Auction recap: Taylor Swift's 'rookie' card hits record high

Swift is breaking records all over the place, and that includes the card market

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Despite the presence of nemesis Kanye West, Taylor Swift's first Topps card sold for more than $6,200.

Two superstar debuts — one a ticket and the other magazine — highlight this week's auction recap.

But our attention also was focused on the "rookie" card for the biggest name in music ... and one of the biggest stars in the world.

Let's visit "The Tortured Poets Department" and recap the top items sold at auction over the weekend.

2011 Topps American Pie Taylor Swift/Kanye West Spotlight Foil PSA 9

Price: $6,255

Swift's de facto rookie card is already shockingly rare. PSA has graded less than 200 of the base versions and just 20 have received PSA 10 designations.

This example, a little-known parallel numbered to /76, is one of just three PSA 9s with none higher. This sale represents the highest price paid for the card, in any grade or variation, ever.

Stern: I had never heard of this short print version of the well-known Swift card. And I bet neither have most collectors. Considering Swift's global impact and obvious collectibility, this feels low for a record-setting result of a pretty iconic card. I wouldn't be shocked to see more come to market following this result.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's NBA debut full ticket PSA 10

Price: $1,170

PSA has only graded 13 full tickets from Antetokounmpo's NBA debut a PSA 10. This sale represents a marked decline from mere months ago, when another PSA 10 example fetched $2,400 in February.

Stern: Yes, tickets are decidedly not hot right now. And, yes, Giannis has been sidelined since April 9. But we're still talking about the Greek Freak here. The outcome of this season will do nothing to alter his Hall of Fame career when its all said and done ... I think someone got an absolutley unbelievable steal here, especially considering the low population.

My only thought on a negative impact on the desirability of this ticket could be that it features Carmelo Anthony prominently, rather than Giannis, however, it's incredibly rare to see an NBA debut ticket actually display the relevant player anyway.

Titanic pocket watch

Price: $1.48 million

A gold pocket watch found on the body of the wealthiest Titanic passenger, John Jacob Astor IV, sold Saturday in England for $1.48 million, setting a record for the highest amount ever paid for an item associated with the doomed ship.

Stern: This is the exact sort of thing I expect rich people to spend their money on: Other rich people's stuff. (I am aware that the Titanic's historic relevance is also of note, though, come on...)

1955 Willie Mays & Leo Durocher Sports Illustrated CGC 9.6

Price: $16,200

This represents a record price paid for this issue, which is one of just five graded CGC 9.6 with one higher. High-grade copies of Mays' debut Sports Illustrated cover rarely, if ever, come to auction.

Stern: This result rightfully places Mays among the upper echelon of Sports Illustrated debuts. The shocking lack of comps or liquidity in the market for one of the 20th centuries biggest stars' SI debut only lends more credence to the eye-popping price. If we see the sole 9.8 copy come to market, I'd expect we see a number close to 5 times this result.

Lincoln wanted poster

Price: $200,000

A first printing of a wanted poster from the assassination of President Lincoln set a record at Heritage last week.

The most famous wanted poster in American history was issued by the U.S. War Department on April 20, 1865, five days after Lincoln died. He was shot the night before at Ford's Theatre in Washington while watching a performance of the play "Our American Cousin."

Stern: Beyond the obvious 'wow factor' here, the point that really makes this item stand out to me is its provenance. It was passed down through generations of the same family, from the time of Lincoln's death up until this auction in 2024.

1994 Upper Deck Mantle/Griffey Jr. (Autograph) card

PSA 6 / Auto 9 Price: $8,100

BGS 9 / Auto 9 Price: $7,800

Over the weekend, two sales at Heritage show an even-greater willingness of collectors to eschew grader’s opinions in favor of their own

The famous 1994 Upper Deck Mantle/Griffey Jr. (autograph) card, which is one of the most celebrated dual-auto cards ever created, appeared twice at Heritage.

One card was graded a PSA 6 (condition) with a 9 autograph grade. The other featured a BGS 9 (condition) and a 9 condition grade.

Even considering PSA slabs’ premium to Beckett in the market, one would assume the Beckett card to run circles around the far inferior PSA slab considering their three-point condition discrepancy.

But that’s not what happened …

The "inferior" PSA slab sold for $8,100 while the BGS slab fetched $7,800.

Not a massive difference in the grand scheme of things, but looking at past sales, it’s clear collectors prize the autographs appearance far more than the condition of the card itself.

Will Stern is a reporter and editor for cllct.