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    1951 Bowman Willie Mays #305 PSA Mint 9. The hobby owes a debt of gratitude to its "High Numbers." Although the various issues' scarcer series pose obstacles to set-builders, and are sometimes viewed with cynicism (where it appeared that manufacturers were attempting to squeeze just a bit more revenue from a season's effort) the role of the "High's" is a very substantial one.

    In the waning days of Bowman's 1951 production, for instance, there must have been quite a bit of temptation to put the release to bed following the approval of card #252. Why commission another round of the issue's original paintings - and incur the additional expense - when Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, and most of the popular Brooklyn Dodgers' line-up had already been covered? Plus, it was almost time for Football...

    But a group of "High Numbers" saved the day, allowing Bowman to achieve comprehensiveness in its offering by rectifying a number of conspicuous omissions. The "High's" spared the modern collecting industry from pretending to be satisfied with a set that culminated in a Dixie Howell collectible and, more significantly, enabled the production of Willie Mays' "true" rookie card.

    The importance of Willie Mays' '51 Bowman card is difficult to overstate. How could any responsibly prepared group of gum cards from the time ignore one of the finest talents that would ever be made manifest on the diamond, and remain viable? Fortunately, that's one hypothetical question that never needs to be answered. Mays' first card is a majestic one - a piece that properly reminds everyone who views it of his greatness - and a suitable example is mandatory for inclusion in a serious assembly of 1950s treasures.

    Here is one of the very best 1951 Bowman Mays cards on earth, a specimen that shares its stratospheric tier with just seven counterparts (none higher) within a sizeable cohort of nearly 1,000 PSA-holdered examples. Its pristine character incorporates a phenomenal image, and more than fifty years of existence to this point have brought about no perceptible effects of exposure to circulation, dust, or light. Further, it should go without saying, but to emphasize: absolutely no vestige of the customary obverse trace-line so often observed in '51 Bowman can be seen in this paragon copy. Satisfying rough cuts at the top and bottom edges provide indisputable evidence that the piece has escaped handling (in all of its deleterious forms) since the moment of striking.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    1st-2nd Thursday-Friday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 9,102

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