Ted Williams - 1954 Wilson Franks

As we just discussed, trying to single out a Williams card from the seemingly endless list of important hobby issues is almost impossible. Once you get past his classic 1939 Play Ball rookie card, it gets even harder. That said, the Williams card that is arguably his most valuable overall, and is perhaps the most important regional issue ever released, is one that resides in the 1954 Wilson Franks set. These cards were inserted into packages of hot dogs, creating obvious condition obstacles for those that accompanied the consumer products. As is the case with many vintage issues, some copies never made it into product circulation, which means some high-grade copies have been discovered over the years. The set only contains 20 unnumbered cards, but several of them feature the top stars of the day like Roy Campanella, Bob Feller, and Williams. The bad news is that a good portion of the cards are found with poor centering, which is partially a result of the borders being so narrow, leaving little room for error. The good news is that the Williams card has a solid white background, so marginal centering does not impact eye appeal in a negative way like it would on a card with a more traditional frame.

Theodore Samuel Williams (August 30, 1918 - July 5, 2002) was one of the few people in the world who actually lived out his dream of being remembered as, “There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.” Williams began playing in the sandlots of San Diego and moved on to high school as a pitcher, often striking out a dozen of more batters per appearance. His pitching prowess notwithstanding, Ted signed with the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League and then the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association where he captured his first Triple Crown, hitting .366 with 43 home runs and 142 RBI. The Kid, as he was dubbed in Boston newspapers, was the most anticipated athletes and he did not disappoint as he led the American League in RBI with 145, blasted 31 home runs and batted .327 in his first year in Beantown. As a rookie, he finished fourth in AL MVP voting. In 1940, Williams earned his first of 19 All-Star Game appearances, but also led the league in on-base percentage for the first of 12 times during his 19-year career. He continues to hold the highest on-base percentage in the history of Major League Baseball with a .482 OBP. His preparedness was unmatched as he studied opposing pitchers and their nuances in certain situations, ultimately determining what their “out pitch” was in every case.

In 1941, Ted became the first Major League batter since Rogers Hornsby in 1924 to eclipse the elusive .400-mark batting .406 in 143 games and the last to accomplish the feat, though many have made runs. Prior to 1941, George Sisler (.420) was the last American Leaguer to hit better than .400 in 1922. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, players were lining up to enlist, but Williams chose to play out his 1942 season for personal financial reasons, to which he was chastised by the media with whom he had a strained relationship with from the early days in his career. His decision was both Boston’s and his personal gain as he won the Triple Crown, leading the American League in average (.356), home runs (36) and RBI (137). Despite this extraordinary achievement, Ted finished second in AL MVP voting behind Joe DiMaggio, who put together a 56-game hit streak, the longest in Major League history. When the season concluded, Williams joined the United States Navy as a naval aviator and served as a training instructor and never seeing any combat. After losing three prime years to World War II, Ted returned to the Red Sox in 1946 having not lost a step as he batted .342 with 38 home runs and 123 RBI to win his first AL MVP award while also leading Boston to their first World Series appearance since 1918. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Red Sox in seven games in Williams’ only World Series appearance. In 1947, he stood atop the baseball world winning his second AL Triple Crown as he hit .343 with 32 home runs and 114 RBI while also leading the AL in runs (125), walks (162), on-base- percentage (.499), slugging percentage (.634) and total bases (335).

Despite losing five years to World War II and the Korean War, The Splendid Splinter won two Most Valuable Player awards (1946, 1949), was a six-time American League batting champion, hit 521 home runs, led the AL in OBP 12 times, walks eight times, runs scored and total bases six times, RBI and home runs four times and retired with a lifetime batting average of .344 over his 19-year career. Prophetically, he became one of the greatest hitter to ever live. Ted Williams hit his 521st (and last) home run at Fenway Park in his final at-bat of his career. Theodore Samuel Williams was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966. In Ted’s induction speech for Cooperstown, Williams became one of the first enshrinees to speak out in favor of Negro League players earning consideration for induction into the Hall of Fame. Upon his retirement, Ted served as the manager for the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers for four years (1969-1971/1972) where he compiled a record of 273-364 in 637 games. Williams advocated for the “Jimmy Fund”, which raised money for adult and pediatric cancer and research at the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He was an avid fisherman and teamed with Sear Roebuck to develop a line of sporting goods, both for baseball, but also for the outdoorsman. Forever recognized for his amazing hitting, Williams made one of his final public appearances at the 1999 MLB All-Star Game at Fenway Park notably shaking hands with fellow batting champions Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn and others. Ted Williams died on July 5, 2002.



