April 2018 Spring Premium Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/6/2018

Among the rarest and most coveted Sandy Koufax items from his playing days are the 1964 Tropicana Motel Postcards, which advanced Koufax collectors know can be found in two variations, one picturing the Brooklyn-born southpaw poolside at his new Hollywood hotel in street or "civilian" clothes and the other in his Dodgers uniform. Just how desirable are these keepsakes from the famed Tropicana Motor Hotel's gift shop? Last year, Mile High Card Company auctioned off a PSA 8 NM-MT copy of the Dodgers uniform variation for $12,782. Granted, it was one of only a dozen copies ever graded by PSA, and it ranked as the second-highest on record, the only PSA 8 on the pop report with just a single PSA 8.5 copy graded higher, but that's some serious coin for a souvenir that probably cost no more than a nickel.

What many of even the most accomplished Koufax collectors don't know, however, is that these desirable postcards can been found in at least two other variations. One of those shows the pool at the at the Tropicana Motor Hotel but with no Koufax, only his facsimile signature on front in red ink. The other is a larger version of the Dodgers Uniform variation that measures about 7x5 instead of 6x4. Unlike the standard-sized version of the same card, this one shows Sandy's facsimile signature in blue ink on back. For several years, an unscrupulous seller on eBay has been pawning off reprinted copies of this card as the real deal, but they're relatively easy fakes to spot. The print on both surfaces appears noticeably shiny and inauthentic, and there is no facsimile on back. In fact, the fakes appear to be resized versions of the standard card, intentionally made to look larger in order to fool buyers into thinking they're the scarcer, large format variation.

Proudly offered in this lot is the first and only example of any variation to ever make the Gem Mint 10 grade at PSA. An exceptionally desirable item with broad appeal to both baseball and music fans, the historical and cultural significance of the Tropicana Motor Hotel is undeniable. Although Koufax only owned it for a brief period during the mid 1960s, it was during this time that many of the most famous musicians from the counterculture began to make the place their home. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Bob Marley, Stevie Nicks, even beat poet William S. Burroughs all stayed at the Tropicana. According to an article in Los Angeles Magazine, "The joint was just a hop, skip, and blurry-eyed stumble from the Troubadour and Barney’s Beanery, and as the rock music scene grew up around those venues, the Tropicana became its unofficial HQ." This transition didn't fully occur until Jerry Heiner purchased the property from Koufax later in the decade, and it's unclear weather the legendary Koufax ever crossed paths with any of the many rock legends who eventually made his hotel their hazy headquarters, but it's a fascinating and fun trip to imagine the possibilities.

A note about provenance: Hailing from a recently discovered Southern California based trove of Koufax regional and oddball issues dubbed the "K-15 Koufax!" collection, the offered item appears uncirculated and in virtually pristine condition. The "K-15 Koufax!" moniker is of course a reference to Sandy's record-setting 15-K performance in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series, after which several newspaper headlines around the country simply read "K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-oufax!" Not coincidentally, after sorting the collection in which it was found, we counted at least 15 items, over 10% of the 146-card Koufax Master Set Registry, which we all but promised our consignor would grade as the single highest copies on record. Half of those we offered in our last auction, and the second (and better) half will be auctioned in our current April Premium Auction, after which the leader board for the Koufax Master Set Registry may never look the same.

KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK KoufaxThu, Oct 3, 1963 – Page 19 · Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, New Mexico) · Newspapers.com
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,500
Final prices include buyers premium: $11,584
Number Bids: 13
Auction closed on Sunday, May 6, 2018.
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