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    Population one of one!

    1953 Topps Willie Mays #244 PSA Gem Mint 10. He was rated number two on The Sporting News' list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players of the Twentieth Century," topped only by the iconic Babe Ruth. There are many who would contend that it was Mays deserved top billing--in the end, it comes down to your particular definition of "greatness." That Babe Ruth was the most noteworthy figure in twentieth century baseball is difficult to dispute. And it's true that he was the game's premier pitcher before he became the game's premier slugger. But if baseball's "five tools" is the metric--hitting for average, hitting for power, baserunning, throwing and fielding--Mays' superiority is clear.

    If the Ruth/Mays question continues to elude consensus, the offered cardboard masterpiece provides no such opportunity for discord. This 244th entry in the Topps company's second great baseball issue maintains a lonely, solitary residence atop the population chart of PSA, the only example to achieve a Gem Mint 10 rating.

    The mathematical improbability of the achievement becomes all the more impressive when one crunches the numbers. From the entirety of the 1953 Topps Baseball issue, over 128,000 cards have been submitted to the hobby's leading card grading service for review. Of those, only thirty-four have been returned in a perfect ten slab, a ratio of one to 3,767.

    Honored as the National League Rookie of the Year in 1951, Mays was claimed by the Korean War draft after just thirty-four appearances in 1952, missing the 1953 campaign during which this card was issued entirely. In the wonderful full-body portrait that commands the obverse, Mays still wears the National League 75th Anniversary patch on his left sleeve, recalling that auspicious debut season.

    In the entirety of the trading card collecting hobby, there are arguably two Mays representations more significant than this offering--the 1951 Bowman and the 1952 Topps. Of the former, not a single example has ever commanded a Gem Mint 10 rating from PSA. The latter matches the pop-one-of-one status of the offered treasure. There is no reason to believe that Topps rookie will appear upon the hobby's auction block soon, or ever. It is therefore difficult to overstate just what a special and important opportunity this Platinum Night affords the elite collector.

    More information about Willie Mays.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 9,944

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Aug 27, 2016 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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