A high-grade set of ’52 Topps was broken up and sold in individual lots by Goodwin & Co. It could be the first million dollar baseball card set.
It isn’t often that 1952 Topps collectors get a chance to chase some fresh material, but if you were willing to enter the auction fray Thursday night, every card in the set was available.
St. Louis-based Goodwin & Co. sold a complete ’52 set card-by-card in a special auction. Each was graded PSA 8. The total realized price for the master set, including red and black variations (missing three cards), was $1,053,000.
“I think this is the first time a set has sold for $1 million,” company president Bill Goodwin said of the auction, which wrapped up about 2:45 AM Central time Friday. The set was never placed on the PSA Set Registry by its owner despite the consistent 8 grade.
As expected, the Mickey Mantle (#311) drew the highest bid. With the company’s 17.5% buyer’s premium tacked on, the winner paid $98,177 for the card. It’s believed to be the second highest price ever paid at public auction for a Mantle in that grade, trailing only the $112,000 paid in a May auction conducted by Memory Lane. Eight bids were entered for the card offered by Goodwin.
The tough #1 Andy Pafko also drew some serious action, selling for $81,137. Considered one of the key vintage cards of all time, the Pafko is difficult to find in high grade because of its position as the top card in the set and the typical miscut issues with the ’52 Topps set.
The high numbered cards are pricey even when not graded near mint-mint. #407, Eddie Mathews, is another key card in the set and the one offered by Goodwin brought what appears to be a record price of $41,734.
The set contained the black and red back variations throughout and a Pete Runnels rookie black back drew a crowd–and a winning bid of $49,636. The red back Runnels variety sold for $10,798. Another variation which generated attention from potential buyers turned out to be the Lou Kretlow red back, which sold for $19,199.
A George Shuba rookie card was purchased for $16,626. In all, 19 cards sold for more than $10,000 each and 190 sold for at least $1,000.