A New Era Begins
The Elements that Make the 1952 Topps Baseball Card Set the Most Iconic of the Postwar Age

Joe Orlando

The following article breaks down the overwhelming appeal of the 1952 Topps baseball card set, from composition to design to its place in pop culture. This article is dedicated to the collector and to those who might consider taking their swing at building this masterpiece, a set that includes the most recognizable baseball card ever made.

Testing the Waters

Before Topps decided to jump into the market with both feet, the manufacturer tested the waters with a handful of baseball-only releases in 1951. This included the Blue and Red Backs, Connie Mack’s All-Stars, Major League All-Stars and Topps Teams. Today, each issue varies in popularity, scarcity, and value. Although every one of these Topps productions predate the 1952 creation, with some of them considered very desirable, their overall popularity pales in comparison to their successor. This is due, in part, to the limited size and scope of each 1951 set, as well as a more limited distribution. In fact, the first baseball collectibles issued by Topps were technically produced in 1948, when the company included a subset of 19 baseball subjects inside their 252-piece issue called “Magic Photos.”

Preparing for a Fight

When Topps entered the fold in 1951, they were already preparing for a fight with Bowman, the reigning baseball card powerhouse. Bowman released their first baseball card set in 1948 and had taken the early lead by signing many active players to exclusive contracts. In anticipation of a baseball card battle, Topps began to sign players to deals a couple of years prior to their major move in 1952. As the two primary trading-card manufacturers in the market, Topps and Bowman went head-to-head from 1952 through 1955.

The two companies traded blows during that period, especially as it related to legal matters, namely regarding player contracts. Bowman had exclusives with certain megastars during specific years, while Topps had the same advantage with some other noteworthy players. This resulted in some baseball legends being noticeably absent from one brand or the other while the battle raged on. By 1956, however, that fight officially ended when Topps purchased Bowman and emerged as the new mainstream powerhouse in the card manufacturing world.

The Set that Turned the Tide

Years earlier, prior to the buyout of Bowman, Topps announced their presence with authority when they rolled out their 1952 baseball card set. They assigned Sy Berger the task of creating a look that would grab the attention of youngsters across the country. So, what did the company do to help make a big impression and distinguish itself from Bowman? First, the manufacturer clearly made the decision to go big or go home. That year, Topps unleashed a set that was superior to anything Bowman issued in terms of size and scope. At 407 total cards, the Topps issue was larger than anything Bowman had ever released. This included Bowman’s biggest set in 1951, which totaled 324 cards. In 1952, Bowman only issued 252 cards in their set, which was significantly smaller than the one furnished by the new kid on the block.

The Topps cards themselves were also larger and, as a result, more eye-catching. In 1952, the Topps cards measured 2-5/8" by 3-6/8" versus Bowman’s 2-1/8" by 3-1/8". While the difference in size doesn’t sound consequential, it amounted to an increase of nearly 50% and Topps certainly took advantage of their bigger format by touting it on the packaging. On the front and back of the wax packs containing the cards, Topps reiterated this feature. On the front of the packs, the phrase “GIANT SIZE” appears, while Topps used wording like “Giant Baseball Picture Cards,” “New Big Size,” and “INSIST ON TOPPS GIANT-SIZE BASEBALL CARDS” in all caps on the reverse. Let’s just say Topps wanted to make it very clear they had the size advantage in this fight.

Each Topps card showcased color-tinted photos, so they retained a photographic feel along with a touch of art applied through the Flexichrome process. In addition to being slightly smaller, Bowman’s design had a different feel. Even though the artwork was created from black-and-white photographs like Topps, the colorful images contained on the front of each card resembled traditional paintings because they were, in fact, hand-painted color reproductions of the original photos. Some collectors prefer the “painted” Bowman design over the color-tinted Topps look, but both sets offer great eye appeal for the collector.

The Topps cards were also unique in that each one contained stats from the previous year, along with career stats, for every player. Keep in mind that statistics of this nature were not widely available, so the effort Topps made was appreciated in a way that is hard to fathom today. By 1957, Topps expanded the idea by including annual player stats for each year, along with the career totals. While both Topps and Bowman incorporated facsimile signatures into the design on their cards in 1952, this feature was absent on previous Bowman releases. Furthermore, the face of each Topps card was graced with colorful team logos for the first time, which further distinguished the Topps product from Bowman.

