They were a nickel apiece when Topps introduced them to wide eyed kids nearly 71 seasons ago. Baseball cards that were giant sized—just like the wrapper said. Nearly all of those green colored packs with red and white trim were opened, but a few stragglers stayed in their waxy overwraps as the decades passed. One stack of eight unopened 1952 Topps Baseball packs is now on the open market through Morphy Auctions where it’s expected to fetch a strong six-figure price when bidding closes late next week.
Each of the packs contains five cards, which are believed to likely be from Topps’ first series. The cello sealed brick’s ownership can be traced most recently to a 1991 transaction that took place after a few 1952 Topps packs were uncovered in Seattle.
“At that time, two collectors each purchased a brick from the original owner, including the one in our sale,” said Dan Morphy, founder and president of Morphy Auctions. “One of the two buyers chose to open his brick and sell most of its packs individually, but he also opened a few packs for himself, revealing – amongst other cards – what would become a PSA 10 Andy Pafko No. 1 card. To this day, it is still the only PSA 10 of its type. The other collector kept his brick intact and untouched, and that is the one we will be auctioning with a $400,000 to $800,000 estimate. Who knows what might be inside?”
Collectors might recall seeing the unusual item at the National Sports Collectors Convention in 2019 where it was on display at the Baseball Card Exchange booth with a price of $575,000. BBCE sold the brick two years ago to a private collector. As of late Wednesday afternoon, bidding at Morphy was at $350,000 ($420,000 with the buyer’s premium).
The ’52 pack lot isn’t the only rare vintage unopened lot in the auction. There’s also a 1970-71 Topps Basketball 1st series box of 24 10-cent packs. Each pack contains 10 cards and a Topps action poster, for a total of 240 cards and 24 posters.
The first series contains cards of Wilt Chamberlain, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, John Havlicek and other stars. The box is expected to sell for $100,000-$200,000.
A rare box of 1973-74 O-Pee-Chee Hockey packs uncovered in Canada last year is also on the block and expected to net somewhere in the $40,000 neighborhood.
Other premier lots in the sports card section include an unopened 1954 Topps 12-card cello pack that’s expected to sell for $20,000-$40,000.
Dozens of other unopened vintage packs and boxes from every major sport consigned by multiple collectors make up the bulk of the catalog but there are also lots featuring pre-War cards and a 1957 Topps Baseball set.
Morphy’s 2023 Toys, Sports Cards & General Collectibles Auction, will be held live at Morphy’s gallery in Denver, PA 17517, starting each day at 9 AM Eastern Time. Sports cards and packs will be offered during the opening session on Wednesday, February 1.