The Post War Cards Newsletter #17
👋 Welcome to the latest issue of The Post War Cards Newsletter, the newsletter that celebrates #TheHobby.
🗓️ Every other week, I share unique content about vintage sports cards, hobby & sports history, and industry activity with collectors.
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🖼️ Glossy Team Pics
I published an article about 5 Great Chicago Cubs Team Cards on the blog a few weeks ago, and one of the cards I highlighted was the 1971 Topps #502 Cubs Team card. I explained that I really liked the “floating heads” look that was common in the era.
When I shared the article on Twitter, a collector shared something I had no idea about. It turns out that the 1971 and 1972 Topps Cubs team cards were the same glossy team pictures that the club sold at their ballpark’s souvenir stands. I have no idea why Topps didn’t use a nice group shot those years as they did for other teams. But I’m glad they didn’t, as I prefer the oddball look of the Cubs cards in each set. It’s one of those quirky things that makes me love the hobby.
✍️ Great Hobby Writing
The Shlabotnik Report: Fun With 1974 Topps Traded
Sports Collectors Daily: Ferguson Jenkins At 80; 5 Career Chronicling Cards of a Precision Pitcher
SABR’s Baseball Cards Research Committee: Death and Taxes and Baseball Card Litigation [Part IV, 1996-Present]
Night Owl Cards: C.A.: 1992 Diet Pepsi Gary Carter
Sports Collectors Digest: Remembering notable sports stars and legends who passed away in 2022
Wax Pack Here: 1988 Quaker Dipps WWF Wrestling
Nine Pockets: This Custom Card Set is Only a Pawn in the Game of Life...
Collecting Canadian Football: Metal Championship Memories
The Topps Archives: Taking Stock
And as the guy building a Hobby Library, how can I not share Sports Collectors Digest's ranking of the best baseball books of 2022?
💰 REA’s Winter Auction
Robert Edward Auctions wrapped up its fall auction a few weeks ago. As always, there were some incredible high-end items, like the PSA 7 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card, Ted Williams’ Rookie contract, and a 1952 Topps baseball wax pack nearly breaking 6-figures. But, along with so many museum-quality pieces were a few more post-war items that I thought were really unique that didn’t get as much publicity.
Lot # 893: 1949 Leaf Premiums Lou Gehrig PSA GOOD+ 2.5. This card presented particularly well for the grade and closed at $1140. The 1949 Leaf Premiums have always been a little underappreciated to me and are pretty rare since I believe each box of cards supposedly had just one of them in it, and since they were printed on thin stock, the ones that remain are usually in poor shape. PSA has graded just 125 Premiums, with most being in the Auth/1 range.
Lot # 880: 1948 Topps "Magic Photos" Multi-Sport Complete Set (252) Plus Album. This incredibly difficult-to-complete set sold for $4680. As REA wrote, many people think the 1951 Topps Red/Blue-backs were their first baseball set, but really it’s the 1948 Magic Photos set. Complete sets are tough to find, given their size, and this one was in pretty excellent shape too.
Lot # 894: 1949 Bowman Original Display Box. As the architect of the Unopened Archive, I’m always curious how much rare vintage unopened items will sell for. I was a little surprised this box went for as much as it did—the box, which originally held 120 penny packs, sold for $4800.
Lot # 1256: 1960 Bazooka Uncut Panels Complete Set (12 Panels, 36 Cards). This group of scarce and well-cut panels (they’re tough to get numerical grades on ) sold for $3840 and is full of Hall of Famers.
Lot # 910: 1950 Royal Desserts "Stars of Baseball" Complete Set (24). Of the items I bid on and watched, I was most surprised that this one sold for so little. It closed for “just” $870, though, to be fair, many are poorly cut. But it’s a really tough set to complete and has star power in Musial, Reese, Spahn, and Rizzuto. I’ve previously highlighted the related eight 1952 Royal Desserts basketball cards on the Oddball Archive.
🔟 A Few Words About Grading
I prefer graded cards for my personal collection, but primarily for the authentication side of things, not as much for numerical grading. This is because I collect a lot of sets that have been re-printed or faked. However, there seems to be a lot of discontent across the hobby lately about card-grading. While some criticism is certainly warranted, some folks on social media are incentivized to drive engagement no matter the circumstance; and without the goal of actually improving anything. I think, given their scale, the major 3rd party graders do a pretty good job overall.
Now, are there trimmed cards in slabs? Yes. Are there cards with grades above six with registration problems? Indeed. Are there poorly centered cards with grades higher than you might think? Sure. Are some of these grades within the advertised standards? Yup. Does eye appeal drive price? Of Course! That’s why we see lower-grade cards outsell high-grade cards daily at auctions.
These companies make mistakes, and we should expect them to own up to and fix their errors; accountability matters. But what should we do as collectors and hobbyists? Three things; first, we must continue to hold 3rd party graders to a high standard and engage in a productive dialogue; remember, you can always take your business elsewhere. Second, we must keep educating ourselves about cards, their unique condition sensitivities, and their history. And third, we need to look beyond a card’s flip. It’s why I’m a stickler for high-quality scans when people post slabs/cards for sale online; we, as buyers, need to be able to judge a card for ourselves.
🗞️ In the News
iBerkshires: This & That Sports Owner Works to Give Back to the Community
Yahoo Finance: $426 Billion Collectibles Market will Boost Up in 2023
Sports Collectors Daily: Going, Going, Gone: Aaron Judge’s 62nd Home Run Ball Sells for $1.5 Million
Just Collect: 22 Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Baseball Cards Highlight Incredible Find
KSL.com: Utah man arrested in trading card thefts from multiple stores
Sports Collectors Digest: PSA Collectors Club, Loupe partnership provides special benefits for new members
🏅 On the PostWarCards Blog
December 12th, 2022: All About the Ultra Scarce 1980 Topps Pepsi-Cola All-Stars Prototype Baseball Cards
December 13th, 2022: The 10 Items from the Topps Vault VIP Exclusive Auction Held at the 2011 National in Chicago
December 19th, 2022: The 1980 Topps Unissued Billy Martin Yankees Team Card
December 20th, 2022: The Toughest Topps Baseball Sets From the 1980s
🔫 Rifleman or Master Blaster?
Shout out to @JunkWaxHeroes for this one. Got a favorite?