The Official Pete Rose 1983 Price Guide To Baseball Cards

I was flipping through the June 1982 issue of Trader Speaks when I came across this ad for The Official Pete Rose 1983 Price Guide to Baseball Cards. It looked familiar, and that’s because I have a copy of the book in the Hobby Library!

The ad is great, and I love how they highlighted Burger King, O-Pee-Chee, SSPC, and TCMA, along with Topps, Donruss, Fleer, and Bowman.

The book is “pocket-sized” at ~4 1/4” x 5 3/4” but is jam-packed with information. Thomas E Hudgeons III edited it via The House of Collectibles Inc. To follow are a couple of scans from the book (which you can pick up for $7-8 on eBay).

I love how the card producers helped prepare the book!

Here’s the table of contents; it’s always nice when guides have something unique beyond prices and checklists, and this one has quite a bit, including some information from Pete Rose (of course).

The first sets in the guide were 1951 Topps Blue and Red Backs, followed by the 1952s.

This is the ‘Full Color Collectors Card of Rose’ highlighted on the cover.

And lastly, here’s the back cover.

1962 Topps Football Uncut Sheet

This original, uncut sheet of 132 different cards from the 1962 Topps football set was auctioned off in April 2004.

The 27-3/4” x 42-1/2” Ex-conditioned panel presents many of the set’s high-profile stars and short-prints, including Ditka, Groza, Davis, Meredith, Starr, Hornung, Gregg, Jordan, Tarkenton, McElhenny, Tittle, Gifford, Layne, Kilmer, and Brodie.

These black-bordered sheets are incredibly scarce. The only reference I can find online to them is from The Vintage Football Card Gallery, which has a page dedicated to virtual uncut sheets but includes a photo of the other second-half sheet a collector sent him. 

1948 Babe Ruth Exacta Watch

I’d been looking for a new daily driver watch when I ran across this 1948 Babe Ruth Exacta watch in an old auction catalog from July 1998. This was my first time seeing it, though they appear moderately common. They aren’t cheap, but I feel compelled to find a nice copy anyway!

The watch face shows a full-color pinstriped portrait of Ruth, bats slung over his shoulder against an emerald green baseball diamond. 

In July 2014, Goldin sold the following 1948 Babe Ruth Exacta Watch with an original case, box, and registration card for $829.50.

You can see that the lot also included a period magazine advertisement for the watch, just $7.95.

1962 Topps Baseball Unopened Stamp Album Box

I was surprised to see this empty 1962 Topps Baseball Stamp Album and Record Book display box sell for so much on May 27, 2024.

You can see the closing price was $456 on eBay. At first glance, that price doesn’t seem that out of the ordinary for a relatively scarce vintage display box. However, a BBCE-authenticated full box with 12 albums inside sold for just $288 at Rockhurst Auctions on April 25, 2024, just a month earlier.

I contacted the new owner of the BBCE box, and he mentioned that the Rockhurst Auctions lot had a strangely worded description that made it tough to tell whether it was a full box or just the display box (I overlooked the auction last month entirely). He also said the seller on eBay has a big following, and their items tend to get bid up. And as much as folks like to complain about eBay, they have a HUGE reach.

Anywho, as a hobby library adjacent collectible, I’m in the market for one of these boxes if you have one. Happy collecting!

1967 Topps Baseball 3rd Series Wax Box

Legit, who knows?! But Masto offered this 1967 Topps Baseball 3rd-Series 24-Count Wax Box for sale in August 2003 with a minimum bid of $1500.

Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks are in the third series, but interestingly, PSA hasn’t designated any of their 77 graded wax pack examples as being from the third series; 22 are undesignated, and then are the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th series packs. FWIW, all the graded 4th-series packs I ran across offered the “All Star Pin-Up Inside.” REA sold this one for $3960 in their Spring 2024 auction.

I asked some folks on the Facebook Vintage Wax and Packs group how Mastro could say the packs were the third series. They surmised Mastro pressed some packs to see the cards and determine the series. I had been wondering if the insert or wrapper color 1967 prevented that technique. I think Topps only used that specific wax box design (advertising the pin-ups) after the first few series were released; if you have more info about this, please leave a comment. Here’s an example from Heritage Auctions of a box without the pin-up ad.

Masto described the box as being in Ex-Mt condition, with a few of the packs showing minor faults or tears but the majority in near-mint condition.

The Copeland Collection 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle

The following scan is from Sotheby’s March 1991 catalog that featured James Copeland’s incredible collection.

Apart from its scope, the collection was known for every item’s superb condition and quality, including his 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle.

Sotheby’s described the card as being in mint condition, coming from Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen’s 1952 Topps discovery of cards, and being the best of the Mantle cards from this discovery (the finest copy known to exist).

Interestingly, in August 2022, Heritage sold the “Finest Known Example” 1952 Topps Mantle for $12.6M, and it was accompanied by a letter from Rosen, dated June 17th, 1991, to the consignor explaining that this copy was the nicest one…

Topps’ Little Cracker Jack Idea

Topps used its early 90s magazine to advertise many of its own releases, including its partnership with Crack Jack in 1991.

This partnership was included in a section of the magazine called “Topps in the Field: News From Around The Collecting World” and shared the page with a few words about Topps’ partnership with Bazooka and Nintendo Systems Base Wars game. 

Here’s the text accompanying the “Little Cracker Jack Idea” image.

The promotion must have been successful because a second Series was eventually released, making the set a total of 72 approximately one-fourth-scale cards. 

And don’t worry, the cards weren’t thrown in loose with caramel corn.