The Bookends – Andy Pafko and Eddie Matthews

Long ago, before the advent of third-party grading or even three-ring binders used to house baseball cards in plastic sheets, the first and last cards were often put in harm’s way far more than those cards located elsewhere. Whether the damage was caused by rubber bands, which wrapped themselves around the first and last cards like a boa constrictor at the end of a stack, or general exposure to potential blunt force trauma, the bookends of sets often had to contend with increased handling abuse compared to the rest of the cards. While many of them are not technically rare, they can become condition rarities due to the difficulty of locating examples in high grade.

Over time, several classic first and last cards have been identified as especially desirable based on their scarcity, popularity, and their association with iconic sets. In the world of baseball cards, there are several cards that fit this description, from common names to the biggest stars in the game. Some noteworthy #1 cards include the extremely tough 1933 Goudey Benny Bengough and the 1951 Bowman Whitey Ford rookie card, but none of them are more recognizable or talked about than the 1952 Topps #1 Andy Pafko.

To begin with, while Pafko is not a Hall of Famer, he was also no slouch. Pafko was a five-time All-Star who hit over 200 home runs during his 17-year career. He also happened to be playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers when this card was created. At the time of this writing, PSA had graded slightly more than 2,000 Topps Pafko cards in their nearly 30-year history, yet only 10 examples have reached the grade of PSA NM-MT 8 or better during that time. That’s right, less than 1% of the Pafko cards submitted to PSA have qualified for what most collectors consider high grade for the period. Poor centering and general wear from handling are usually the two main culprits which prevent more Pafkos from reaching the promised land.

Amazingly, PSA has graded one PSA Gem Mint 10 in its history, and there’s a story that goes with the incredible discovery. In the 1990s, a collector decided to do what many view as unthinkable due to the risks involved. That collector, one who happened to own an unopened pack of 1952 Topps baseball cards, made the decision to open the vintage treasure.

The 5-Cent pack contained five cards and, more importantly, a minefield of potential obstacles to overcome if one is looking for exceptional quality. Putting Pafko aside, centering is a problem for many cards in the set. In addition, cards that are pulled from these packs are sometimes found with what are referred to as corner pulls, where the paper near the tips appears to be hanging off the edge of the card. The cards must also contend with wax and gum staining. Remember, that pink-colored brick has been sitting inside that pack for decades.

Despite the pitfalls and the slim chance of finding anything inside that would be considered more valuable than the intact pack itself, the collector decided to open it. After carefully removing the wax paper surrounding the cards, which included that petrified stick of gum that attached itself like an alien facehugger to the back of the last card in the stack, the collector revealed the cards within.

After removing the first two cards from the group, a gorgeous Pafko card was resting comfortably right in the middle. Protected from the elements, which included no direct exposure to wax or gum, the Pafko was perfectly preserved. After receiving the grade of PSA 10, the card sold for a record $83,970 shortly thereafter. The sale and lore of this exact card was referenced in a 2010 movie entitled Cop Out, starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. Willis’ character, Jimmy, was on a mission to retrieve the 1952 Topps Pafko card that was stolen from him. He planned on using the proceeds from the sale of the card to finance his daughter’s wedding. The real card, which is worth significantly more today, remains the finest example in the hobby.

Now let’s turn our sights to the other half of this dynamic duo, the last card in the 1952 Topps set. While one could at least make an argument for another #1 card being more important than the 1952 Topps Pafko, even though it would be a difficult task, I am not sure any viable argument can be made for a final card in any set being more desirable than the #407 Eddie Mathews.

Let’s go through the checklist. Is this card a bona fide condition rarity? Check...PSA has graded only fourteen 8s, one 8.5, two Mint 9s and zero 10s since 1991. Does the card feature a notable name? Check...Mathews was a premier slugger in his day, part of a devastating 1-2 punch along with teammate Hank Aaron, and is a Hall of Famer. Does this card offer any other appealing features? Check...Not only does the last card in the set feature a Hall of Famer, it just happens to be Mathews’ only true rookie card. Add to all of this the fact that the Mathews is the final piece in a set that the hobby at large considers the most important issue of the postwar era, and you have quite a card.

