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Lot # 536 (of 1389)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1955 Topps Hocus Focus Partial Set (15/23) Including Extremely Rare Jacobs, Moon, and Smith!

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $12,000

Unprecedented offering of 1955 Topps Hocus Focus cards. This partial set consists of fifteen different of the twenty-three in a complete set. Long considered by many to be one of the most difficult Topps sets to collect (let alone complete), the checklist for this rare set has only recently taken shape as new discoveries, including three cards offered in this partial set, are shared with the collecting community. For many years, only eighteen of the cards in this set were known and cataloged. In 2009, three new additions to the checklist (Spook Jacobs, Wally Moon, and Mayo Smith) were added, followed by a 2011 discovery of the final two cards (Mel Parnell and Hal Smith). Despite a now-complete checklist (the backs define the set as having 23 subjects), anything more than a sample has eluded many serious collectors. In our many years, we do not recall offering even a single card from this incredibly rare set. This group of fifteen different is truly a miraculous assembly!

Remarkably, all fifteen of these cards have been saved since the year of issue by our consignor, who recalls buying them at his local store in 1955 as a young boy growing up in Roanoke, Virginia. We were quite surprised to find such a large offering of these rare cards among his collection and were further stunned not to find even a single example of the more common 1956 Topps Hocus Focus cards. Our consignor told us that he distinctly remembers the second-year cards not being offered by his local retailer. Interestingly, he also found out as an adult hobbyist that his area of Virginia did not receive any of the high-number cards produced by Topps, so his "complete" sets of all the early 1950s Topps cards had to be carefully filled out many years after his original efforts.

These "self-developing" cards (7/8 x 1-3/8 inches) from 1955 are somewhat similar in design to the 1948 "Magic Photos" series because when issued they had blank fronts: the sepia photos on the fronts could be developed by youngsters by exposing them to the sun. The self-developing process produced very inconsistent results, and many cards that have survived have photos which are very poorly developed. The offered collection of fifteen is remarkable not only for its size and scope, but also for its condition. Each of the examples is particularly well-developed. The photo quality is exceptional, with almost all of the cards having pleasing contrast and detail. The cards remain in Very Good to Excellent condition overall.

This collection consists of the following: #1 Babe Ruth, 3 Dick Groat, 4 Ed Lopat, 5 Hank Sauer, 8 Harvey Haddix, 9 Ray Boone, 11 Mayo Smith (possibly unique), 13 Jim Rivera, 15 Gus Zernial, 16 Jackie Robinson, 18 Johnny Schmitz, 19 Wally Moon (possibly unique), 20 Karl Spooner, 21 Ed Mathews, and 22 Spook Jacobs (possibly unique).

The significance of this collection cannot be overstated as it is, to the best of our knowledge, the largest and most complete group of cards from this set to ever be presented at one time. Countless collectors assembling Topps, team, and player collections include 1955 Hocus Focus on their wantlists. This is an extremely rare, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a partial set of fifteen cards from this extremely fascinating and incredibly scarce vintage-card issue. Total: 15 cards. SOLD FOR $12,000

(Click the smaller thumbnails to the left and right (if any) to cycle through each photo in the gallery of images for this lot.)