1952 Topps AUTOGRAPHED set in pictures, not for the faint of heart!
When I started this project, I had the notion that it would most likely be impossible to even get halfway to completion. After speaking with TPG's, they confirmed that a signed complete basic set would just not be possible. "The high numbers are too scare", "too many obscure players", and "too many deaths in the 50s", were just some of the comments I received when I inquired at TPGs about a completed signed set. Also, I have heard it drove one guy mad (Hi Rube) trying to complete the impossible. I had tried once, quite a while back, and managed to find 181/407 unique examples. After speaking with a few advanced collector who start from scratch, mind you some bought large partial sets, halfway is about right for getting ready to give. I ended up selling, and decided I would not longer pursue the impossible. Mind you this was BEFORE someone came along and tried a 33 Goudey set! (kudos Jason)
I caught the bug again after talking with come of my previous contacts about signed 52s. That being said, I would never have been able to even come as close as I have to accomplishing this goal without the kindness and generosity of fellow collectors. Some who have passed on, their cards have found a good home, until the time comes when the cards will undoubtedly move on again. The most amazing parts about this set for me was learning about each players life and death, analyzing their signing habits, as well as hearing other collectors stories how they were obtained. I also was able to get a few through the mail, very few are still living, and I think we both enjoyed the correspondence.
I was able to find a group of 381/407 different that hold sold almost 20 years back, but this was before third party grading. I have not been able to locate the buyer of this set, and I would be curious how many would be holdered by PSA, SGC, or JSA.
I thought I would share a few items here, and some stories.
What can be said for the #1 card? Many collectors feel it is overvalued, because it is the #1 card, and it's condition "sensitiveness" sparked dealers to ask more for lower grade copies. However, Topps chose the Pafko for a reason! He was a 4 time consecutive all star and was "at the wall" in 1951 when "The shot heard round the world" was fired into the heart of Brooklyn fans. This card continues to be about $100 even in PSA 1 shape.
Although Pafko passed in 2013, he didn't answer his mail after early 2010. I believe at that point he was suffering from dementia and was moved to a nursing home. I sent 3 cards to him throughout the years and none ever came back!
I will probably reiterate this, but I was told way back when by dealers and collectors, "never have an expensive card autographed, it will reduce the value". Boy were they wrong!
I present card #1, a lowly PSA 3..however it is a pop of 1 with none higher with either back, of 21 total graded