April 2019 Spring Premium Auction - Rare & High-Grade Cards You Won't Find Anywhere Else
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/5/2019
One of the top five most important and iconic Topps baseball rookie cards produced within the last half-century, Rickey Henderson's 1980 Topps #482 card is as firmly established in hobby history as the dynamic "Man of Steal" is in Major League Baseball history. Nearly 30,000 examples have been submitted to the combined firms of BGS, PSA, and SGC, and only 40 total examples have ever been determined to be Gem Mint. PSA has awarded its top Gem Mint 10 designation to 24 examples, the most recent two sales of which each cleared $25,000. Twice within the last decade the card flirted with breaking the $40,000 plateau, both at the height of the recent hobby boom in 2016 and 2017. For its part, SGC has graded seven examples in the Gem Mint grade, the most recent sale of which fetched $12,600. Lastly, Dallas-based Beckett Grading Services has graded nine copies in the Gem Mint grade from a sizable submission pool of 5,372 copies on record. Offered in this lot is one of those elite nine, but it is unlike every other example we've been able to research. Every one of the examples for which there is a sales record at VintageCardPrices.com—and there are 11 of them—shows the maroon-colored BVG (Beckett Vintage Grading) logo on its graded card case, whereas the offered card shows the standard BGS (Beckett Grading Services) white logo, and it may be the only one in existence.

As most Beckett collectors know, the BVG service (maroon logo) from the long-time grading authority and price guide publisher allows for a higher tolerance of certain imperfections more associated with vintage cards than with modern cards. This makes good sense given that the quality of trading cards has changed so rapidly over the last several decades. Cards today are produced with such technical precision that the vast majority rate gem mint or pristine straight out of their packs, whereas cards in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s typically rate closer to NM 7 right out of packs. Indeed, even in 1980, one could open an entire case of Topps baseball cards and not discover a single mint condition Rickey Henderson rookie. The card is well known to be pestered by print and centering issues, and the corners and edges of Topps cards were frankly no better in 1980 than they were in the late 60s and early 70s. For all these reasons and more, the offered BGS 9.5 Gem Mint (white logo) Rickey Henderson rookie is unique. As measured against more recent modern cards, this impressive 39-ear old example holds its own. Perfect centering on both sides joins perfect corners and edges around a perfectly registered image of the legendary lead-off man that is entirely devoid of the pesky print snow commonly seen in its dark background. When compared to the most recent pair of PSA 10s to hit the market, there's no question that this card looks better.

Nearly two decades have come and gone since Rickey Henderson all but refused to retire from Major League Baseball. With 52 more runs scored than Ty Cobb, he remains the game's all-time leading scorer (2,295). With nearly 50% more stolen bases than runner-up Lou Brock, he remains the game's all-time leader in steals, with 1,406, and it's unlikely that another player will ever reach 1,000, let alone challenge the greatest base-runner who ever lived. He also holds the single season swipes record, with 130. Eighty-one times in his career did he step up to the plate to lead-off a game and lose the ball over the outfield fence, another record, with Craig Biggio and Alfonso Soriano tied at a distant second, with 53. He reached base on unintentional passes 2,190 times, second-most in MLB history, behind only Barry Bonds. Also placing just behind Bonds, but ahead of Willie Mays, he owns the second-highest career power–speed number, at 490.4. Perhaps most impressive of all, in his final season of 2003, Henderson surpassed Babe Ruth for the career record in secondary bases (total bases compiled from extra base hits, walks, stolen bases, and times hit by pitch). As Bill James wrote in 2000, "Without exaggerating one inch, you could find fifty Hall of Famers who, all taken together, don't own as many records, and as many important records, as Rickey Henderson."
Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,500
Final prices include buyers premium: $4,463
Number Bids: 4
Auction closed on Sunday, May 5, 2019.
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