrome label, the Ichiro card was signed in half the quantity (250 to Pujols's 500). The Japanese legend's rookie is also exceptionally more condition sensitive than that of the Dominican-born superstar. Combining data from PSA and BGS, there have been 340 of Prince Albert's '01 Bowman Chrome card graded in Mint 9 or better condition. Meanwhile, a mere 18 of Ichi's '01 Ultimate Collection have earned a Mint or better mark. You don't need a PhD in Applied Mathematics to see which card is tougher to find in top shape!

Up for bids here is a gorgeous and review-worthy example of Ichiro's 2001 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection #120, in extremely high-end BGS 9 Mint condition. With three of the four subgrades scoring 9 or better, it is definitely high-end for its technical grade, a mere whisker away from ranking among the top five copies in the hobby. Serial numbered 162/250 and autographed by the Mariners rookie in blue ink, the signature is one of the best we've seen, as fading autos have been an endemic problem throughout this product. The corners appear nearly perfect, as do the edges and both surfaces, leaving one to wonder exactly what is keeping it from becoming what would be just the third BGS 9.5 Gem Mint copy on record.

Confirmed sales of this card are few and far between, as most are nestled away in permanent collections throughout North America and Asia. Small Traditions brokered a BGS 8.5 with an 8 autograph grade for a relative bargain at $3,047 last year. The last transaction we uncovered before that was a Love of the Game auction from the previous August, where a PSA 7 specimen sold for $2,091, setting a new record for its grade. The card offered here is vastly superior to both of those cards in every way, and it will be a centerpiece in even the most advanced of collections. Do not miss out on this remarkably rare opportunity to secure for yourself one of the hobby's famed modern treasures!

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,500
Final prices include buyers premium: $6,247
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Sunday, November 4, 2018.
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