Condition Census (Explain)

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MINT 9
2 NM-MT+ 8.5
3 NM-MT 8
3 NM-MT 8
3 NM-MT 8
3 NM-MT 8
3 NM-MT 8
4 NM 7 (9)

PRICES BY GRADE

1954 WILSON FRANKS TED WILLIAMS

Grade Most Recent Price Average Price SMR Price Population POP Higher
Auth $1,212.00 $1,101.00 13 177
PR 1 19 152
FR 1.5 $1,500.00 $1,500.00 3 149
GOOD 2 $1,776.67 $1,776.67 23 125
VG 3 $3,229.99 $3,229.99 13 107
VG - EX 4 $3,659.00 $3,659.00 22 78
EX 5 $5,766.00 $5,766.00 $6,500.00 24 47
EX - MT 6 $17,205.99 $17,205.99 $10,000.00 23 20
NM 7 $36,000.00 $36,000.00 $25,000.00 9 9
NM - MT 8 $72,000.00 $72,000.00 $60,000.00 5 2
MINT 9 $150,000.00 1
GEM - MT 10

AUCTION PRICES REALIZED

Date Price Grade Lot # Auction House Auction/Seller Type Cert
06/27/2020 $3,230 3 114277107425 eBay benb51 Best Offer 47290618
05/11/2020 $72,000 8 55969 Heritage Auctions 2020 May 7 - 9 Spring Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction Auction 05155687
05/03/2020 $17,206 6 133372705822 eBay springermountainsportscards Best Offer 02230307
03/12/2020 $1,777 2 143546009256 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 40585764
03/09/2020 $3,659 4 383441185177 eBay probstein123 Auction 16742032
12/09/2019 $4,320 4.5 51093 Heritage Auctions 2019 December 5 - 7 Fall Sports Card Catalog Auction Auction 24086652
12/09/2019 $1,212 Auth 51094 Heritage Auctions 2019 December 5 - 7 Fall Sports Card Catalog Auction Auction 18298347
12/09/2019 $990 Auth 52979 Heritage Auctions 2019 December 5 - 7 Fall Sports Card Catalog Auction Auction 42480685
11/14/2019 $3,975 3.5 193191563740 eBay rodneymunch3 Buy It Now 23070169
07/22/2019 $6,024 Auth 81037 Heritage Auctions 2019 July 18 - 20 Summer Sports Card Catalog Auction Auction 18298347
06/11/2019 $14,989 6 143277620197 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 42085656
05/30/2019 $2,939 2 133058613444 eBay gregmorriscards Auction 42993230
04/20/2019 $3,840 4 51768 Heritage Auctions 2019 April 18 - 19 Spring Sports Card Catalog Auction Auction 42993231
04/15/2019 $4,305 4 684 Love of the Game Auctions Spring, 2019 Premier Auction Auction 50086788
04/10/2019 $811 Auth 333137382530 eBay king_e-bay Auction 41433029
04/10/2019 $2,466 2 143195555281 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 42422915
03/24/2019 $11,400 6 1248 Robert Edward Auctions 2019 Spring Auction 42085656
03/24/2019 $1,200 Auth 1247 Robert Edward Auctions 2019 Spring Auction 42475858
02/12/2019 $2,480 2 401699774894 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 06372208
01/14/2019 $4,807 4 143079927752 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 28619536
10/30/2018 $36,000 7 1104 Robert Edward Auctions 2018 Fall Auction 03137402
10/30/2018 $4,200 4 1105 Robert Edward Auctions 2018 Fall Auction 28619536
08/15/2018 $1,500 1.5 232885488806 eBay allstarjef4ydp Best Offer 41971801
07/24/2018 $2,215 3 312191822836 eBay markirodenko Auction 90592755
05/10/2018 $5,766 5 352342764137 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 28843615
05/10/2018 $1,900 1 (MK) 173297601615 eBay thesportscardinvestor Best Offer 28382676
05/09/2018 $2,247 3 401531788264 eBay teri781 Auction 40776357
05/06/2018 $1,300 1.5 122861362710 eBay gulfcoastbreakers Buy It Now 28318219
04/20/2018 $33,600 7 81751 Heritage Auctions 2018 April 19-20 Spring Sports Card Catalog Auction Ended Apr 20th Auction 03137402
04/15/2018 $2,099 2 202268684802 eBay scotts_vintage_cards Buy It Now 25923762
04/12/2018 $9,037 5.5 142743283230 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 23437295
02/06/2018 $2,640 3.5 352266345318 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 23070169
12/11/2017 $2,101 3 272964435662 eBay investinbaseball Auction 11921679
