Purchased as part of a business liquidation 55 years ago, more unopened Topps trading card boxes from the 1950s are about to enter the market.
The gem of the bunch is a 1959 Topps baseball cello box, with 24 pristine unopened 4th series packs that’s likely to fetch at least $50,000 when Heritage Auctions puts it on the block next month. Also up for grabs will be a 1956 Topps Davy Crockett cello box.
As we reported last fall, the boxes originated with a northern Kentucky collector who received them from his enterprising father in the 1970s and managed to summon the willpower to keep them as is.
James Droganes and a partner were avid buyers of business liquidation inventory and in 1964, the duo brought home a bounty of material from Cincinnati Paper & Woodenware including several trading card boxes. After his dad handed them over to him 15 years later, Sam Dragones hung onto the boxes for nearly 40 years before ultimately opting to consign them.
There were two of the 1959 cello boxes in the group. The first one sold for $57,600 through Heritage in November. Two non-sports boxes fetched nearly $25,000 combined.
The new box will be offered in the February Platinum Night Auction that’s set to open February 1.
Unlike packs sold in the 1970s and beyond, the early Topps cellos generally didn’t contain any text or graphics on the front. The boxes are different–and simpler in design– than the standard Topps wax pack boxes. Packs originally sold for ten cents and typically contain 12 cards.
The 4th series included cards numbered from 265-352. Included in those cello packs could be pristine cards of Hall of Famers Ernie Banks (No. 350), Robin Roberts (No. 352), Luis Aparicio (No. 310), Richie Ashburn (No. 300), Sparky Anderson’s rookie card (#338), Hoyt Wilhelm (No. 349) and a combo card of Willie Mays and Ashburn (No. 317). Other key names collectors would recognize are Gil Hodges (No. 270), Billy Martin (No. 295), Joe Adcock (No. 315) and Sal Maglie (No. 309).
There’s an Anderson on the front of one of the packs while two others have him showing on the bottom.
Two years ago, Heritage auctioned a Gem Mint 10 example of the Banks for nearly $23,000.