THREE Mint Jackie Robinson Cards Found in California Love Collection

It's rare to find ONE Jackie Robinson Rookie in this condition let alone THREE!
  • February 11, 2022

Historical, vintage baseball cards are still out there in the wild and as a baseball card treasure hunter nothing excites me more than to find rare cards that have never seen the light of day. A new collection of cards unearthed in California actually had me speechless on my latest adventure; not one but THREE of the most pristine Jackie Robinson rookie cards you'll ever see. How these iconic cards not only survived turbulent times in the late 1940's adds to the history of the collection, but these cards very well could have been ruined during breakfast! See the immaculate 1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson rookie cards and how Just Collect proudly purchased the California Love collection.

For 25 years, I've relished in finding and purchasing rare and valuable sports cards to bring them back to life for collectors like you to enjoy. If there was a rumor that a T206 Honus Wagner was inside a booby-trapped Peruvian temple, I'd grab my satchel and whip and risk being run over by a giant boulder to find that baseball card. When I saw an e-mail come through our FREE APPRAISAL section on our Just Collect website, I was speechless - too speechless to even say "book the flight." I'm proud to share with you the story and introduce you to the California Love collection with three of the most beautiful Jackie Robinson rookie cards I've ever laid eyes on.


This year marks the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. On April 15th, 1947, Jackie made his Major League debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers at a time when baseball was segregated.  Robinson played his career at a time when extreme racism was an issue both on and off the field, and fought his way through adversity that no person should ever have to dream of. This man endured the most unimaginable thigs, but at the end of the his rookie season, Jackie took home Rookie of the Year honors. The following year, Jackie won the MLB MVP award.  Between 1947 and 1956, he made six all-star teams and won a World Series ring with his Dodgers in 1955. In 1962, Jackie became a first-ballot Hall of Famer.  


John, a vintage card specialist and acquisitions manager here at Just Collect, called me over to see an e-mail he received from our free appraisal section of the website. A gentleman named David from California inquired about a small collection of 1948 Leaf baseball, 1948 Bowman football, and a few non-sport cards from a Landscaping collection. When John pulled up the photos, I was speechless. THREE - yes, three 1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson rookie cards that looked like they came fresh out of a pack yesterday.  John made an evaluation on the collection and agreed to arrange for me to meet David in-person to possibly purchase the collection. 



After confirming with John that the Jackie rookie cards weren't in a Peruvian temple or Temple of Doom, I left my whip in the Just Collect office here in New Jersey and made the trip out to Sacramento, CA. One thing I did bring with me was a book I've been reading to my son, Crosby, called Jackie & Me by Dan Gutman. Crosby would bring me extra luck on my trip 😁

I landed in Sacramento at 10:30 PM. I planned to meet David at 7:30 AM in the hotel lobby the next morning as I needed to catch a 10:25 AM flight back home. As much as I'd love to hang out on the Sunny West Coast, my wife Julie wouldn't be thrilled if I left her for a few days of fun in the sun while she watches Cros all week. Time was important here; sleeping on the couch is never fun...

There David was in the lobby, and he brought a tiny box with him. Before he opened the box, I could tell David was a very kind and genuine man; a real salt of the Earth guy. He lives on a 27-acre farm where he grows Pears, but it was actually landscaping that brought him out to California. His passion for landscaping actually kicked off our conversation about the box of cards in front of him.

When David opened the box, he pulled out vintage landscaping cards while I pulled out Card Savers. His response to me was "I'm glad you brought holders"  - wait, what? I see your landscaping cards aren't in holders, David, but what about the rest of the collection? Inside the box stacks of 1948 Bowman football cards, 1948 Magic Photo, and 1948 Leaf baseball cards - none were in holders. The whole box of cards were protected by a few napkins! I nervously laughed and asked what if he stopped short in traffic and that box hit the dashboard; one small ding could honestly change the value of the cards by THOUSANDS of dollars! David didn't seem to mind; he was just so friendly and easy going. I put David's cards into Card Saver 1 as those are what I recommend to safely store your cards with.

There they were, though, nestled on the napkins. THREE 1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson rookie cads in the nicest condition you'll ever see.


A trio of Jackie rookie cards in this condition, side by side - we may never see a photo like this in another 75 years! Crosby's book came in handy after all!

A few more iconic names were in the stacks, as well.

  • THREE 1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson
  • 1948 Leaf Babe Ruth
  • 1948 Leaf Ted Williams 
  • 1948 Leaf Phil Rizzuto
  • 1948 Leaf Honus Wagner (didn't even need my whip!)


When I asked David how he acquired the collection, he said it was intertied from his Uncle. It is believed that his uncle didn't want to pull out the Jackie Robinson cards and show anyone in town because of the racism occurring where he lived; he was fearful a hateful person would rip up and ruin the Jackie cards. Each card was stored away and now, 75 years later, sit in front of us in incredible condition. One of the top professional grading companies is PSA, and they keep track of how many cards are graded with their services and the grade each card receives. This PSA population report reveals there has never been a Jackie graded a 10 on their scale of 1 to 10. In fact, only 1,553 of these Jackie rookie cards have been graded and very few are in top condition like David's three cards are. When I mentioned earlier that a ding in a corner of a card could set the value back by thousands of dollars, you can see a very steep difference in prices between a PSA 6 Jackie rookie being valued at $44,000 and a PSA 7, just one point up on the grading scale, being valued at $125,000


While David agreed to meet in-person after the appraisal, we hadn't made a deal to purchase the collection yet.  Before I could make David a fair, strong offer for the collection, I asked him how he chose myself as the owner of Just Collect as his first option to sell, and his response was wonderful. David said he enjoyed reading the stories behind each collection I've purchased right here on the Just Collect blog. He knew that I take the time to appreciate your collections. Your local card shop is never equipped to appraise or purchase vintage collections like David's. The retail stores are focused on selling modern products and simply don't have the time or the knowledge to carefully evaluate vintage collections. This is where I'm happy to help you. 


Once David and I agreed on a deal, he chose to be paid by check. When you and I agree to purchase your collection, I'll pay you how YOU want to be paid - cash, check, signed photos of Indiana Jones, you name it.  David opted to be paid via check and asked if I could accompany him to the Wells Fargo bank next door to cash it. Normally I have no issues with that!  However, the bank opened at 9:00 AM and the flight home was at 10:25 AM; there was no time to get to the bank and be home before the Mrs. would make me sleep on the couch. I made an offer to David -  I told him this would be the first and last time I do this, I logged into my bank account to show him the balance and to reassure him that his check was as good as gold.  David was very genuine with me and I had to be honest with him; I'd never risk 25 years of baseball card treasure hunting. Thank you, David, for allowing me to purchase your amazing collection, and my wife happy that I made the flight back.



If you're interested in selling your collection, I'd make a flight to your town, too!  Recently I travelled here on the East Coast to purchase Babe Ruth Goudey cards in the Yonkers Name Tag Collection. I'll go coast to coast for you.

I offer many ways to evaluate and purchase your collections.

We will evaluate your cards for free. Once appraised, if you choose not to sell, we will return your cards at charge to you. With our FedEx account, we will ship your cards fully insured with 2-day shipping. 

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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 or 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. Check out the Just Collect Buy List

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We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the last 25 years. Although Just Collect is known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage baseball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

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 souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, we understand the feelings that you're going through and 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.


Whether you have vintage cards or modern wax you want to sell, you can reach out to us any time! 


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