1952 Topps #261 Willie Mays PSA 8 NM-MT
Willie Mays will forever reside on every historian's list as one of the premier all-time players. His batting, fielding and running exploits set the benchmark for the "five-tool" player concept, and he currently holds the distinguished title as baseball's greatest living ballplayer. This is why avid enthusiasts scramble to seize his most desirable and valuable cards with his two most prestigious cards being his 1951 Bowman rookie and 1952 inaugural Topps subject. Advanced collectors assembling high grade 1952 Topps sets as well as the most hallowed cardboard keepsakes painstakingly seek a high-grade 1952 Topps Mays, and this scintillating PSA NM/MT 8 example offered here suffices as one of the finest you will ever come across.
Consider that PSA has encapsulated 2,400+ Willie Mays 1952 Topps cards with a mere 2.4% achieving this hallowed grade and only 11 graded higher! The flashes of brilliance Mays depicted in his 1951 rookie campaign excited a myriad of the "Big Apple" fan base. Swatting 20 round-trippers, portraying gazelle-like base running skills and catching virtually everything hit his way, Mays would capture the "Rookie of the Year" award, with Giant's fans anxiously awaited his 1952 season. Unfortunately, due to the Korean War, Mays was drafted after playing in only 34 games, and he would not see action again until the 1954 season. Topps celebrated his superb inaugural campaign with an imposing Mays #261 subject, and the "Say Hey Kid" never looked better than in this classic "half-body" portrait pose of the immortal center fielder. The youthful-looking Mays couldn't possibly imagine the incredible career he was about to embark on when he posed for this legendary photo, highlighted by brilliant hues and crystal-clear clarity. The relatively well-centered image reveals near-perfect "top to bottom" positioning with the vertical "right to left" centering exhibiting approximate 60/40 alignment.
Most significant is the absence of any glaring image "tilt" that so often plagues the aesthetics of the '52 Topps Mays. A bold violet background, right-angled corners, impeccable print clarity and relatively clean surfaces provide the final compliments for this museum worthy masterpiece that seldom surfaces with the illustrious "NM/MT 8" assessment. It is no secret that high-grade 1950's stars are currently realizing stratospheric pricing points for Cooperstown's finest legends such as Mantle, Clemente, Aaron, Koufax and Mays, with record setting prices seemingly recorded each and every passing day. That said, due to the extremely rare occurrence of one of those few existing "Mint 9" examples surfacing at auction, we expect an intense "tug-of-war" for this esteemed '52 Topps Mays PSA 8 marvel that stands alongside the Mantle, Robinson and Mathews subjects as one of the four most exalted 1952 Topps icons!
MIN BID $15,000