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Rare pre-war baseball cards set world record prices in Dallas

A complete set of rare pre-war baseball cards has set a series of new world records at auction in Dallas.
Released in 1933, the 240-card Goudey set was the first series of baseball cards ever issued with packs of bubble gum.

For modern collectors it is regarded as one of the ‘Big Three’ sets, along with the 1952 Topps and pre-WWI T206 American Tobacco series, featuring the most desirable and sought-after cards in the hobby.

Having been graded as one of the finest-known PSA Registry sets in the world, the cards crossed the block at Heritage for a combined total of more than $1.17 million.

"Clearly we’re on the vanguard of a new hobby paradigm," said Chris Ivy, director of Sports Auctions at Heritage. "Our international bidding clientele is rewriting the record books for high-grade Registry Sets, and we expect to be fielding numerous calls today from other consignors anxious to take advantage of the opportunity to ride this wave of success."

Leading the collection were several cards depicting two of the game’s biggest icons – babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

Three cards featuring Ruth set new world record prices, staring with his #53 card from the set, graded PSA NM-MT 8, which sold for $191,200. This was followed by his #149 and #181 cards, each graded PSA NM-MT 8, which sold for $155,350 and $83,650 respectively.

There was also a new record price set for Gehrig’s #92 card, graded 8.5, which sold for $89,625.

"Represented no fewer than a half-dozen times in the 240-card compilation, Ruth and Gehrig blasted past hobby norms to set a world record for each and every one of their six appearances," said Ivy. "Dozens of ‘common’ cards likewise established new benchmarks in the seven-figure sale."

Further leading lots included the #106 card featuring Napoleon Lajoie, graded PSA NM-MT 8, which sold for $119,500; a rare uncut 24 card sheet, featuring stars such as Ruth, Charlie ‘Red’ Ruffing, Eppa Rixey, Jesse Haines and Tris Speaker, which sold for $95,600; and the first card from the series, #1 featuring Benny Bengough, which sold for $40,630.

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