December 2019 Holiday Premium Auction
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In addition to ranking as the 2nd most accomplished left-handed pitcher in baseball history, with 4,136 strikeouts (4th all-time) and 329 wins (11th all-time), Steve Carlton holds the dubious record for most balks. His 90 ill-timed stutter-steps and head fakes tally twice the second-most on record, Bob Welch's 45. Perhaps it's appropriate, then, that the offered 1965 Topps Steve Carlton rookie card graded PSA 9 Mint instead of its seemingly deserving grade of Gem Mint 10. The card's obverse or front surface could not be improved. Mathematically perfect centering joins utterly perfect corners and edges to frame an immaculate image that is entirely devoid of any print or surface imperfections whatsoever. Without question, the card exudes that undeniable X-factor that separates the best from the rest. Its perfect front features shimmer beneath an unusually fresh and glossy front surface, vibrating with a superior quality that even the highest graded copies on record don't always share.

A first inspection of its reverse reveals similar high-grade qualities consistent with the Gem Mint 10 grade, leaving one to question what exactly keeps this card from grading higher. Under magnification, however, one can just discern the slightest imaginable traces of white at the very tips of the right corners. So small and trivial are these, however, that a Gem Mint 10 designation still appears to be the appropriate call for this exceptionally high-grade Hall of Fame rookie card. With the last Gem Mint 10 sale on record achieving $52,800 at auction in 2018, however, it's no surprise that the PSA graders might have modeled the featured subject here and balked on the right grade.
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