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1948 Bowman Basketball #69 George Mikan Rookie with Overprint Back
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $2,040
Presented is an extremely fascinating example of Hall of Famer George Mikan's rookie card from the 1948 Bowman Basketball set, widely regarded as the king of all basketball cards. The offered example is an exceedingly rare gray back variation (as compared to the normal royal blue background found on Mikan's iconic rookie card) with an overprinted reverse. The 1948 Bowman Basketball series is particularly significant as this was the first set ever issued devoted exclusively to basketball and the only basketball set ever produced by Bowman. The George Mikan card in this set is considered the most sought-after and valuable of all basketball cards. As advanced collectors are well aware, 1948 Bowman basketball cards occasionally surface missing the red or blue coloring. It is believed that simple printing errors are responsible for these color variations, and that the gray back (also sometimes referred to as "slate back") variations in 1948 Bowman basketball are the result of cards not going through an ink process, or the printing machines running out of ink. (REA sold an uncut sheet of 1948 Bowman Basketball cards in lot 1248 of the 2005 auction which would seem to confirm this theory.) The overprint on the card's back, which features an actor from the Bowman "Movie Stars" set of the same year, is likely the result of Bowman pressmen using the discarded basketball sheets, which couldn't be cut up and distributed in packs because they were missing colors, to run through printing presses and test ink levels before running the "Movie Stars" final issue sheets. Encapsulated as "Authentic" by PSA, the card presents well but technically would grade modestly due to a vertical crease extended from the top to bottom border in the left third of the card. The card is also missing the right border and appears to have been handcut along that side. This is an extremely unusual and attractive example of George Mikan's rookie card from this significant basketball issue. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000+. SOLD FOR $2,040
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