The Bowman baseball beer box find is back.
Three years after its discovery in the home of a Tennessee family, a nearly full 1948 Bowman baseball box is coming back on the market.
The box, containing 19 of the 24 wax packs, sold for $521,180 through Mile High Card Company in 2017–an average of $27,430 per pack and $5,486 per card. It was the headliner in a large, stunning consignment of vintage unopened sports and non-sports boxes—most from the 1960s and 70s– that garnered extensive publicity and was spread over two auctions.
No surviving unopened 1948 Bowman baseball packs had been previously known to exist and none have been uncovered in the three years since. The 1948 Bowman box was the oldest one in the consignment.
The five-cent packs contain five cards and three pieces of gum, a configuration touted on Bowman’s original red and white sales placard that was found inside the box.
“With prices realized for unopened material reaching an unprecedented level, the winning bidder from the June 2017 auction has decided to part with it, keeping one pack for his collection and returning the other 18 and the box for consignment,” stated MHCC President and CEO Brian Drent.
The collection of boxes originated with a family that operated one of the most prominent non-sports trading card companies of its time and even dabbled in the baseball card market. Company executives routinely examined products of their competitors for research purposes and then put them in storage. Many were stored in vintage cardboard beer cases, which is how the find got its moniker.
Nearly all of the packs and boxes hadn’t been handled in decades and remained in virtually pristine condition.
The display box, well-worn and held together with tape, is also the only known example to exist. According to authenticator Steve Hart of Baseball Card Exchange (BBCE), the packs range from NM to NM/MT. The wrapped box comes with BBCE’s letter of authenticity.
The 1948 Bowman baseball set is recognized as the first post-War bubble gum card set. The complete set includes just 48 cards but holds what are considered the rookie cards of Stan Musial, Yogi Berra, Bob Feller, Warren Spahn, Ralph Kiner and Phil Rizzuto, among others.