Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XXV
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/12/2010
For the post-war collector, perhaps no set surpasses the 1952 Topps offering in terms of beauty, desirability and stature within the hobby. Truly iconic, the ’52 Topps set provided the world with a glimpse into the future of the sports cards and set the bar at a virtually unachievable level for excellence, design and photography.
Among the many treasures nestled within the set, card number 261, this Willie Mays represents one of the hobby’s hallowed gems. Baseball had yet to fall in love with Mays’ trademark smile and youthful exuberance. Despite coming off of a Rookie of the Year campaign in 1951, The Say Hey Kid was still a relative unknown at the time of printing. A speedy outfielder with a substantial upside, baseball’s establishment lacked the foresight to hand number twenty-four the keys to baseball’s kingdom, as he entered his second season. But all of baseball, and all of America, would soon witness just how truly amazing Mays would become.
When Mays retired following the 1973 season, he not only owned many of baseball’s most cherished records, he also owned the hearts of baseball fans in a way few players ever have or ever will. Mays exited the diamond owning 660 home runs, two 50 home run seasons, 13 consecutive seasons of at least 150 games played, the most All Star appearances with 24, two MVP’s, most Gold Gloves by an outfielder (12), and a list of amazing and impossible catches, including the greatest catch in World Series history, off the bat of Vic Wertz in 1954, that would fill an entire Sports Center broadcast.
This ’52 Mays that we proudly offer here represents one of the highest known specimens in the hobby. Among PSA grades, a miniscule 13 examples carry higher grades, including three PSA 9’s with qualifiers and a singular GEM 10. This museum grade artifact represents the pinnacle of excellence within the ’52 set. Graced with a deep, moody ink-like background, this Mays displays delicate shadowing and deep rich colors, particularly along the Giant outfielder’s face, which seems etched with concern.
Every border, every corner, every edge of this card has been delicately preserved over the past half-century. The borders reflect a milky white, while Mays autograph panel explodes like an icy, arctic blast. Topps purposely teased the public with high-grade card stocks and high level ink saturation in this set, all of which culminated perfectly in this masterpiece.
The appeal of this cardboard classic is irrefutable. The opportunity to own such a work could only be described as extraordinary.
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