1959 Bazooka Baseball Uncut Sheet (Featuring All 14 Rare Cards in Set)

Sold For: $9,600

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 999

Item Year: 1959

Category: Postwar Baseball Cards (1948-present)

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1959 Bazooka Baseball uncut sheet of 14 cards. The King of all Bazooka sheets! 1959 Bazooka has always been revered as one of the rarest and most difficult to collect of all Topps-related sets. Issued just one card per box of Topps Bazooka-brand bubble gum, the cards were intended to be hand-cut by youngsters from the bottom of Bazooka boxes. The problem, of course, was that you had to buy an entire box of gum to get just one card. This was an elite set to collect even in 1959. The cards on this sheet represent all fourteen of the rarer cards in the 22-card 1959 Bazooka set. The eight far more common cards, which include many of the biggest names in the set, such as Mantle, Aaron, and Mays, were printed separately, and were the first 1959 Bazookas to be issued. The 1959 Bazooka set was so successful in helping to sell entire boxes of Bazooka Bubble Gum that the set was soon expanded to include 14 additional players. With such a small set, all 22 players featured were, of course, significant players of the day. The fourteen players on the sheet are Nellie Fox (HOF), Rocco Colavito, Roy Sievers, Richie Ashburn (HOF), Billy Pierce, Ken Boyer, Harvey Kueen, Bob Cerv, Vic Wertz, Jackie Jensen, Duke Snider (HOF), Don Drysdale (HOF), Ernie Banks (HOF), and Gus Triandos.

This is one of only three uncut sheets of 1959 Bazooka that we know to exist. One of the other known uncut 1959 Bazooka sheet has dozens of printer notations in ink which relate to the colors of the cards and affect each card on the sheet. Thus, while the other sheet is still a prize, the offered sheet is one of the finer known examples. This sheet was once part of the famed collection of Don Steinbach, one of the hobby's great pioneers, and appeared as lot #272 in a 1997 auction of items from his impressive collection (it has been consigned directly by the buyer at that sale). The sheet is a proof sheet by definition, as opposed to a production sheet, in that it features only the cards, and not the entire boxes as a production sheet would. A 1959 Bazooka box package design is included, also for proofing, in the upper left, adding to the sheet's ideal-for-display design and impressive visual appeal. The sheet is bright and crisp, with magnificent colors. There are pencil-written printer's marks in the margins along with notes in several other spots, including in the lower right underneath the Jensen card. A few minor imperfections are present, including some light surface wear or light creases on several cards. A three-inch tear in the lower left, passing into part of the Snider card, is the only noticeable flaw, but the sheet could be easily matted and framed in an effort to mitigate that and retain an overall Excellent or better display value.

1959 Bazooka is one of the few rare issues of the late 1950s and has always had a mystique. This is a standout sheet of the era and, in our opinion, one of the most spectacular, exciting, and unique uncut sheets in the hobby. The sheet measures approximately 17.75 x 28.25 inches. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000+.

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