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Autographed 1952 Topps #163 Stan Rojek - Extremely Rare "Canadian" Gray Back!
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $1,680
Signed 1952 Topps card of #163 Stan Rojek, graded and encapsulated VG-EX 4 by PSA/DNA. What makes this signed example so special and worthy of standing alone as a single item is the fact that the card is an extremely rare gray 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 (http://boblemke.blogspot.com/2011/05/1952-topps-not-canadian.html), 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. Finding a signed example is much, much more difficult, and several advanced autograph collectors we consulted with believe that the offered card may be the only signed gray back in existence. None of these collectors had ever seen or heard of another! (Addendum: Since the auction has opened, we have been made aware of the possible existence of other signed gray backs. While we have not seen pictures, we are noting that collectors have contacted us about the existence of 3-6 examples.) The card is beautifully signed on the front in black felt-tip marker (grading "9"). This is an incredibly rare opportunity to acquire a signed 1952 Topps gray back, a worthy addition to even the world's most advanced autograph or Topps collection. Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,680
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