Original artwork of Willie Mays used to produced card #244 in the 1953 Topps set. Willie Mays is one of the key cards from the 1953 Topps set and the corresponding artwork commands even greater significance in the eyes of collectors, especially given its storied history. It was originally purchased at the highly publicized Topps Archives auction in 1989 by the Marriott Corporation for $88,000 ($210,000 in today's economy). Marriott used the artwork for promotional purposes and also created a limited-edition print, which was sold and marketed for charitable purposes. In 1991 Marriott donated the Willie Mays artwork to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (a nonprofit organization that raises funds for children's hospitals in the United States and Canada), in whose possession it has remained these past thirty-one years. This piece has been consigned directly by the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, with all the proceeds dedicated to helping children receive the best medical care possible.
Unlike 1953 Topps cards, the artworks used to produce them are unique. Only one of each exists. Further distinguishing the 1953 Topps artworks is the fact that 1953 was the only year during that decade that Topps relied on paintings rather than photography for its card design. (It has always been assumed that the reason for that decision was related to the company's ongoing lawsuits with Bowman at the time; 1953 was the first year Bowman used photography rather than paintings to produce its cards.) 1953 marked Willie Mays' second appearance on a Topps card, and in addition to being one of the set's high numbered offerings, his card is also a short print, making it one the scarcest as well. Other than Mantle, the offered Mays painting is the most significant 1953 Topps artwork in the hobby and one that will almost certainly continue to appreciate in the years to come.
The artwork (3.5x5") feature's Mays' name written twice on the reverse, along with his team affiliation ("N.Y.") and an editorial notation. Like all other known 1953 Topps artworks, adhesive residue covers the reverse, otherwise the artwork is in Excellent condition overall. The card is accompanied by an actual 1953 Topps #244 Mays card, which is in Good condition overall.