If you've never seen a Robert Edward Auctions catalog, you should.
They are collectibles -- of phone book size proportion -- in their own right.
REA holds just one auction each year, generally in May. The 2012 catalog is more than 760-pages and weights five pounds. It features 1,590 lots -- most lavishly illustrated with beautifully written and deeply researched descriptions.
Adding to the mystique is that many items up for bid at REA are the stuff of dreams.
The company's 2012 auction includes a T206 Honus Wagner, a 1923 Babe Ruth bat, a book signed by Alexander J. Cartwright, a collection of 1860s carte de viste (CDV) baseball cards.
There are also numerous lots of interest to collectors of Jewish baseball cards, autographs and memorabilia.
The auction features 33 lots with Hank Greenberg cards and memorabilia, including:
- A Greenberg single-signed baseball;
- A 1945 Greenberg bat;
- And, Early Wynn's 1952 Cleveland Indians contract, signed by Greenberg as the team's general manager.
Fifty-eight lots feature Sandy Koufax cards and memorabilia, including:
- An autographed 1955 Topps Koufax rookie card;
- A full ticket from Koufax's first no hit game;
- And, a collection of 89 news photos of Koufax.
Other Jewish baseball related items up for bid are:
- A collection of 3X5 index cards autographed by baseball umpires, managers and broadcasters, including Mel Allen;
- Three lots featuring Moe Berg and the 1934 Tour of Japan memorabilia, including a team signed ball and program;
- A nearly complete 1919 Zeenut PCL card set with Sam Bohne;
- Three NY Giants team signed pieces featuring Harry Danning autographs;
- Four lots featuring Barney Dreyfuss, including Max Carey's 1912 contract, signed by Dreyfuss;
- Two multi-autograph lots that include Jimmie Reese signatures;
- Ten lots with Al Rosen cards and autographs;
- A 1930s Giants team autographed ball, including a Harry Rosenberg signature;
- Four lots featuring Al Schacht cards, photos and autographs, one of which (Lot 921) also includes a signature from Max Patkin.
Bidding on the 2012 Robert Edwards Auctions' sale runs through Saturday, May 12. Visit the online auction portal to bid. Collectors can also register, at no charge, for REA catalog mailings through the company's web site.
The 2012 auction is the most recent example of Robert Edward Auctions' distinct connection to Jewish baseball memorabilia.
Noted collector Barry Halper asked REA President Robert Lifson to personally oversee Sotheby's 1999 auction of The Barry Halper Collection of Baseball Memorabilia -- "the finest and largest private collection of memorabilia in the world," which realized more than $26 million.
Lifson, according to this May 2004 Beckett Sports Collectibles Magazine profile, selected items from Halper's vast collection to include in the auction, researched and wrote all of the lot descriptions, worked with Sotheby's to illustrate the stunning three-volume catalogue, and set all reserve prices and estimates.
In 2010, REA worked with Sy Berger to sell 150 lots of original Topps artwork belonging to the "father of the modern bubble-gum card." This included Lot 872, the painting from which Al Rosen's 1953 Topps card was designed (pictured right), which sold for $2,250.