Lot # 58: 1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays Rookie PSA 7 NM

Category: 1950-1959

Starting Bid: $15,000.00

Bids: 20 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Winter Rarities '23 Auction",
which ran from 12/10/2022 12:00 PM to
1/7/2023 7:00 PM

(LOT 58)
1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays Rookie PSA 7 NM

The Say Hey Kid's undisputed rookie card is his 1951 Bowman #305 subject, with no question marks whatsoever as to what cardboard keepsake is Mays' inaugural issue. Only three years removed from a dramatic World War, the Bowman Gum Company decided to release its inaugural 1948 set, including baseball cards with a single stick of bubble gum within their wax packs. Bowman continued producing sets through 1955, eventually being bought out by the Topps Baseball Gum Co., and it would be 34 years before Bowman released its next major baseball card set in 1989. The 1951 and 1952 issues hold a special place in the hearts of collectors since they include the first and second-year cards for two of baseball's immortal center fielders, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.

These two rookies stormed the Big Apple in 1951, setting the groundwork to what would be an incredible joy ride in the New York Metropolitan area. Along with the Dodger's Duke Snider, it was unfathomable that any city could possibly reap the benefits of three immortal center fielders during the same era. While Mantle's Goliath power seemed to steal the show from the other two stars, Mays was unquestionably the better 5-tool player of the three, and is still considered by many as the greatest all-around player in baseball history. One of the most underrated post WWII cards had always been the 1951 Bowman rookie card of the immortal Say Hey Kid. For past several years, however, this concept has truly turned the corner for the 1951 Bowman Mays has finally realized the earth-shattering values it truly merits. In 2021, a PSA 8 example achieved a record setting $338k pricing point while a PSA 7 reached $90k in the spring of 2022.

Indeed, the true Willie Mays rookie card has finally earned its due respect among the hobby's premier collectors. As a worthy testament to his unbridled immortality, offered here is a magnificent 1951 Bowman Mays rookie card in a desirable PSA 7 NEAR-MINT holder. There isn't a single baseball historian that omits the legendary Giants center fielder on their top five all-time baseball player list. Mays could hit for average and power, run the bases, throw and play centerfield as well if not better than anyone who ever played the game. As Ty Cobb accomplished some 30+ years before him, Mays personified the 5-tool player concept, and his legacy will forever be embellished in our National Pastime's glorious history.

Whether it was his amazing "over the shoulder" catch in the 1954 World Series in the deepest confines of the Polo Grounds, his 660 round-trippers, his cannon-like arm or base running skills, Mays legacy will outlast eternity, and we cannot imagine a finer testament to his unparalleled legacy than a high-grade Bowman rookie card. Many qualities of this pack-fresh example is consistent with a higher assessment, including a brilliant lithographic image of Mays preparing to clout another one of his 660 round-trippers. Sharp corners, relatively clean surfaces, bright white borders, all combine to raise the bar on its overall condition. The only stigma appears to be a typically off-centered image that in this case favors the right edge, more than offset by the near-perfect top to bottom positioning. In closing, its abundance of pack-fresh attributes, tsunami-like pricing points and irrefutable rookie card stature all combine to justify its rightful place in any world-class compilation!

MIN BID $15,000

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