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1972 Topps Test "Cloth Stickers" Roberto Clemente PSA Gem MT 10 - The Ultimate Example! ...

2013 November 7 - 9 Sports Collectible Catalog Auction - Dallas #7085

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Auction Ended On: Nov 7, 2013
Item Activity: 6 Internet/mail bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

1972 Topps Test "Cloth Stickers" Roberto Clemente PSA Gem MT 10 - The Ultimate Example! Although they share 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" dimensions and the same image, the kinship between Clemente's "standard" 1972 Topps card and this obscure test issue -- which is printed on cloth material with a paper backing -- is wholly limited to those two features. In direct contrast to the often-seen cardboard version, the cloth type -- seen here -- is excruciatingly scarce, in general; in its highest-quality, PSA Gem MT 10 state, it's demonstrably unique. Enthusiasts who concentrate on mementos picturing the Pirates' great outfielder are persistently challenged by exaggerated levels of demand for his commemoratives -- which are elusive, to begin with -- and particularly so for the truly exclusive entries. It's well worthy of note, however, that most Clemente pieces -- however challenging -- exist in at least small multiples; this fact affords a ray of hope for the determined hobbyist. Even the card often regarded as the "Holy Grail" of Clemente items -- the 1968 Topps "3-D" -- has been documented by PSA in quantities that give rise to hope: of that card, six copies have been graded PSA MINT 9, and another half-dozen are PSA GEM MT 10 -- from a total census numbering forty-eight specimens.

Graded PSA Gem MT 10, the one and only example of its kind that's been validated by that company. For that well-known piece, such numbers imply relative abundance -- particularly when contrasted with the "1 of 1" shown on these pages. For this incredible, Gem Mint card, there are no equivalent counterparts, no equals. As illustrated by the comparison between Clemente's "3-D's" and his ultra-elite Cloth test issue, and corroborated by '72 Cloth's scant population total (just nineteen total holdered specimens), it's close to impossible to obtain Cloth examples of this caliber: typically, they're ragged, creased, off-centered, or otherwise faulty. This copy stands as the entire issue's flagship exemplar ... its paragon ... and it makes the hobby's other, much-coveted Clemente items - the Bazooka's, the Kahn's, etc. - seem, actually, overexposed and plentiful, by contrast. Just one, sole representative from the '72 Cloth issue -- which was never publicly distributed on an official basis - can serve to fill a single Clemente assembly's void in this incontestably suitable fashion. Truly, this is the ultimate Roberto Clemente collectible! Its showpiece appearance readily affirms the item's lofty grading assessment! A spectacular, one-of-a-kind rarity depicting the legendary Hall of Famer, in true Gem Mint condition.

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