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Lot # 1: 1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays Rookie Card PSA NM-MT 8

Starting Bid: $25,000.00

Bids: 41 (Bid History)

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One of the most electrifying players to ever lace a pair of spikes is depicted at the start of his legendary Major League career in this high grade 1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays Rookie card. With a superb PSA NM-MT 8 grade, this is one of just 76 cards per the PSA POP report, with only 9 grading higher, making this one of the best examples extant. Thanks largely to the inclusion of the Say Hey Kid's rookie card (along with the Mickey Mantle Rookie, also available in this auction), the 1951 set of an expansive 324 cards is considered the Crown Jewel of Bowman's run and this offering displays excellent print quality and contrast - better than the vast majority on the market. It is very slightly off-center to the left (not uncommon for this set), with a slight touch to the bottom right corner; otherwise, the card more than lives up to its NM-MT status. Mays' story is a remarkable one as he played with the Negro American League's Birmingham Black Barons from 1948-50, when his contract was purchased straight out of high school by the New York Giants. Willie went on to become the Rookie of the Year in '51, and after two years in military service, he returned to earn Most Valuable Player honors in 1954. A small sampling of what was to follow in a 22-year MLB career which culminated in his 1979 induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Estimate: $200,000-$300,000

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