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Incredible 1945 Mutoscope "Artist Pin-Up Girls" Original Complete Vending Box (500 cards)
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $13,200
Presented is one of the most remarkable original unopened items we have ever seen: An incredible original vending box containing approximately 500 cards from the 1945 Mutoscope "Artist Pin-Up Girls" series. These cards have literally never been out of their original packaging box! They have never been touched by human hands (unless they were hand-packed in 1945), and, aside from the four top cards being exposed to light just so that we could take the catalog pictures, have literally never seen the light of day!
In the style of Exhibit cards of the era, from 1940 to 1945 the Mutoscope Reel Company issued cards featuring beautiful pinup artwork by the top illustrators of the day, for sale in penny arcade machines. The public's appetite for pinup art exploded during this era, with images by artists such as Gil Elvgren, Zoe Mozert, and Earl Moran appearing on everything from matchbook covers to ink blotters to calendars. Fortunately, youngsters (as well as card-collecting adults) were not left out of this impressive production of printed matter, as the Mutoscope Company made these (for the times) very risqué images available to kids throughout the land at amusement parks and anywhere arcade machines could call home. The company packed approximately 500 cards tightly into a cardboard vending box as a means of distribution to the machine owners. This is only the second such vending box that we have ever seen offered (the other appeared at public auction in 2013, realizing $7,170) and the first we've personally seen, let alone handled, in more than forty years! Carefully opening the top of the vending box compares to opening a time capsule as the interior cards all appear to be very crisp, clean, and incredibly sharp! While it is impossible to provide guarantees with reference to grading of unopened material, there is, of course, the very real possibility that within this box are countless ultra high-grade examples from this popular set. We would be surprised if all or virtually all were not in Near Mint to Mint or better condition. The box is, in our opinion, one of the most interesting and substantial nonsport items we've ever handled! This is an extraordinary original vending box containing approximately 500 of these classics of American popular culture, and one that offers countless candidates (approximately 500!) for professional grading or, if kept intact, would be a worthy addition to even the most advanced nonsport-card collection. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $13,200
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