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Extremely Rare 1971 Topps All-Star Rookie Artist's Proofs Larry Bowa

  • Sold For: $12,000
  • Year: 1971
  • Auction: 2015 spring
  • Lot #: 690
  • Auction Category: Postwar Baseball Cards (1948-present)

Presented is an extremely rare example from the 1971 Topps All-Star Rookie Artist's Proofs set featuring Larry Bowa (Philadelphia Phillies). Only ten different 1971 Topps All-Star Rookie Artist's Proofs comprise the set (which apparently was never issued), each of which is unique, which makes examples from this set among the rarest Topps items ever produced. Approximately thirty years ago we saw the entire set of ten in person, but since that time, they have disappeared deep into the collecting world, whereabouts unknown. For the longest time, only a single black-and-white image of Munson, the key to the set, was even available for reference, as it was used to illustrate the set in The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards . In August 2011, images of the entire set surfaced: the first all-color documentation of the complete set of ten was published on the extraordinary Topps Archives website maintained by collector and Topps scholar David Hornish ( ). That was the first time that collectors had an opportunity to see color images of these incredible proof cards. Several extremely advanced collectors and Topps specialists with whom we have spoken have expressed the same sentiment: these proof cards are of legendary stature and fall into the category of almost mythical rarities.

Miraculously, the offered example of Bowa is one of two proof cards from this set we have the privilege of offering in this auction (the other, Bernie Carbo, is presented separately). Each of these proofs has been consigned from the collection of a very advanced old-time collector, and we believe that this offering is the first time even a single example from this set has ever been available at public auction. Each proof features a colorful standard-size card (2.5 x 3.5 inches) pasted onto a thick piece of artist's board measuring 9.5 x 6.5 inches. The card portion features the player's head inside of a colorful star, with his position and team at top and a Topps All-Star Rookie trophy and his name at the bottom. Because these proofs are actually camera-ready paste-ups produced to be used to make final-issue cards, the heads of the player are actually Kodachrome photographs pasted on the card area. The construction and original artwork component is very elaborate and perfect. The offered proof possesses exceptional Near Mint display value overall, with very light touches of wear at the corners of the large artist's board. This is an incredible surviving example of one the rarest Topps issues of all time and one that would be a significant addition to even the most advanced Topps or type-card collection. Reserve $500. Estimate (open).

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