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1941 R336 Play Ball Near-Complete Master Set (72 Cards Plus 45 Copyright Variations)
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $9,480
Extremely attractive near-complete master set of the 1941 Play Ball series issued by Gum, Inc., consisting of all seventy-two cards in a basic set plus an additional forty-five (of forty-eight) copyright variations for cards #1-48 for a total of 117 cards. Some hobbyists believe that the R336 set was issued over a two-year period with the high numbers and the no-copyright versions of #1-48 actually issued in 1942. Also included is a near-complete set of 1941 Play Ball "Paper Version" cards comprised of eighteen of twenty-four cards. The 1941 Play Ball set is one of card collecting's all-time classic gum issues, highlighted by what are among the most desirable cards of many of the era’s key stars, including Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Pee Wee Reese. This set has been consigned by a pioneer collector who did most of his collecting during the 1960s and 1970s with a very keen focus on condition, eye appeal, and completeness. His determined efforts to acquire all possible versions of a card, including several Hall of Famers which had to be purchased in duplicate, culminated in the assembly of this near-complete master set. We have selected ten cards to be graded by SGC.
Condition Report: 1) Complete Set (72 cards): 22% Ex-Mt (including two better), 47% Ex, and 31% Vg-Ex (including a few Vg). Keys: #1 Miller (Ex), 6 Hubbell (EX+ 70), 8 Ott (EX/NM 80), 10 Vaughan (Ex-Mt), 13 Foxx (NM 84), 14 T. Williams (VG/EX+ 55), 15 Cronin (Ex), 18 Greenberg (EX+ 70), 19 Gehringer (EX/NM 80), 20 Ruffing (Ex), 39 Henrich (Ex), 54 Reese RC (NM 84), 60 Klein (Vg-Ex+), 61 V. DiMaggio (Ex-Mt), 63 D. DiMaggio (Vg-Ex+), 64 Doerr (Vg-Ex), 70 Dickey (VG/EX 50), 71 J. DiMaggio (EX/NM+ 82), and 72 Gomez (EX/NM 80). 2) No-Copyright Variations (45 cards): Near-complete run of no-copyright variations for cards #1-48 (missing only #2, 4, and 8 for completion). 36% Ex to Ex-Mt, 24% Vg-Ex, and 40% Gd to Vg. Keys: #1 Miller (Gd), 6 Hubbell (Vg+), 10 Vaughan (Vg), 13 Foxx (Ex+), 14 Williams (Gd), 15 Cronin (Gd), 18 Greenberg (Vg), 19 Gehringer (Vg-Ex+), and 20 Ruffing (Vg-Ex). 3) Paper Versions (18 cards, hand-cut): Near-complete set missing only six for completion and consisting of #1 Miller, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10 Vaughan, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18 Greenberg, 19 Gehringer, 21, 22, 23, and 24. These paper version 1941 Play Balls (which look like 1941 Play Balls but are printed on thin paper stock) were actually issued in two 12-card uncut sheets for a penny a piece (also possibly in 1942) and were intended to be hand-cut by youngsters. (Paper was in short supply during wartime, and Gum, Inc., had little choice but to be creative as valuable resources were increasingly needed for the war effort and took priority over the production of gum cards).
Technically the 1941 Play Ball near-master set of 117 cards (out of 120) falls into the “very strong medium" grade category, with almost all the cards presenting bright and fresh with bold colors, and many of the modestly graded cards displaying only honest corner wear. Classic vintage sets in this grade are especially desirable, representing the most solid and least volatile value in the world of vintage cards. This is an outstanding opportunity to acquire an extremely attractive 72-card set plus 45 variations, with numerous highlights (more than usual because of the variations), of this classic prewar issue (in addition to the eighteen paper-version cards). The equivalent SMR value for just the ten graded cards (factoring in the four half-grades at the lower whole-grade level and not including the additional 107 traditional 1941 Play Ball ungraded cards or the eighteen paper version cards) is $5,435. Total: 135 cards (complete set of 72 plus 45 copyright variations and 18 paper versions). Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000+. SOLD FOR $9,480
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