Kids who opened up the first packs of Topps inaugural Major League Baseball set in 1952 probably didn't notice. They were too busy looking at the giant pictures, looking for Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays or Duke Snider, flipping the giant pieces of cardboard with friends or putting them in bicycle spokes. They didn't see that the #80 card, Reds pitcher Herman Wehmeier, always had something imperfect about it.
Usually, it was the centering, although that’s not likely a topic you heard on too many playgrounds in 1952. Sometimes there was a nick on the side or a corner.
Today, collectors of 1952 Topps cards find old Herman is the bane of their existence. Locating a near mint to mint copy is virtually impossible. After tens of thousands of ’52 cards passing through the hands of graders at PSA, only a dozen have been awarded a PSA 8 or 8.5 grade.
This week, our listings are on fire because we've got one of the 11 8’s in existence. As soon as we opened bidding, collectors flocked to this rarity. There is only one graded higher and there are no 9’s and collectors putting together registered sets are keenly interested. They just do not come up for bid more than once every few years when a set is broken.
However, even if you’re not putting together this set, we think the #80 is actually a pretty good investment. More people are collecting high quality ’52 sets than ever before and we don’t expect there will be a huge find of high grade Wehmeier cards anytime soon. That should keep prices on the rise over time.
The term ‘rare’ doesn't always apply only to star cards. This card is a great example of a ‘common card’ that is anything but.