1941 Gum, Inc. Play Ball Full Uncut Production Low-Number Sheet with Ted Williams (#1-24)

Sold For: $54,000

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 1081

Item Year: 1941

Category: 1930s to 1940s cards

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Offered is one of card collecting’s rarest uncut sheets: a complete 24-card uncut production sheet of Gum Inc.’s 1941 Play Ball. This sheet features the first series of twenty-four cards in the set (#1-24) and is highlighted by Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, Arky Vaughan, Joe Cronin, Charlie Gehringer, and Red Ruffing. Full 24-card production sheets of 1941 Play Ball are so rare that we are aware of fewer than ten known examples. This is part of an incredible three-sheet offering in this auction in which each of the three series is presented in sheet form, representing what we believe to be the only complete 1941 Play Ball set in uncut sheet form. REA offered an extraordinary high-grade first-series sheet in 2004, which realized $25,875. This is an outstanding sheet in all respects. Perfectly bright and clean, both front and back, and with flawless color, the sheet has obviously been stored under ideal conditions since 1941. Aside from a tiny black mark in the background of card #17 Weatherly, a couple of spots of paper loss on #13 Foxx, a few light surface creases, and minor edge and corner wear, all of which are faults of no consequence and which are mentioned strictly for the sake of extreme accuracy, the sheet is in extraordinary condition, with almost all of the individual cards on the sheet well-preserved. There are a couple tape marks near the two lower corners and a strip of brown framing tape along the bottom edge, all on the reverse. Considering the age and odd size of this sheet, it is amazing that it survived without more serious condition issues. Play Ball sheets are of a far greater rarity than Goudey and other uncut gum-card sheets of this era. It is interesting to note that Play Balls were printed in vertical 24-card sheets, as opposed to the horizontal format of Goudey sheets. This is an incredible rarity that would make a tremendous addition to any uncut sheet collection or companion to any 1941 Play Ball set. The sheet measures 10 x 18.75 inches, and is beautifully and very expensively framed (with double-sided Plexiglass to allow viewing of the reverse) to total dimensions of 16 x 25 inches. Opening Bid $2,500. Estimate $10,000+.

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