The Memphis Topps Baseball Set Collection

Run of sets from 1952-1980 with extra Mantles and T206 Ty Cobb!
  • May 11, 2018

1956 Topps #135 Mickey MantleDad Built a Really Nice Set Collection

A gentleman from Memphis, Tennessee was referred to Just Collect with a collection that he and his father had assembled over several decades.  The collection consisted of a run of complete Topps sets from 1952 to present as well as some additional cards and player collections.  


We spoke about the collection and eventually flew to Tennessee to meet with the gentleman, review the collection and prepare an offer.  And even though we reached an agreement on a purchase price, we were unable to conclude the transaction on this specific trip because of other plans, and had to schedule another date to fly back to meet with the gentleman, reconfirm the collection, make payment and prepare the collection for the return trip to our Somerset, New Jersey office.

Full disclosure: I don't actually go on every buying trip. I split the duties up with our VP Scott - because if I went to see every single deal, I would never be home. However, I have never been to Memphis, so I really wanted to do this trip. Not only that, but when someone tells you they have every single Topps set from 1952-1980, you kinda want to see that in person! Plus, there was the added bonus of the Thunder being in town, so if I could work in a basketball game, it was a no-brainer.

So, I ended up going on this trip (ps, the food is AWESOME in Memphis), and we were actually working on the deal right up until game-time. So that was actually a little bit stressful, as minutes before tip-off we were still negotiating prices and asking each other questions. But, like with all deals we handle, we put our best foot forward and made our best and strongest offer from the start. The only thing I added to sweeten the deal at the last minute was another BBQ lunch, on us! We had ourselves a laugh, he accepted the deal, and then we enjoyed the game.

Here's a clip of us at the game: Thunder v Grizzlies

Ok, more about the collection...

The collection's earlier sets were all neatly housed in plastic pages and 3-ring binders.  While a most of the cards in the collection were ungraded, one set, the 1952 Topps Set, featured more than a third of the cards in PSA graded holders and made the evaluation process of this set a bit easier.  While we are very capable of evaluating ungraded collections, when some or all of the collection is graded, it helps eliminate any differences of opinion on the condition of the graded cards.  With the wide range of values based upon conditon, removing potential differences makes things go much more smoothly.

There were also a few other graded cards in the collection, including several Nolan Ryan rookies, but a majority of the collection was ungraded.  We were able to agree upon the condition of the ungraded portions of the collection and ultimately, the value of the collection.

1952 Topps Baseball Set

The cornerstone of the collection was the nearly complete 1952 Topps Baseball Set.  The set, according to the seller, was complete and included a PSA 6 Mickey Mantle, but somehow over the past few years, the card and the Jackie Robinson card ended up being "misplaced."  Despite the absence of just those two cards, the set was still very impressive.  The seller's father really focused on the high numbers and a large percentage of the high numbers were PSA graded, including many that were PSA 6 EX/MT and PSA 7 NM, including a PSA 6 of the last card in the set, the Hall of Fame rookie card #407 of Eddie Mathews.

1952 Topps Leo Durocher PSA 7 1952 Topps #407 Eddie Mathews



The Rest of The Topps Sets

While the 1952 Topps Set was the most valuable item in the collection, there was no lack of excitement with the rest of the collection.  Although the condition varied, improving as the sets became more current, there were plenty of highlights in the sets from the 1950's, including Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks and so many others.

1953 Topps Mickey Mantle 1953 Topps Willie Mays


1954 Topps Ernie Banks 1954 Topps Hank Aaron


1955 Topps #123 Sandy Koufax 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente



There were some really nice cards in the sets from the 1960s, including rookie cards of Carl Yastrzemski, Juan Marichal, Lou Brock, Pete Rose, Steve Carlton, Rod Carew, Nolan Ryan, Johnny Bench, Reggie Jackson and a really nice PSA 8 Tom Seaver.

