Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XLI
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 6/21/2012
“In 1952 Topps introduced cards which have become the prototype for all Topps cards issued ever since. Cards which include statistics, personal information, team emblems and color pictures of the players.”
-Bert Randolf Sugar, The Sports Collector’s Bible
In 1952, Topps enlisted 28-year old, WWII veteran and graphic designer Sy Berger to create “the ultimate baseball card set,” which would allow the company to dethrone rival Bowman as king of baseball cards and establish a foundation for future market dominance. Little did Topps realize just how wildly successful, and profitable, their “baseball card experiment” would be.
Berger, now regarded as the father of modern baseball cards, along with Woody Gelman, designed the iconic 1952 Topps baseball card template while working at Berger’s kitchen table in the designer’s small Brooklyn apartment.
In typical marketing hyperbole of the times, the back of every pack of 1952 Topps cards proclaimed:
“Topps Giant Baseball Picture Cards brings you for the very first time, full-color photographs of Big Leaguers --- in the New Big Size! Each card includes the player’s autograph, biography and official lifetime statistical record. Never offered before, this giant size, prize collection will be cherished through the years by every lover of the great American pastime.”
The marketing hype turned out to be true. In the beginning, sales proved to be sound with a drop off near the end of summer, particularly for the sixth and final series of the set, which produced the coveted Mickey Mantle rookie card.
True to the grand tradition of the 1952 Topps is this glorious example of pitcher Gene Beardon’s card, from the set’s Fourth Series. Graded as a MINT 9, this Beardon is the highest graded example on the books at PSA.
Beardon himself was a bit of a one-hit wonder. As a rookie knuckleballer, Beardon won 20 games for the pennant-winning Cleveland Indians and posted an AL best 2.43 ERA. The following season, Beardon became lazy about training and conditioning, suffered a thigh injury that was slow to heal and gave hitters the opportunity to recognize and lay off of his knuckleball.
POP REPORT: Highest graded example: 1 of 3 PSA 9’s.
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