The Topps Company redefined the trading card collecting hobby during the 1950s, and two of the most coveted sets from that era were heavily pursued by the most condition-conscious hobbyists at Heritage Auctions’ PSA Set Registry Auction in Dallas, which closed March 23.
The 1955 and 1958 Topps sets, which rank second and fourth, respectively, on the PSA Set Registry, were sold as individual single-card lots in the Extended Bidding format sale.
“It’s a lot of hard work to build a top-five set,” Heritage Sports Director Chris Ivy said, “but the joy is in the journey, and this auction stayed true to that principle.”
While set-builders played a leading role in the bidding, important rookie cards and Hall of Fame-condition rarities also drew considerable attention from collectors interested only in elite singles. Debut cards from such baseball immortals as Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente, Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins infielder Harmon Killebrew and New York Yankees outfielder Roger Maris were among the finest available.
The top items sold in the auction included, but were not limited to:
- A 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax #123 PSA Mint 9 that is among the highest-graded examples of this card. Bested only three times in over 6,000 submissions to PSA, this elite-level card sold for $204,000.
- A 1955 Topps Harmon Killebrew #124 PSA Mint 9 that earned the second-highest grade ever bestowed on this particular card was one of only 19 such cards on record and sold for $38,400.
- One of a dozen 1955 Topps Willie Mays #194 PSA Mint 9 cards graded PSA Mint 9 – as high as any has been graded – realized $24,000.
- Only one 1955 Topps Jackie Robinson #50 PSA Mint 9 has received a higher grade than this example, which is one of 21 to earn a Mint grade by PSA and brought $18,000.
- One of just 25 to earn a Mint grade, with none grading higher, this 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle #150 PSA Mint 9 sold for $26,400.
- This 1958 Topps Duke Snider #88 PSA Mint 9 is one of just five at this grade level, with only one example graded higher, and sold for $16,800.
- Only two examples of this card ever earned a higher grade than this 1958 Topps Bob Clemente (White Letters) #52 PSA Mint 9 card, which is one of just 16 to earn this grade level and drew $9,600.
- The second-highest grade for an example of the 1958 Topps Sandy Koufax #187 PSA Mint 9 went to this one – one of just 22 at this grade level – which sold for $8,400.