1939 R334 Play Ball Complete Set (161)

Sold For: $5,100

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 1074

Item Year: 1939

Category: 1930s to 1940s cards

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Complete set of 1939 Play Ball issued by Gum, Inc., of Philadelphia, the first of three major baseball-card sets it produced. This landmark set includes Ted Williams’ rookie card, Joe DiMaggio, and all of the other major stars and Hall of Famers of the era. The rarer high-number series cards (#116-162) in 1939 Play Ball have always made the assembly of a complete set particularly challenging for collectors. Thirty-three cards have been graded and encapsulated by either PSA (28) or SGC (5). Low Numbers (#1-115): 68% Ex to Ex-Mt (including four Nr/Mt) and 32% Vg to Vg-Ex (including six lesser). Keys: #1 Powell (Vg-Ex+), 3 Ruffing (PSA NM 7), 6 Durocher (NM 7), 7 Doerr (EX 5), 26 Joe DiMaggio (VG 3), 30 Dickey (EX-MT 6), 39 Ferrell (Vg-Ex), 48 Gomez (EX 5), 50 Gehringer (EX-MT 6), 51 Ott (SGC EX/NM 80), 53 Hubbell (EX-MT 6), 55 Vaughan (EX+ 5.5), 56 Greenberg (EX-MT 6), 82 Klein (EX 5), 89 L. Waner (EX-MT 6), 92 Ted Williams RC (SGC EX 60), 94 Manush (EX 5), 103 Berg (Ex), 112 P. Waner (SGC EX 60, Sample Card back). High Numbers (#116-162): 71% Ex to Ex-Mt and 29% Vg to Vg-Ex (including a couple lesser). Key: #143 Averill (Vg-Ex). Additional cards graded by PSA: NM 7 (2 cards): #14 and 87. EX-MT+ 6.5 (2 cards): #64 and 113 Schacht. EX-MT 6 (9 cards): #15, 19 P. Dean, 59, 71, 85, 88 Keller, 96, 97 (SGC EX/NM 80), and 106. EX 5 (4 cards): #65 (SGC 60), 131, 160, and 161. While 1939 Play Balls are numbered #1 through 162, no #126 was ever issued, making the set complete at 161 cards. 1939 Play Balls are rarely offered as a complete set. The forty-six high-number cards and the numerous Hall of Famers, in addition to Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, naturally give this set an impressive break value. This mixed-grade set has many highlights, including particularly attractive examples of the key cards of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, and offers an outstanding value, representing an extremely desirable, relatively affordable alternative to a higher-grade set of this classic prewar gum issue. The SMR value for just the thirty-three graded cards (factoring in the three half-grades at the lower whole-grade level and not including the 133 ungraded cards) is $4,368. Total: 161 cards.
Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000/$3,000+.


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