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1933 R319 Goudey #106 Napoleon Lajoie SGC NM 84
Starting Bid - $10,000, Sold For - $35,250
Graded NM 84 by SGC. Magnificent high-grade example of this legendary rarity. Bright, clean, and fresh, both front and back, with virtually perfect centering and flawless registration. This 1933 Goudey #106 Lajoie example is from the Charlie Conlon Collection. Submitted for grading for the Conlon Estate by REA, it is one of only four #106 Lajoies graded at this level, with only four examples graded higher by SGC. Since the earliest days of organized collecting, Lajoie has always been referred to as one of "The Big Three" among the most important baseball card rarities, with the other two, of course, being Plank and Wagner from the T206 series. This is an unusually attractive, stunning example, with no print lines or other printing flaws, and with only the lightest and most ideal natural toning. This card has obviously been very well cared for since the 1930s.
When the classic 1933 Goudey set was issued, Goudey originally failed to print #106. No matter how many packs youngsters purchased at their local candy store, they could not complete their set of 240 cards. Everyone, of course, needed #106 (which did not exist). Some of the more devoted and fanatical collectors of the day, in their great frustration, took the time to write and complain directly to the Goudey Gum Company. Goudey received enough complaints from their most devoted customers to prompt them to arrange for a special design and printing of card #106 Nap Lajoie. This special card was actually printed in 1934, and was sent by mail directly from Goudey only to those who had complained to the company in writing. This was the only way the Lajoie card was distributed, hence its extraordinary rarity today. It is interesting to note (and we're not sure if we have ever noted this before) that the copyright date on the reverse of the Lajoie card is "1934" because, even though it was issued to complete the 1933 series, it was printed in 1934. The 1933 Goudey set is universally recognized as the most important of all 1930s gum-card issues. #106 Lajoie is the most significant and valuable of all 1930s cards and is widely regarded to this day as one of the four most important of all prewar baseball cards in any condition (the others being the famous T206 Wagner and Plank and the Baltimore News Ruth). This is an exceptional example in all respects, in a well-deserved extremely high grade. Bright, clean, fresh, and crisp with brilliant colors, virtually flawless centering, and with an overall appearance even stronger than its SGC assigned grade of Near Mint. Reserve $10,000. Estimate $20,000+. SOLD FOR $35,250
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