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1948 Bowman Basketball Complete Set (72)
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $3,555
This complete set of 1948 Bowman Basketball includes #69 George Mikan, the king of all basketball cards. The 1948 Bowman Basketball series is particularly significant as this was the first set ever issued devoted exclusively to basketball. The George Mikan card in this set is widely recognized as the most sought-after and valuable of all basketball cards. This 1948 issue was the only basketball set Bowman ever produced. Cards from this set are extremely hard to find in high grade in part because these cards (like 1949 Bowman baseball) often naturally have soft corners due to the quality of the paper stock on which they are printed. From a very old-time collection, this particular set has been stored away in a closet for decades, possibly since its year of issue. We have selected seven cards to be graded and encapsulated by SGC. Keys: #1 Calverley RC (EX/NM 80), 9 Phillip RC (HOF, Ex-Mt), 10 Davies RC (HOF, Vg-Ex), 32 Holzman RC (HOF, EX+ 70), 34 Fulks RC (HOF, EX/NM 80), 38 Jeanette RC (HOF, gray color variation, irregular handcut), 43 Halbert RC (gray color variation, irregular handcut), 46 McKinney RC (irregular handcut), 48 Sadowski RC (gray color variation, irregular handcut), 52 Simmons RC (gray color variation, irregular handcut), 54 Palmer RC (blue color variation, irregular handcut), 55 Zaslofsky RC (EX 60), 58 Risen RC (HOF, irregular handcut), 66 Pollard RC (HOF, VG/EX 50), 69 Mikan RC (HOF, blue color variation encapsulated Authentic due to irregular handcut), and 72 Braun RC (gray color variation encapsulated Authentic due to irregular handcut). Thirty-five additional color variations and irregular handcuts: #12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 27, 28, 29, 31, 33, 36, 39, 40 (Blue), 41, 42 (Blue), 44, 45 (Blue), 47, 49 (Blue), 50, 51 (Blue), 53, 56, 57, 59, 60 (Blue), 61, 62 (Blue), 63, 64, 65, 67, 68, 70 (Gray), and 71. The balance of the cards which are not hand-cut range from Vg-Ex to Ex-Mt (with a few slightly lesser). As advanced collectors are well aware, 1948 Bowman basketball cards occasionally surface missing the red or blue coloring. It is believed that simple printing errors are responsible for these color variations, and that the "gray back" variations in 1948 Bowman basketball, as well as 1949 Bowman baseball (which have a very similar design), are the result of cards not going through an ink process, or the printing machines running out of ink. Fourteen cards from this set would seem to confirm this theory, as the red is missing, and there is just a hint of weakening of color in a few areas of the blue backgrounds. All of these cards appear to have long ago been very carefully hand-cut from sheets. Most otherwise have a very strong appearance, in many cases appearing Ex or better. Many of the color variations in this set are particularly desirable to variation collectors. While there is no way for us to be certain, we believe these were never actually issued in packs. A small quantity of these error sheets was probably given to neighborhood kids or saved from the trash at the Bowman factory in Philadelphia, and later hand-cut and long ago dispersed throughout the collecting community. (We know this to be the case with 1949 Bowman baseball sheets, firsthand from collectors who were around in 1949.) In fact, we would be surprised if all of these rare color-variation cards did not long ago originate from Philadelphia area collectors who neatly cut them from sheets. The reverse of the rare color-variation cards are fully printed. 1948 Bowman is the first and only basketball set Bowman ever issued. It apparently did not sell well, as Bowman never followed up with another basketball set. The set includes the rookie cards of all of the major stars of the era. The 1948 Bowman Basketball is well known for production-quality issues, making the assembling of high-quality sets particularly challenging. This is a very attractive, clean, mid-grade complete set of this significant basketball issue, including many unusual color variations. Total: 72 cards. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500+. SOLD FOR $3,555
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