1952 Topps Color Process Proof Cards

The other day, I published a piece about the 1952 Topps baseball progressive proof uncut sheets. I shared that, after buying all seven of them from Sotheby’s in 1992, it looked like the owner trimmed the full-color process proof sheet before reselling the full series of seven sheets at REA in 2006 (they very well could have changed hands a few more times over the years, I have no idea). The next owner saved the final color-process proof sheet but cut up the other six progressive proof sheets and slabbed each card with SGC before reselling them all with REA again in 2009.

The final color-process proof sheet sold for $18,800 in that 2009 REA auction. In the description, REA wrote “The final sheet was originally accompanied by six color process proof sheets, which have since been perfectly cut and organized by player, and are represented by the twenty lots that follow this one.”

Each of the twenty 1952 Topps proof card groups included the following color processes: 1) Red, yellow, and blue printing. A card which is very close in appearance to a final process card, but with the black printing missing. 2) Yellow and red printing.  3) Yellow printing. 4) Red printing. 5) Blue printing. 6) Black printing.

The two priciest groups of six color-process proof cards sold belonged to Andy Pafko ($3,819) and Warren Spahn ($2,644).

The other 18 lots of six cards sold for between $470 and $1,763.

If you search other auction house archives, you’ll find that many have been resold over the years. For example, MHCC sold the Runnels cards for $840 in March 2019, Brockelman sold the DiMaggio cards for $2,085 in June 2018, and REA re-sold the Pafko cards for $3,120 in their 2023 spring auction.

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