Exceedingly Rare 1951 Topps Major League All-Stars Robin Roberts

Sold For: $132,000

Auction Year: 2018 spring

Lot: 12

Item Year: 1951

Category: Postwar Baseball Cards (1948-present)

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Presented is one of postwar card collecting's most astounding rarities: a virtually impossible to find, never-issued card of Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts from the 1951 Topps Major League All-Stars series. Topps hit the ground running in 1951 with several sets featuring the game's current players as well as several all-time greats. The Major League All-Stars series is widely considered to be one of the scarcest and most significant Topps baseball-card issues ever created. At eleven cards, the set is not large in number but it is substantial. It also features Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Larry Doby, George Kell, Bob Lemon, Ralph Kiner, and Phil Rizzuto, along with star players Walt Dropo and Hoot Evers.

The rarity of this card cannot be overstated! To the best of our knowledge, there are fewer than five examples known to exist. We have never offered a single example before. In fact, this is the first time that we have ever even seen one in person! We are in good company! Due to their extreme rarity, most advanced collectors are familiar with this card only from seeing a few catalog or scholarly references, if at all. Miraculously, the offered example of Roberts is one of three rarities from this set we have the privilege of offering in this auction (the others, Jim Konstanty and Ed Stanky, are presented separately).

This unique card is presented in a very rarely seen unperforated state with a blank back. 1951 Topps Major League All-Stars were never issued in this special unperforated form with a blank back. A card of this type had to have originated at some time directly from someone involved in the printing of the set, or someone at Topps who had been provided with this card by the printer for proofing. The offered card was very likely pulled from production prior to the final perforation process. There are very few unissued proof cards of this type from so early a date. This card was first introduced into the hobby in the early 1990s from the collection of Woody Gelman, one of the most legendary pioneers of collecting and also the head of the art department at Topps, and went through the hands of a few notable hobby dealers before being sold in a prominent public auction in 1996. Our consignor was the original purchaser and has had the card in his collection until now. To the best of knowledge, the only numerically graded example of this card, which was a PSA GOOD 2, sold at a public auction in 2010, where it realized $62,213. This card is hand-cut (by definition, as this card had to have been cut from a proof sheet) and is encapsulated as Authentic by PSA as a result; it is otherwise in Poor condition due to obvious flaws. This is an extremely famous and very notable Topps rarity that would be a significant addition to even the most advanced Topps or important rarities collection. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open).

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