11/04/2017 $2,300 4 172941864945 eBay gz-auctions Auction 27866078
10/10/2017 $4,867 5 401414478954 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 06210885
09/21/2017 $1,700 2 222634045829 eBay scu316 Buy It Now 27433348
08/06/2017 $5,700 5 123 Goldin Auctions Summer Premium Live and Catalog Auction Auction 27306578
05/25/2017 $1,850 2.5 282442158152 eBay superoverstock Best Offer 27154506
05/21/2017 $7,433 6 361979604894 eBay partnerone Auction 15572521
05/19/2017 $1,603 2 302314731975 eBay aar_cuda1970 Auction 25923762
05/06/2017 $23,060 7 570 Memory Lane, Inc. Spring 2017 Holy Grail Rarities Auction Auction 50030026
04/11/2017 $2,626 3 142333330412 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 90592755
04/11/2017 $881 1 (MK) 352020009391 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 26996507
03/13/2017 $8,769 5.5 401285288138 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 26770027
02/09/2017 $10,050 6 401268177881 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 11904805
02/09/2017 $1,725 2 142262850729 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 24675609
10/02/2016 $1,441 2 401193779157 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 25923762
09/11/2016 $2,027 3 142104872159 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 05316852
09/11/2016 $1,113 2 401180998986 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 40585764
08/14/2016 $2,520 3.5 20 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons LXVII Auction 15636464
05/14/2016 $2,868 4 80869 Heritage Auctions 2016 May 12 - 14 Sports Collectibles Catalog Au... May 14, 2016 Auction 50086788
01/16/2016 $1,359 2 493 Memory Lane, Inc. Winter Extravaganza Auction Auction 31150948
11/16/2015 $1,830 2 969 Goldin Auctions October Legends and Americana Ending November 14th Auction 24675609
05/10/2015 $3,494 4.5 604 Memory Lane, Inc. Spring Break 2015 Auction Auction 24086652
04/15/2015 $4,500 5 536 Robert Edward Auctions 2015 Spring Auction 17117065
12/04/2014 $1,156 3 (MK) 130 Mile High Card Company December 2014 Auction 12553551
08/24/2014 $2,560 4 376 Memory Lane, Inc. 2014 Summer Rarities Auction Auction 31195674
05/17/2014 $23,900 7 80666 Heritage Auctions 2014 May 15 - 17 Sports Collectibles Catalog Auc... May 17, 2014 Auction 02032839
05/17/2014 $6,573 6 80665 Heritage Auctions 2014 May 15 - 17 Sports Collectibles Catalog Auc... May 17, 2014 Auction 02072567
05/14/2014 $5,027 5 423 SCP Auctions Spring Premier Auction 2014 Auction 02005391
04/14/2014 $8,295 6.5 770 Robert Edward Auctions 2014 Spring Auction 22494220
10/27/2012 $10,755 6 80365 Heritage Auctions 2012 October 25 - 27 Vintage Sports Collectibles... Oct 27, 2012 Auction 02072567
08/18/2012 $17,261 7 (OC) 70 Memory Lane, Inc. Historical Rarities Auction 03137402
05/06/2012 $2,975 4 449 Memory Lane, Inc. HOLY GRAIL AUCTION SPRING 2012 Auction 31195674
12/18/2011 $3,221 5 517 Memory Lane, Inc. Winter 2011 Auction 06053733
10/21/2011 $7,477 6 242 Mile High Card Company October 2011 Auction 02072567
05/20/2011 $750 1 (MK) 857 Mile High Card Company May 2011 Auction 06453883
04/22/2011 $4,780 5 80138 Heritage Auctions 2011 April Dallas Signature Sports Collectibles ... Apr 22, 2011 Auction 17117065
06/10/2010 $2,986 4 759 Mile High Card Company June 2010 Auction Auction 40435095
01/09/2009 $2,510 3.5 365 SCP Auctions SCP Auctions January 2009 Internet Auction Auction 15636464
07/08/2008 $5,381 4 374 SCP Auctions SCP Auctions July 2008 Internet Auction Auction 09066204
10/28/2006 $8,365 6 19834 Heritage Auctions 2006 October Signature Sports Memorabilia Auctio... Oct 28, 2006 Auction 11904805
01/01/2006 $10,440 6 403 Robert Edward Auctions 2006 Auction Auction 30499768