1953 Topps #207 Whitey Ford Original Artwork

I ran across the original color artwork used for Whitey Ford’s 1953 Topps baseball card while flipping through Sotheby’s February 1992 Important Baseball Cards and Sports Memorabilia Catalog. It represented a quick flip from its sale in Guernsey’s 1989 Topps Auction.

First, Sotheby’s included few details, just that it was a full-color original artwork and that the lot included an example card in near-mint to mint condition. They described the original artwork as being 3 1/2 by 5 in.

But like I said, Sotheby’s wasn’t the first auction house to offer this Topps original artwork. It was first made available to the hobby in Guernsey’s Topps Auction in 1989, along with the original full-color paintings of Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Bob Feller, Jackie Robinson, and Roy Campanella’s 1953 Topps baseball cards.

Guernseys included cropped color photos of all six art pieces in the front (page 17) of the catalog; here’s a scan of the Ford.

The specific auction lots were found later in the catalog. Ford shared page 72 with Jackie Robinson. Notice the expected $2,000-3000 price.

The Ford did a little better than that; it sold for $35,200. Interestingly, less than three years later, Sotheby’s expected the Ford to be sold for only $20,000-25,000.

To round things out, here’s the original news photograph from the early 1950s that inspired Ford’s 1953 (and 1954) Topps baseball card. Heritage sold this PSA/DNA Type 1 example for $1,920 in November 2017.

14 1952 Bowman Unissued Original Artworks

Christie’s East offered these 14 original 1952 Bowman paintings of never-issued cards in its October 1992 Sports Memorabilia Auction.

They were offered as Lot 93 with the following description:

14 original Bowman paintings of cards that were never issued. Players depicted include C. Lavagetto, M. Martin, J Hopp, C. Van Cuyk, G. Shuba, J. Merson, V Trucks, B Thorpe, T. Moore, B. Addis, J. Wilson, B. McCoskey, R. Gumpert, and J. Dobson. Each card measures 5 x 7 in.

The estimated value was $8,000-10,000.

Christie’s reference to R. Gumpert should have been Bill Henry, the second-to-last card on the bottom. Randy Gumpert has a 1952 Bowman card.

Bowman scrapped more than 14 players from their 1952 set; I previously shared Bill Dickey’s unissued original artwork that Ron Oser Enterprises sold in April 2000, REA sold artwork of an unidentified Detroit Tiger, and The Topps Archives has a post that shares Gelman’s find of 29 original Bowman art pieces including 15 who did not appear in the issued set. Those 15 (the 14 from Christie’s plus Bob Kennedy) were re-printed by TCMA in 1982 as a 1952 Bowman Supplement set (no Bill Dickey or unidentified Detroit Tiger in the supplement set).

Beckett describes the 1952 Bowman extension set as follows:

In 1980, 15 unissued pieces of artwork initially intended to be used by Bowman Gum in their 1952 baseball card set were discovered. This set consists of 15 cards made from this original artwork. The backs have been created to resemble the original 1952 series, and the set has been numbered 253-267 (the next 15 cards in the 1952 Bowman sequence). The facsimile autograph on the original 1952 Bowmans has been omitted from the cards in this set. This set was originally available from the producer for $3 per set.

For completeness, Heritage sold the original art for the 1952 Bowman Bob Kennedy card in May 2020 for $1,110. I’ve also included photos of the unidentified Detroit Tiger and Bill Dickey cards.

Also, check out my earlier post, 1952 Bowman Baseball Original Artwork, Proofs, And Retouched Cards, for more about the Willard Ramsdell and Cliff Mapes cards.

1952 Bowman Baseball Original Artwork, Proofs, And Retouched Cards

Today, a piece of Bowman history I learned from the Spring 1982 edition of Baseball Cards – The Complete Sports Collectors’ Magazine. The initial artwork of Willard Ramsdell for his 1952 Bowman card showcased him as a member of the Reds. However, a trade to the Cubs for Frank Hiller on January 3, 1952, prompted a retouching of the artwork before the set’s release.

In the Fall of 2014, Robert Edward Auctions sold the original artwork for $2700.

When I shared the cards on Twitter, Keith Olbermann added, “Same for Cliff Mapes. The first proof has him in a browns uniform. Second has him in Detroit (and it’s 1953 sized). Issued card has him with Detroit.” He also shared this photo.