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1952 Topps "Series 1A" Uncut Color Process Proof Sheets (7), The First 1952 Topps Ever Printed!

  • Sold For: $16,240
  • Year:
  • Auction: 2006 spring
  • Lot #: 379
  • Auction Category:

Presented is one of the most astounding and extraordinary sets of uncut sheets of baseball cards that could possibly exist. The seven color process sheets are the first 1952 Topps cards ever printed. These very sheets literally represent the birth of the modern bubble-gum card. The seven 1952 Topps sheets each feature twenty cards. These twenty cards are referred to as "Topps Chewing Gum Co. Baseball Player Cards Series 1A" by the printer on the accompanying identifying cover sheet, which is dated "February 19, 1952." The twenty cards on each sheet are as follows: #1 Pafko, 2 Runnels, 3 Thompson, 4 Lenhardt, 5 Jansen, 11 Rizzuto, 12 Basgall, 13 Wyrostek, 14 Elliott, 15 Pesky, 21 Fain, 22 DiMaggio, 23 Goodman, 24 Easter, 25 Groth, 31 Zernial, 32 Robinson, 33 Spahn, 34 Valo, and 35 Sauer. The seven proof sheets each feature a different color process as follows: 1) The final complete color process sheet. 2) Red, yellow, and blue printing. This is a fascinating sheet which is very close in appearance to a final process sheet, but with the black printing missing. 3) Yellow and red printing sheet. 4) Yellow printing sheet. 5 ) Red printing sheet. 6 ) Blue printing sheet. 7) Black printing sheet. These seven sheets are a complete set of the color process proofs for the very first 1952 Topps cards printed for quality control and review. Each of these color combinations represents a step toward the printing of the first final process sheet with all colors. The seven sheets were printed over the course of seven days in February 1952 (between February 9 and February 15). Each sheet is dated by the printer in the margin area. Two are dated "2/9/52," one is dated "2/12/52," three are dated "2/14/52," and one is "2/15/52." The dating of these sheets is of extraordinary historical significance. The first sheets (the simple yellow-only and red-only sheets) were printed to check the strength of those colors on February 9, 1952. In the days that followed, the first sheets, using increasingly complex color combinations, were printed. The first complete full-process sheet was printed on February 15, 1952. When this sheet was printed, the very sheet that is included in this color process sheet "book," the 1952 Topps set literally "came to life" for the very first time. The 1952 Topps set was extremely ambitious, the first of the modern "large-format" cards which came to dominate the marketplace, and forever change the design of the "bubble-gum card." The 1952 Topps set was a revolutionary product, a great departure from the past, and was intended to change the face of collecting in playgrounds everywhere, across the entire country. Today we know how successful these efforts proved to be. Topps, of course, won the "bubble-gum card wars" of the 1950s. The 1952 Topps set is now recognized as the greatest classic of the modern era, and today Topps is enjoying its sixth decade of annually issuing baseball card sets. But when these first sheets ran off the press, when the vision of Topps' management first took a tangible form, no one knew what the future would hold. The anticipation probably ran very high, as the printer and the company looked forward to seeing their new product in printed form for the very first time. We don't know the year-by-year history of these sheets (they have been in a very advanced collection for many years), but fortunately, in 1952 someone thought enough of them to carefully preserve the entire book of these first 1952 Topps color process sheets, including the printer's information cover sheet. All 1952 Topps sheets are very rare. In fact, no full production sheets are known (although some sections of sheets in various conditions are known). The offered sheets are the only 1952 Topps color process sheets known to exist. It is a miracle that they have survived. The historical significance of these sheets is simply extraordinary. It can be very difficult to place a value on unique items. Values are very subjective and there is no one right answer. The sheets will sell for whatever they will sell for. It seems appropriate, however, to at least reference the extraordinary value of the #1 Pafko card in high-grade, which has an auction record of $83,000 in PSA GEM MINT 10 condition, in light of the fact that seven unique color-process examples of the Pafko card, all in Mint condition, appear on these seven uncut sheets. The sheets have blank backs. Each has some edge wear and in some cases minor chipping at the corners of the large margin areas (of no consequence, not visible when matted, and mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy). The yellow sheet has a small light stain affecting several cards. The sheets are otherwise in Excellent to Mint condition, and when matted (as they are) display as Mint condition. The colors are perfect. The individual cards on the sheets are all in Nr/Mt-Mt or Mint condition. Dimensions: Each 16.75 x 19 inches. Total 7 sheets. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open). Additional images are available at . SOLD FOR $16,240.00

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