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Lot # 490 (of 1389)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1948 Topps "Magic Photos" 126-Card Series 1 Uncut Sheet Including Ruth and Gehrig

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,400

Presented is an extraordinary complete 126-card uncut sheet of 1948 Topps "Magic Photos" Series 1. This is a very rarely seen sheet of this unusual early Topps issue. Most assume that the first Topps card issues were in 1951. In fact, the very first Topps card issue was the "Magic Photos" set of 1948. This was also Topps' first baseball-card set. These "self-developing" cards (7/8 x 1-7/16 inches) were called "Magic Photos" because when issued they had blank fronts, and the sepia photos on the fronts could be developed by youngsters by exposing them to the sun. This set has always been very popular among nonsport collectors, but its great significance as Topps' first baseball card set has never fully been appreciated by baseball-card collectors. This may be due, in part, to the fact that the self-developing process produced very inconsistent results, and many cards that have survived have photos that are very poorly developed.

The set is complete at 252 subjects (issued in two series), ranging from baseball players and boxers to various nonsport topics, including famous movie stars, buildings, famous personalities, cowboys, championship dogs, etc. All nineteen baseball subjects, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, Cy Young, and Walter Johnson (plus William Bendix as Babe Ruth in The Babe Ruth Story) are included on this sheet. Several football and basketball cards are also featured, along with notable historical figures, including Edison, Lindbergh, Patton, Geronimo, Earhart, and Franklin.

This is an extraordinary sheet both in terms of condition and, perhaps just as important, in terms of photo quality. The quality of the images on this sheet are absolutely perfect, no doubt related to its uncut form. (It is very possible this sheet was used by Topps for proofing purposes.) The sheet technically grades Excellent (due to minor wear along the perimeter and a few insignificant stains on the reverse) but, as can easily be seen, displays as Near Mint. It is free of any major creases or wrinkles, and only a few surface indentations affect the interior cards. The lower left corner is clipped, which does not affect the card or detract from the sheet but is mentioned for the sake of accuracy. The photo quality, as noted, approaches perfection, and is clearly far better than normally seen, with every card displaying ideal contrast and detail. This is a very significant and rare uncut sheet of this early Topps issue, which has always been somewhat overlooked by collectors, perhaps because of the small dimensions of the final-issue cards (approximately 7/8 x 1-1/2 inches), and the varying degrees of photo quality of cards (issued cards are rarely found perfectly developed as is the case with the cards on this sheet). SOLD FOR $2,400

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