1938 R323 Goudey "Heads-Up" Complete Low Number Series with Joe DiMaggio on Two Uncut Panels (24 Cards)

Sold For: $6,000

Auction Year: 2018 fall

Lot: 853

Item Year: 1938

Category: Prewar Baseball - 1930s to 1940s Cards

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Presented is an extremely rare complete low-number set of twenty-four 1938 R323 Goudey "Heads-Up" cards (#241 to #264), highlighted by nine Hall of Famers including Joe DiMaggio, Jimmy Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Bob Feller, and Charlie Gehringer, on two uncut panels with fully printed reverses. One panel has sixteen cards and the second has eight cards. Together they represent the entire set, and if framed together, they would actually have the appearance of a single complete sheet. 1938 Goudey sheets are particularly rare. As can easily be seen looking back at old catalogs, they are far rarer than even 1933 and 1934 Goudey sheets. (The only 1938 Goudey sheet that we have ever offered was Lot #1046 in REA's Spring 2017 auction, which realized $54,000.) A total of two different sheets comprise the entire 1938 set in uncut sheet form, and to the best of our knowledge, no collector has the complete set in sheets. 1) The first uncut panel (10 x 12 inches), composed of sixteen cards (four rows of four), features #247, 248, 249 Foxx, and 259 on the first row; #250 DiMaggio, 251, 252, and 262 Medwick on the second row; #253 Greenberg, 254, 255, and 241 Gehringer on the third row; and #256, 257 Lopez, 258 Doerr, and 244 on the fourth row. The obvious flaws include moderate creasing, unobtrusive stains, staples holes, and tape stains around the edges of the reverse. 2) The second uncut panel (4-3/4 x 11-3/4 inches), composed of eight cards (four rows of two), features #260 and 261 on the first row; #263 and 264 Feller on the second row; #242 and 243 on the third row; and #245 and 246 Lombardi on the fourth row. The obvious flaws include heavy creasing, paper loss on the top edge, and tape stains around the edges of the reverse. The staple holes and tape stains on the backs almost certainly relate to the panels' storage long ago in the Goudey Gum Company archive file books (which were discovered and dispersed to the four corners of the collecting world in 1969). The colors of these cards are brilliant; the rarity of these panels is virtually unparalleled; and the display value is extraordinary. They are not perfect, but they will not sell for what perfect cards would sell for. In fact, historically, the market has sometimes valued panels such as these at a significant discount to the individual cards on it. The individual values of the cards on these panels, in any condition, would be thousands of dollars. There is no consensus on the value of uncut panels of 1938 Goudey "Heads-Ups," in part because each of the few examples is different in terms of condition or number of cards. Common sense tells us that an uncut sheet should be worth at least the sum of its parts. These two uncut panels of 1938 Goudey (representing a complete low-number set), one of the most colorful and popular of all 1930s gum-card issues, form a rare and unique display piece, representing a potentially extraordinary value. The panels have been double-side matted (held in with clear tape on the reverse) to dimensions of 18.75 x 16 inches. Total: 2 items. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open).


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