1967 Topps Tom Seaver Rookie Card



Player Runs

Additionally, the collection had several players that were collected in addition to their inclusion in the sets.  There was a full Topps run of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and a run Mickey Mantle cards absent the 1952 Topps card.  There were several collections of modern players, too.  Whether they were for speculation or investment, the collection included some bulk quantities of  assorted modern players, including 1989 UD Ken Griffey, Jr., 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson and 1982 Topps Cal Ripken rookie cards.


And There Was More . . .

The collection wasn't just Topps baseball.  There was also a 1984 Fleer Update complete set, complete basketball sets from 1986 Fleer Basketball and 1987 Fleer Basketball, including a Michael Jordan rookie and also a few prewar cards which included a T206 Ty Cobb and a T206 Tris Speaker.  There were also some football cards in the collection.


Packing the Collection 

Buying collections while we're on the road is great, but not everyone takes into account the logistics necessary in getting the collection back.  Local deals are much easier as we can drive to and from the appointment and it is pretty easy to load up a vehicle and bring the collection back.  But when you fly in for a collection, there isn't a lot of room to store a collection.  In these cases, shipping becomes a primary option.  Securing the collection and preparing it for safe  shipping is a practice that we've become pretty adept at managing.  This collection required two large shipping boxes.  The sets were in both binders and in cardboard boxes.  The sets that were in binders were removed from the binders and the pages secured in Tyvex mailing envelopes (these are really great for securing pages for shipping) and the boxed sets were secured with packing material to ensure the sets were snug and would not shift around during transit.  

Here is how the one of packages looked when we began to unpack them upon receipt at our office:

Set Collection Packaged Set Collection Packaged 2



If you are ever unsure about how to pack your collection for safe shipping, please feel free to visit our oage that explains how to package your cards for shipping.


Schedule an Appointment to Meet Just Collect at a Show Near You

Just Collect travels to several shows on a regular basis. In the New York area, we often attend the White Plains Show at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY. If you're in the New England area, you can make an appointment to meet with one of our specialists when we're in the area for the Shriner's Show at the Aleppo Auditorium in Wilmington, MA. We also visit the Metro-DC area when we attend the CSA Show in Chantilly, VA. If you're in the South Jersey or Delaware area, you can also schedule appointments while we're in the Philadelphia area when we do The Philly Show in Valley Forge, PA.

We set up at The National Sports Collectors Convention every year and this year, it will be at the IX Center in Cleveland, OH and it has been in Chicago, Atlantic City and Baltimore in recent years. Additionally, we travel to the Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo in Mississauga, Ontario for those of you in the Toronto area that want to meet with us in Canada.

We would love to meet with you and schedule a private appointment to assess and value your collection while we are in your area, so please check out our show and travel schedule to see when Just Collect will be in your area!

Our Buying Philosophy

We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the past decade. Although we are known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage basketball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, also!

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and soul into building their collection. So when you're ready to sell, Just Collect understands the feelings that you're going through and we will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.

Won't They Be Worth More if I Grade Them Myself

We discuss all of the selling options with everyone that we meet with. In most cases, selling the collection on their own will put the most money on the bottom line, but it will also take an large commitment of time and energy and one that most are not ready or able to undertake. Another misconception is that grading the collection will return more money. When I hear people say, "You're just going to grade them and get ten times the money," I almost cringe. Grading a collection can be a money losing proposition, especially if you don't know what you're doing. And most times, we grade very few, if any cards, from average collections that we buy.

We value a collection based upon the condition and the value. If a card is worth $100 in a PSA 7 NM, we're going to value it at $100 whether it is ungraded or graded. You can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars grading your cards, but we're still valuing them the same and paying the same regardless of how much you've invested in grading them.

We Are Always Buying

Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss your collection and get our industry leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace.

Don't hesitate to check out our Google Reviews left by many of the great people that have considered selling collections to Just Collect.

The "Memphis Topps Baseball Set Collection" Video:


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