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1960s Topps Rookie Banquet Programs (3) Including Pete Rose Rookie Signature!
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $3,258.75
Collection of three rare programs, dating from 1960, 1961, and 1963, respectively, issued at the Topps' Annual Rookie All-Star Team Awards luncheon. The highlight of the group is the 1963 program, which features the signatures of nine of the ten award recipients, including Pete Rose. In 1959, Sy Berger, one of the chief executives at Topps and the man known today as "The Father of the Bubble-Gum Card," came up with the idea of honoring the top rookie ballplayers in each league by establishing the Topps Rookie All-Star Team Award. Of course, Berger's main objective in selecting an all-star rookie team was to further promote Topps' annual card issues. Not only were the recipients featured in the following year's set with special "All-Star Rookie Team" cards, but the only way in which kids could vote for their favorite players was by filling in and returning a preprinted ballot card, which, conveniently, could only be found in packs of Topps trading cards. To Berger's delight, the concept was a huge success, both with baseball fans and card collectors, and Topps garnered even further publicity by honoring each year's recipients at a formal luncheon held in New York at season's end. Offered here are the programs issued at three of those annual affairs: 1960 (includes the original mailing envelope), 1961, and 1963. These programs are rare today and much appreciated by advanced Topps collectors. Each program measures 5.5 x 8.5 inches and features mockup Topps rookie cards and short biographies for each respective player. Both the 1960 and 1961 examples, which represent the the second and third luncheons ever held, display only modest handling wear and are in Near Mint condition overall. The third program offered here, from 1963 (Ex-Mt), features the blue-ink signatures (all grading "10") of Elston Howard (on cover), and nine of the ten All-Star Rookie Team Award recipients: Rusty Staub, Pete Rose, Pete Ward, Jimmie Hall, Vic Davalillo, Tommy Harper, Jesse Gonder, Ray Culp, and Gary Peters (missing only Al Weiss). All of the signatures are personalized either "To Bob," or "To Jim," with the exception of Howard's signature. The signature of Rose in this program is naturally of special note as it represents one of the very few Rose signatures that can be dated with certainty to his rookie season. What is also significant with regard to the 1963 program is that it offers collectors a rare glimpse of what Pete Rose's rookie card would have looked like had he been issued his own card in 1963. Rose did appear in the 1963 Topps set, but his image was squeezed onto a single card (#537 "1963 Rookie Stars") with three other players. For each rookie selected that year, Topps created a 1963 mockup card to illustrate his respective biographical page. Therefore, the 1963 program offered here is particularly desirable both to baseball-card and Pete Rose collectors. The fact that Rose also personally signed this program at the Topps banquet event in 1963 of course adds to the appeal of this example. It should be noted that the three programs in this collection originate from a gentleman who personally attended the luncheons and who obtained all of the autographs in person at the time. (In fact, the 1963 Topps banquet program included here is only the second example we have ever seen signed by Rose, and the first was from the very same consignor, who sold the balance of his Topps banquet items as lot 1300 in REA's May 2011 auction). Total: 3 programs. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,258.75
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