The Card – Mickey Mantle

When the hobby transitioned from a semi-esoteric endeavor in previous decades to a nationwide phenomenon in the 1980s, few would argue that the poster child or symbol of the baseball-card-collecting world at that time was anything other than the 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner. The card combines the appeal of an all-time great with an unparalleled set, not to mention meaningful scarcity and an intriguing story behind it. There is no doubting the importance of the T206 Wagner, which was long referred to as the Mona Lisa of baseball cards. In the eyes of many collectors, it still is.

That said, while the T206 Wagner may still be the Mona Lisa of baseball cards, no card in our hobby possesses a more recognizable or iconic image than the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. Furthermore, no single card elicits more emotion from an entire generation of children than this card. Mantle was the idol of all idols to so many young boys who grew up during the 1950s.

Even as recently as 2018, the ever-popular Mantle card was referenced in a Netflix movie called The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus himself. In a comedic and somewhat heartbreaking scene for collectors, Santa approaches a couple seated in a restaurant, hoping to trade a “Mint” condition 1952 Topps Mantle for their Porsche which was parked with the valet. The husband (Larry) quickly accepted since he always wanted the coveted Mantle card. Unfortunately, Larry’s wife intercepts the card and rips it in half at the table not realizing that the card was worth far more than the car was.

When the hobby reached new heights in the 1980s, no generation was more responsible for that success than the baby boomers. These hobbyists were able to recapture parts of their youth, and perhaps part of their collections that mom threw away years ago, by engaging in a hobby that brought back so many memories. Mantle was the pulse of an entire era and the 1952 Topps card that bears his likeness remains the heart of this hobby staple.

The player and the card are almost too good to be true. The unforgettable pose, the beautiful blue and yellow colors, and even the name “Mickey Mantle” all combine to create a card that only a Hollywood casting executive could dream up. The image has become more akin to pop culture art than a mere baseball card, which is why it has such powerful symbolic value alone. The 1951 Bowman Mantle may be his true rookie, but the 1952 Topps is THE Mantle card. In Mantle’s prime, no player was more explosive or dynamic, and he just happened to play centerfield for the most dominant team in the league. For nearly two decades, more young boys wanted to be like Mickey Mantle than any other human on earth.

The card itself has its share of condition obstacles, namely poor centering. As expected, most of the high-grade examples that exist today originate from the famous find of the 1980s. There are a couple of interesting aspects to the card worth mentioning. First and foremost, the card was double printed in the final series, along with cards of Jackie Robinson and Bobby Thomson. This means there are two slightly different versions, but no difference in value has been established by the market at this point.

A significant percentage of Mantle cards exhibit a small, white print dot to the left of his head, towards the left border. Since this print dot is so common, and so minor, its presence has no effect on grading or value. In addition, the line surrounding the Yankees logo is solid black on the Mantle without the white print dot, while the “white dot” variety has a line that is only partially filled. Furthermore, the two versions showcase subtle contrasts in color and focus to further distinguish the two Mantle variations.

Mantle’s skin tone is slightly darker and less “red” on the card featuring the white print dot. Even Mantle’s autograph offers a subtle distinction. The “e” in the facsimile signature of “Mantle” finishes pointing downward on the “white dot” version. On the other version, the “e” curls up at the end of the signature. Finally, the stitching of the baseball on the reverse points to the right on the “white dot” Mantle, yet the stitching points to the left on the other version.

In 1952, Mantle also appeared in the Bowman set on card #101, but it is currently worth significantly less than the legendary Topps card, the undisputed postwar king.

The Dump and The Find

If the stories of moms throwing out collections of baseball cards from past generations makes your stomach churn, then you might want to skip over the next few paragraphs. When the Topps cards initially hit stores in March of 1952, sales were reportedly terrific. Over time, however, demand started to wane. In 1952, the cards were distributed in six separate series, which started in the spring and lasted until the baseball season reached its homestretch.

During the last few decades, those series have been consolidated by the hobby for simplicity purposes in price guides and other references. In 1952, cards 81–250 were released in three different waves, which included Series 2 (81–130), Series 3 (131–190) and Series 4 (191–250). Since the scarcity of the cards were about equal and the commons commanded about the same price, the three series were rolled into one group. By the time Topps decided to print and distribute their last run, Series 6 (311–407), the baseball season was quickly coming to an end and kids were headed back to school if they hadn’t started already. Consequently, less product was ordered, and many of the cases were returned unsold by retailers to Topps headquarters.

