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Lot # 662 (of 1336)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Extremely Rare 1952 Topps "Canadian" Gray Backs Near-Complete PSA-Graded Set (59/60)

Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $42,000

Presented is an extraordinarily rare near-complete set of fifty-nine (out of sixty) 1952 Topps "Canadian" gray-back cards, each graded and encapsulated by PSA. To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest and most complete group of these rare cards that has ever been made available at public auction. While sixty cards are offered in this lot, one card (#189 Reiser) appears to us be a mislabeled cream back. Cards #131-190 within the 407-card 1952 Topps set are most commonly found printed on cream-colored stock. A small percentage of cards have been found printed on gray-colored stock.

The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards presents a theory that these cards have come to be known as Canadian issued because the same phenomenon exists with 1954 Topps and an abbreviated set printed on gray stock designed for issue solely in Canada that year. Some collectors feel that this is a misnomer, instead theorizing that Topps produced a run of cards in this manner for one of two reasons. One is as simple as a temporary shortage of regular cream-colored stock in the factory during production. The other focuses on the slight differences in the card fronts, which as the Standard Catalog notes are "subjectively darker or more muted than the 'U.S.A.' versions." Some collectors believe that these cards were designed as part of a distribution arragement with Kleenex and Doeskin tissues in which cards were inserted with packages of tissues. While no concrete evidence of this relationship has been unearthed, it is known that the "Rails and Sails" nonsport issue produced by Topps in 1955 was issued along with Doeskin tissues at the time. Bob Lemke, former editor of the Standard Catalog, presents a detailed analysis of these variations on his blog (, which includes input from several longtime collectors and hobby researchers. Whatever the explanation for these cards, it is without dispute that they are extremely rare and even a single example can be hard to find.

PSA Grading Composite: One NM 7:
#164 (MC). Four EX-MT 6: #139 (MC), 142 (OC), 152, and 188. Four EX 5: #131, 133, 163, and 169 (MC). One VG-EX+ 4.5: #149. Twenty VG-EX 4: #134 (MK), 138, 143, 146, 148 (MC), 151, 153, 156 (MC), 158, 159, 160, 161, 162 (MK), 168, 173, 175 Martin RC, 178, 181, 184, and 185. Twelve VG 3: #135, 141 (MC), 147 (MC), 150, 154, 157, 165, 167, 176, 183, 189 (mislabeled cream back), and 190. One GOOD+ 2.5: 132. Eight GOOD 2: #136, 137 (MC), 145, 155, 172, 174, 180, and 182. Three FR 1.5: #166, 170, and 177 (MK). Five PR 1: #140, 144, 171, 179, and 186. One Authentic: #187.

The near-complete set offered here is an incredible collecting accomplishment that would be hard to replicate. Single examples routinely trade for upwards of hundreds of dollars each even in modest condition. It is remarkable to find a collection of this size with as many condition highlights as found within the offered near-complete set. This is a tremendous opportunity to acquire a near-complete set of these rarities from the 1952 Topps set, one of card collecting’s most revered sets, worthy of even the most advanced collection. Total: 60 cards.  Reserve $2,000. Estimate $4,000+. SOLD FOR $42,000

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