My new treasure

June 29, 2008 at 10:51 pm | Posted in My Cards | 4 Comments

A few weeks ago, I was killing some time reading Cardboard Junkie when I came across a link that looked interesting. It was 1952 Topps Baseball Cards. The 1952 Topps set is legendary among all baseball card sets as it is considered the first “modern” baseball cards. Its place in the history of the hobby is analogous to Elvis Presley’s place in the history of rock n’ roll. Most guys my age can remember seeing it listed on the first pages of Beckett price guides when we were kids and marveling at the list prices of the cards. We naively dreamed that one day our 1987 Topps cards might be worth as much.

I didn’t know anyone who owned a card from the set. 1952 was the year that both of my parents were born, so my dad didn’t have any cards from it. I saw some of the cards at card shows, locked up in glass cases with high price tags attached. They seemed so out of reach that I didn’t even imagine that I would ever be able to own one.

But I digress; back to the 1952 Topps Baseball Cards web site. I found the site to be a treasure trove of information, and I learned more than I ever knew about the set. If you have some free time, I’d highly recommend checking it out. Anyway, after reading it, I wandered over to eBay just to see how much a card from the set would cost. Obviously, the Mickey Mantle and Eddie Mathews cards are far beyond my price range. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to buy a card of an unknown player just to have one.

I noticed that cards of two Hall of Famers, Bob Feller and Monte Irvin (misspelled Monty on the card) were selling for reasonable prices. In other words, PSA 6 cards of those players were selling for prices below the Beckett book value for those cards in EX-MT condition. I started “watching” an auction for a Feller card, but the price jumped too high at the last minute. Then I set my sights on an Irvin card and won it!

I received the card in the mail this weekend, and I can now say that I am the proud owner of a 1952 Topps black back card of a Hall of Famer, Monte Irvin! This card immediately becomes one of the jewels of my collection and it is one that I will definitely pass down to my kids one day. I figure that a PSA graded card of a Hall of Famer from such an iconic set is as good a bet to increase in value as any card out there.

It is amazing to think that this card has been around for 56 years now. I wonder about its story and who opened the pack in 1952 and got the card. I wonder where it has been since then. Was it part of a collection that was stored in a shoe box in someone’s attic for a few decades? It is a true piece of history.

Here is the front and back of my card:

Check out that Giants hat; it looks just like a Mets hat today.

If you don’t know much about Monte Irvin, check out his Wikipedia page. He had quite an interesting career as a Negro League star, and later a star for the New York Giants. At the age of 89, he is still alive today and serves on the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee, campaigning for former Negro League players.



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  1. I think I have some old ’52 reprints. I just can’t remember if they were ’52’s or not. They looked really good. I’ll have to dig those and post some pics…

    Man, great reading! Keep ’em coming Dave…

  2. You need to look into local live auctions.
    I am auctioneer from st louis, mo and I had a card sale this week you would have loved if you were from this area. I sold a huge collection containing several Micky Mantle cards Sandy Koufax’s rookie card and on and on. I sold about $19,000 worth of cards. I always list my auctions on under auctioneer number 4727 and on my website but to find cards in your neck of the woods go to the auctionzip site and put in your zipcode. The site is free to use this way, but if you want to search for cards by type eg.. 1952 Topps, the carge is less than $30 a year (last time I checked at least) a great deal you will most likely recoup on your first deal.. For more information on auctions and baseball cards just go to my website to contact me. One of the bidders at the auction has the rest of the collection I just sold and I am going to meet him this week about auctioning his cards. Another offer is in the works for selling several origianal baseball contracts for Cardinal players including Dizzy Dean. They came from the estate of a man who worked at Bush Stadium.

  3. Nice pickup, Monte was my first 1953 Topps card. His cards and memorabilia are woefully ignored for such a great player and contributor to the game.

  4. Very interesting to hear about Monte Irvin, I didn’t know about him. It’s great to hear that guys like this are still alive.

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