Here’s the part that makes most collectors queasy. According to hobby lore, around 1960, Topps allegedly decided to load pallets of the unwanted high-number inventory on a garbage barge and then proceeded to dump them into the ocean to make room for newer product in their Brooklyn warehouse. That’s right. Berger, the man who designed the cards, was on the barge and had to watch hundreds of cases sink to the bottom of the Atlantic like Big Pussy from The Sopranos. They tried to sell the cards at a major discount. In fact, they tried to basically give the cards away. According to Berger, he even tried offering the cards at “10 for a penny” at amusement parks and carnivals, but no one wanted them. I am sure it was a painful experience for Berger, but the company felt like they ran out of options.

After you are finished drying the tears from your eyes, keep in mind that part of the reason high-grade vintage cards are worth so much today is because of stories like this. If moms kept all their children’s cards, kids never put them in their bicycle spokes and Topps archived everything that didn’t sell, then scarcity would play a much more limited role. Like the sport of baseball itself, part of the appeal is that it’s not easy. It’s hard to hit a Major League breaking ball and it’s hard to find top-quality collectibles. The truth is that no one knows how the preservation of all those cards would have impacted the market today. What we do know is that collectors may decide to cut moms across the country a little more slack for cleaning out their rooms and taking out the trash. Remember, it wouldn’t be considered treasure today if it was common.

Over the past few decades, there have been some major hobby finds that have captured the imaginations of hardcore collectors and the general public all over the world. Some of the more noteworthy baseball card discoveries include the vast Black Swamp Find of 1910 E98 cards in 2012 and the diminutive yet remarkable Lucky Seven Find of 1909-11 T206 Ty Cobb back rarities in 2016. There is something about the idea that buried treasure still exists, even in cardboard form, that brings out the dreamer in all of us. While these two finds were extraordinary by any definition, no single revelation is referred to more as THE find than the 1952 Topps event of the 1980s.

In the spring of 1986, Alan Rosen, the self-proclaimed “buying machine” and perhaps the most recognizable industry figure of the day, received a call from the Boston area that would change his life and the hobby forever. Lying forgotten in an attic for decades was an entire case of uncirculated 1952 Topps cards. The owner, whose father originally acquired the case through his line of work, served Rosen with the contents on a silver platter...literally.

When it was all tallied, about 5,500 Topps cards were unearthed, with nearly 75% of them from the coveted high-number series. This immense group included about 75 or so Mantles and Jackie Robinson cards, but Willie Mays (#261) had the greatest presence at nearly 200 cards. Some of the cards were centered, some were not, but they all retained a fresh appearance since they were tucked away like a vampire in a deep sleep. As a result, not only can current collectors buy some exquisite examples today, the unforgettable event raised the profile of the entire hobby.

Composition, Variations and Errors

Like many baseball card issues of the era, the 1952 Topps set offers its share of variations and error cards which enhance the intrigue and difficulty of the issue. As we covered earlier in the chapter, the Basic set contains 407 total cards. For those tackling the greater challenge of the Master set, there are many additions to consider, and some of them will cost you a pretty penny if you decide to take collecting 1952 Topps cards to another level. Before we proceed, please keep in mind that while we cover most of this historic set’s major components, not every variation is covered in this book. Hobbyists continue to uncover new distinctions and debate which ones should be cast as mere printing errors or unworthy anomalies versus collectible variations.

First, let’s start with Series 1. The low-number series, which is considered the second toughest group in the set, next to the high-number run, contains a nice mix of stars, errors, condition rarities, and variations. For example, cards 1–80 can be found with either black or red printing on the reverse. That means you already need 80 more cards, one of each color, to complete the Master version of the set. The red backs have better print quality than the black backs, which makes sense since the black backs were made first and Topps was able to improve the quality on the second try during the red back run. It’s important to note that all the cards from Series 1 were printed on gray stock.

The Pafko card, the leadoff man for the set, and #80 Herman Wehmeier are two of the more challenging cards in high grade. Since one series was issued at a time, Pafko and Wehmeier were often at the top and bottom of the stack, which meant more potential exposure to the elements and rubber bands. Several Hall of Famers appear in Series 1, including the likes of Phil Rizzuto (#11), Warren Spahn (#33), and Duke Snider (#37). The series also includes a fun card of Gus Zernial (#31) where his bat appears to have six gravity-defying baseballs attached to it. Even though this group has its fair share of stars, some of the most desirable cards in the run belong to names that the average person may not be familiar with.

