The Great Topps Auction

Hobby historians learned a lot from Guernsey’s Topps Auction, which occurred on August 19th/20th, 1989, following a two-day public exhibition at the Hunter College Sportsplex in NY, but photos from the event are scarce.

This one’s from the Premier Issue of Topps Magazine, which accompanied an article called The Great Topps Auction. In it, Kenneth M. Liss wrote that Topps baseball photos and art were the big hits of the auction. He highlighted that the original color painting used to create Mickey Mantle’s 1953 Topps card was the #1 attraction and sold for $121k.

Based on the auction’s catalog (pictured below), here are the players pictured in the image:

  • BF 3 is three action frames of Rocky Colavato while on the Detroit Tigers.
  • BF 4 is Lenny Green
  • BF 5 is George Altman and Billy Cowan.
  • BF 6 is Chick Cotter
  • BF 7 is Glen Clark
  • BF 8 is Pete Cimino
  • BF 9 is Ernie Fazio
  • BF 10 is Camiio Carreon
  • BF 11 is Don Loun and Ron Stillwell

The Worst Baseball Card?

The February 1993 issue of Baseball Cards featured a section called Readers’ Choice, but I’m going to have to disagree with Eric Hoffman on this one!

The 1951 Bowman #195 Paul Richards card is the only cartoon image in the 324-card set.

I’ve read that the most common theory concerning the card was that Richards wasn’t named the manager of the Sox until the Bowman cards were nearly ready to print and because Richards retired as an MLB player in 1946 (he was a player-manager with the Buffalo Bisons of the International League from 1947-49), Bowman didn’t have any recent or suitable photos of Richards to colorize, so they had one of their artists do a last-second drawing.

1982 Jackie Robinson First Day Cover

The USPS initiated a Black Heritage Stamp Series in 1978. On August 2, 1982, they issued one for Jackie Robinson. This advertisement, from the October 1982 Trader Speaks, is for a pair of 1st Day Covers with a B. Scott Forst stadium exclusive drawing on the left side.

There seem to be a few different 1st Day Covers for the stamp; the one advertised in Trader Speaks appears to be a little more challenging to track down but not any more expensive than the others.

Now, for the stamp specifically, it was painted by Howard Koslow, and 164,235,000 stamps were issued at a postage value of 20¢ each.

Hobby influencers In The Spring Of 1981

The Premier Issue of Baseball Cards was released in the Spring of 1981 as “the complete sports collectors’ magazine,” the team behind it introduced themselves with this great piece.

Bob Lemke was always known to make great cards, so I presume he designed these. Unfortunately, he died in 2017, but his blog remains online.

Here’s the cover of the issue, too.

Frank Nagy’s Personal Collection of Hobby Publications

I wish I had already been building the hobby library in 2005 when Frank Nagy’s personal collection of hobby publications was offered for sale.

You can see a few incredible examples in the photos of The Sport Hobbyist, The Sport Card Journal, The Trading News, Card Comments, The Trader Speaks, The Old Judge, The Sport Hobbyist and Journal, and Sports Collectors Digest among the 721 “choice early hobby pubs.”

Funny enough, Collect Auctions just sold a similarly impressive lot of vintage hobby pubs and guides in their auction that ended on April 4, 2024. Among its 366 items, it offered, I believe, three copies of Richard Egan’s Handbook to Early Card & Gum Baseball. The final price was $1626.

No matter how fancy you think your collection is, something always stops you in your tracks.