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1952 Topps "Series 1A" Uncut Final Color-Process Proof Sheet - The First 1952 Topps Ever Printed!
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $18,800
Presented is one of the most astounding and extraordinary uncut sheets of baseball cards that could possibly exist: The first 1952 Topps final process proof sheet ever printed. These are the very first 1952 Topps cards to ever exist! This very sheet literally represents the birth of the modern bubble-gum card. The sheet includes twenty proof cards: #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. Before this sheet was printed, the 1952 Topps set was only a concept. When the printer made this final process proof sheet - the very first - the 1952 Topps set went from being a concept to reality. These twenty cards are identified as "Topps Chewing Gum Co. Baseball Player Cards Series 1A" by the printer on the accompanying identifying color-process cover sheet, which is dated "February 19, 1952." The final sheet was originally accompanied by six color process proof sheets, which have since been perfectly cut and organized by player, and are represented by the twenty lots that follow this one. The seven color-process proof sheets for "Series 1A" were printed over the course of seven days in February 1952 (between February 9 and February 15). Each sheet was dated by the printer in the margin area (with dates spanning from "2/9/52" to "2/15/52" depending on which color process sheet was being printed). The final complete color-process sheet that is offered here, as noted on its margin, was printed on exactly "2/15/52."
The first incomplete color proof 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 incomplete proof 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 offered here, 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 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 this first sheet ran off the press, when the vision of Topps' management first took a tangible form, no one knew what the future would hold.
All 1952 Topps sheets are very rare. No full production sheets are known (although some sections of sheets in various conditions are known). The offered sheet is both the first and the only 1952 Topps final process proof sheet known to exist. It is a miracle that it has survived. The historical significance of this sheet is extraordinary, to Topps, to the 1952 Topps set, and to the history of card collecting.
Matted the sheet has a Mint appearance. The twenty individual proof cards are in Nr/Mt-Mt or Mint condition. The large margin borders have flaws (of no consequence, not visible when matted, and mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy), which include a chip in the lower right corner and a heavy vertical crease in the large blank margin to the left (the result of being in a color process sequence proof sheet book, with the final sheet turned like a big page as intended for viewing). The sheet is otherwise in Excellent to Mint condition. The colors are perfect. The surface is perfect. Being a final color-process proof sheet, the back of the sheet is blank. The twenty individual proof cards on the sheet are all in Nr/Mt-Mt or Mint condition. Dimensions: 16.75 x 19 inches. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $18,800
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