December 2019 Holiday Premium Auction
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The 1953-54 Briggs Meats issue ranks among the the scarcest and most notoriously challenging of all the various meat and food issues produced during the early 1950s. Only 201 total examples spanning 37 different players have ever been submitted to PSA for grading, and precisely 176 of those have been assessed at the "authentic only" level, either because of their poor condition or because their excision from the brightly colored boxes on which they were printed did not leave any of the issue's characteristic bright orange border around the perimeter of the players' pictures. Only 10 copies of the set's star attraction, Mickey Mantle, have ever surfaced at PSA, and only two of those ten received numerical grades, with the most recent "authentic" example fetching $12,300 at auction. Even scarcer, only 7 total copies of The Mick's crosstown rival, Willie Mays, have ever been graded, with likewise just two receiving numerical grades. For those unfamiliar with PSA's standards, the company does not award numerical grades to food and other hand-cut issues unless the cards retain full borders around their entire perimeters, a key distinction.

Submitted to Small Traditions as a part of our Cost-Free Grading program with a note from our consignor that read, in part, "have fun," the featured Willie Mays card has been graded PSA 1 PR but stands out from every other copy ever submitted to PSA because of the triumphant retention of its glorious orange border. Only one other Mays example has ever received a numerical grade, a PSA 2.5 copy which sold at a Goldin Auctions this past year for $7,365. That copy, however, which is shown here for comparison purposes, does not retain any of its orange border and was likely graded as such due to its scarcity and lack of any available exemplars on-hand at PSA. Bottom line, although graded only at the PSA 1 PR level, the offered orange-bordered Mays masterpiece is likely the only PSA-graded copy in existence with a full border, the only truly legitimate copy deserving of a numerical grade from PSA. Our consignor had no clue what this card was nor how much it might be worth when she sent us her husband's cards earlier this fall. As requested, let's have some fun with this one and surprise Hope and Jack with a compelling sale commensurate with their card's eminence.
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