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1950-1951 Toleteros Complete SGC-Graded Master Set (192) Including Joshua Gibson SGC EX/NM 80
Starting Bid - $10,000.00, Sold For - $38,512.50
The 1950-1951 Toleteros set is one of the most significant sets of its era. The set features players from the Puerto Rican Winter League, and is particularly significant as it includes many players who appear in few or no other card sets. The set is most well known to collectors for its inclusion of Hall of Famer Josh Gibson, whose card is so rare that its existence has only been documented during the past decade, and its significance as Josh Gibson's only known standard card issue has propelled it in this very short time to being one of the most well-known baseball cards in the collecting world. Also included are many Negro League stars (such as George Scales and Hall of Famer Willard Brown), as well as many Major Leaguers who played in the Puerto Rican Winter League during the off-season. This is a complete master set, featuring 180 players plus twelve variations for a total of 192 cards.
Presented is what we can state with relative certainty is by far the most extraordinary and finest complete set of 1950-1951 Toleteros cards ever assembled in the history of the Universe, and this includes in 1950-1951! This most miraculous assembly contains all 192 different cards comprising a master set of the 1950-1951 Toleteros series. The entire set is graded and encapsulated by SGC and is highlighted by a particularly strong SGC EX/NM 80 example of the extremely important and significant rookie card of Hall of Famer Joshua Gibson. Fewer than twenty-five examples of Gibson are known to exist in any condition; the example in this set is one of only two examples graded EX/NM by SGC, with only two graded higher. Of special note: the extremely impressive high grade alone on this Gibson card does not fully communicate the merits of the card compared to other known examples. This card is one of the five Josh Gibson cards that were part of the legendary find of 1950-1951 Toletoros cards years ago that first introduced the card to the modern collecting world. The set was known but the Josh Gibson card had previously not been discovered. This card (and the entire set offered here) has been consigned directly from the discoverer of the find. This is the card that he kept for himself and he did so because it was by far the best of the five examples in terms of crispness of image and color. We have a scan of all five Gibson cards together from the find for comparison (this is available via email). There is no question that this is the by far the best example. In addition: Over and above comparison among the five original discovery find examples, the coloring and clarity of this example may in fact be superior to ALL other examples, including the few that are in technically higher grade due to sharper corners. It is easy to look up images of the other known examples to compare. As stated in casual written communication to us by our consignor: "It is my honest opinion that if every known example of the card was ungraded and put on a table, the one in my set would be picked as the nicest one by almost everyone." Having reviewed images of the other examples that have sold over the years, we can't help but agree. The superior printing quality of this card, as intended, is not taken into account in its numerical grade.] The 2011 Standard Catalog lists the Gibson all alone at a value of $50,000 in Near Mint condition, $25,000 in Excellent condition, and $15,000 in Very Good condition. The last Josh Gibson offered by REA was graded SGC EX 60 and sold for $18,800 in May 2008.
This particular set is extraordinary not just for the remarkably impressive SGC grades (an incredible 156 of the 192 cards range in grade from EX to NM-MT), but perhaps even more for the quality of the images. As collectors of Toleteros cards are well aware, the colors and quality of images can vary greatly on these cards due to normal production variances. This set has been assembled by the most advanced and dedicated of all Toleteros card collectors. The unrivaled quality of this set is not an accident! This set is simply incredible in every way and has been assembled in this form only as a result of years of effort and study (and opportunity!) by a renowned Cuban and Negro League expert and collector, who methodically culled thousands of cards, searching for the best one, comparing every little detail, from the centering to the color quality, until he found the most ideal example possible. This is, without question, the highest-quality set ever assembled as a result of the painstaking work done by our consignor. We really don't believe that a better set existed even in 1950-1951 immediately following the release of these cards! Every card is bright and crisp, beautifully preserved throughout the years, and appearing at a glance to be Nr/Mt or better across the board. The lesser-graded examples, in many cases, exhibit slight traces of glue residue on the reverse, which is extremely common for this issue due to the fact that Toleteros cards were often glued into albums (as intended) for display and storage.
A complete condition composite is provided in the printed catalog and is also provided online at:
SGC condition summary: Two NM/MT 88 (including #14 Dan Bankhead); Fourteen NM+ 86; Twenty-nine NM 84 (including #22 Willard Brown HOF); Three EX/NM+ 82; Forty-one EX/NM 80 (including #64 Joshua Gibson HOF); Eighteen EX+ 70 (including #79 Rogers Hornsby HOF); Fifty-three EX 60; Five VG/EX+ 55; Six VG/EX 50; One VG+ 45; Eleven VG 40; One GOOD+ 35; Four GOOD 30; Two FAIR 20;Two POOR 10. It is worth repeating that the lesser-graded examples, though accurate in their assigned technical grades, present at a FAR superior level. Toleteros cards are very rarely available in complete-set form, in any condition, and this complete set may literally be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire an unparalleled collection. This is an incredible set, the finest ever assembled, of this significant Puerto Rican issue featuring numerous highlights, including a spectacular example of the legendary Joshua Gibson rarity. Total: 192 cards. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $38,512.50
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