Two of the more valuable cards from Series 1 are the Joe Page and Johnny Sain errors. Some of Page’s cards (#48) were printed with Sain’s information on the back, while the same fate impacted a small percentage of Sain’s cards (#49), with Page’s information appearing on the reverse. It’s important to note that these error cards can only be found with black backs since they were corrected in time for the red back print run. For Master set builders, these two errors rank near the top of the set in terms of elusiveness.

\Series 2–4 (81–250) have been consolidated into one by many hobbyists today, and it’s often referred to as the easiest of the major card groups to find. From this point forward, all the card backs were printed in red after Topps achieved the print improvement during Series 1 production. Like Series 1, all the cards in the 81–130 and 191–250 ranges were made with gray stock.

In between, cards 131–190 were primarily created using cream-colored stock, but some gray backs are known to exist. Different theories have been tossed about over the years regarding their genesis. From the cards being a Canadian version, like the 1954 Topps gray backs, to being distributed by tissue brands Kleenex and Doeskin, to the factory simply running out of cream-colored stock, definitive proof of their origin still eludes the hobby. For those collectors who seek ultimate completeness, finding these mysterious oddities can be extremely challenging.

Inside this series lies one of the more elusive and slightly controversial variations. The Frank House card (#146) is normally found with a Detroit Tigers graphic containing a combination of orange, red, and yellow colors. The tougher variation, however, showcases an almost completely yellow tiger with only trace amounts of additional color visible. To be clear, there are varying degrees of orange or red hue present on these “yellow” tigers. Their appearance ranges from mostly yellow, with hints of orange or red sprinkled in, to an almost completely yellow look, absent any orange or red to the naked eye, but all of them are distinctly different from the intended design.

At one point, some hobbyists dismissed the card’s variation status as simply missing the red color application on the overall card, but that argument was quickly rebutted. Even on the House cards featuring the primarily yellow tiger, red color can be found inside the “D” on his cap and within the tone of his skin, which provides strong evidence that this wasn’t a mere product of missing ink on the entire card. The clear color variation is concentrated within the tiger depiction. As is the case with other Series 3 cards (131–190), both House “Tiger” variations can be found with either cream-colored or gray backs.

Within this portion of the set, collectors will also find more big names, such as Bob Feller (#88), Yogi Berra (#191), and Richie Ashburn (#216). The 1952 Topps set isn’t known for having an extensive rookie card selection, at least as it relates to Hall of Famers, but this series does contain key first issues of players like Billy Martin (#175) and Minnie Minoso (#195).

Series 5 (251–310) is considered slightly tougher than Series 2–4 and all the cards from this point onward were made using gray stock. While Series 5 doesn’t contain as many Hall of Famers as the previous group (81–250), it does offer one major star card and one variation of significance. Mays (#261) is one of only a few stars to appear in this series. Even though this is Mays’ first Topps card, it doesn’t garner the same kind of attention that the Mantle card does. Mays and Mantle both have rookie cards in the 1951 Bowman set. While the Mays card has risen in value during the past several years, it still falls short of his Bowman rookie. In the case of Mantle, of course, the exact opposite is true, which is further proof that the appeal of the Mantle card goes far beyond the basic elements of the issue.

At card #307, the relatively unknown Frank Campos resides, but a variation of the card exists for those seeking ultimate completion. One of the normal red stars that appear on the back next to “TOPPS BASEBALL” near the bottom was overprinted in black on a small percentage of Campos cards. The overprinting affected the star located to the immediate right of the “TOPPS BASEBALL” text. PSA has graded roughly 100 examples since 1991, which is far fewer than the regular Campos card, and none of the “Black Star” variations have graded higher than PSA 8. This semi-scarce Campos variation, in high grade, has sold well into five figures during the past 10–15 years.

Last, but not least, we come to the high-number run, the final card series in the set (311–407). Due to the reasons noted earlier regarding greater scarcity because of fewer orders and weaker sales at the time, this is the toughest series in the whole set today despite the find in 1986. Strangely enough, the very first card in the series is that of Mantle. You just can’t make this stuff up. The stars align on the Mantle card in a way that is hard to believe. In fact, four out of the first five cards in the series are those of Hall of Famers. Robinson (#312), Roy Campanella (#314), and Leo Durocher (#315) follow Mantle.

The one non-Hall of Famer in that first five is by no means a common name, either, in Bobby Thomson (#313), who played the leading role in one of the greatest walk-offs in baseball history. Once you get past that first five, there are a few other cards in the series that feature Hall of Famers as well, including Pee Wee Reese (#333) and a trio of rookie cards.

John Rutherford (#320) is regarded as one of the toughest commons in the entire set to find in high grade. Out of nearly 500 or so total specimens ever submitted to PSA, only 16 Rutherford cards have reached PSA 8, with none higher. At the tail end of the series, the following rookie cards help finish the 1952 Topps set with a bang. Inaugural issues of knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm (#392), manager Dick Williams (#396), and super slugger Mathews (#407) close the show in spectacular fashion.

The Cards That Never Were

At 407 cards, versus only 252 included in the Bowman set the same year, Topps certainly had the advantage when it came to player/coach/manager inclusion. That said, even though Topps offered north of 150 more cards in their set, there were a few noticeable omissions. These are often referred to as The Cards that Never Were. No matter how great a set may be, many vintage baseball card issues leave collectors wondering what might have been. For example, Stan Musial appeared in the 1952 Bowman set on card #196 and had an exclusive contract, which prevented him from appearing in the Topps release as well.

The two superstars that were missing in action, quite literally, from the Bowman and Topps sets were Whitey Ford and Ted Williams. Both were absent from each set because they were serving our country in the military, a hard picture to imagine in present times. Ford missed the entire 1951 and 1952 seasons while serving in the armed forces. Williams played a full season in 1951, but he played only six games the next season before leaving on his final tour of duty. Williams missed the rest of the 1952 season and most of the 1953 season before returning to baseball.

Interestingly, it is rumored that Williams may have had an exclusive contract with Bowman at the time, like Musial, yet they decided not to include him in the set. A 1952 Topps card of any member of this Hall of Fame threesome would be unquestionably desirable, but a Williams card would be one of the most significant Cards that Never Were from any set, in any era.

Recent Finds – The Gift that Keeps on Giving

After hearing about the 2018 sale of the PSA Mint 9 Mantle card for nearly $3 million, a New Jersey resident named John decided to sift through his childhood collection, a collection that remained tucked away in an attic for almost seven decades. Only recently did John decide to take those cards, which were sitting loosely stored in a large box, and place the better ones in plastic sheets. There were a few thousand cards in the box.

Luckily for John, his mother was one of the few matriarchs who didn’t throw away her son’s cards. John and his brother Ed collected cards right around the time the Topps Mantle made its debut. There was everything from 1948 Leaf Babe Ruth cards to 1951 Bowman Mays rookies, but almost all the value resided in the 1952 Topps cards. In some cases, there were multiple examples of each card, from Robinson to Campanella to Mays. The real game changer, however, was the presence of five 1952 Topps Mantles. After being sent to PSA for grading, the Mantle cards ranged from PSA EX 5 to PSA NM-MT + 8.5 and eventually sold for a combined $1,273,200 at auction.

It’s hard to define events like this as true finds since the cards were collected years ago by the same person who rediscovered them later, but the impact to the hobby and the person who owns them is the same. There are finds or rediscoveries like this all the time. Some change the collectibles market forever, like the 1952 Topps find of 1986, while others are smaller in size and scope. What they all have in common is that the stories inspire collectors to keep up the hunt, and they also help entice those who are not yet collectors to join the hobby.

There are collections like John’s that have lain in a sleeping state for a long time. This includes those that were built in the 1980s, prior to the advent of third-party grading, and were suddenly buried for one reason or another. Many collectors go through periods of inactivity. In some cases, that temporary inactivity morphs into something more permanent, like in the case of John.

For collectors who dream of tracking down buried treasure, one thing is for sure—buried treasure still exists and the 1952 Topps issue has been a gift that seems to keep on giving, long after the set was originally unveiled.

Written by Joe Orlando, the president and CEO of Collectors Universe, parent company of Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), this article is a sample chapter from the book entitled Baseball & Bubble Gum: The 1952 Topps Collection written and published by Tom and Ellen Zappala in 2020. Please visit tomzappalamedia.com for more information on the book and to order copies.