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  #1  
Old 01-24-2023, 01:54 PM
skelly423 skelly423 is offline
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Default 1952 Topps Mays vs 1953 Topps Mays - why the price gap

Like many (most) of you, I spend an unhealthy portion of my time thinking about the baseball card hobby, either looking for inefficiencies, or trying to rationalize things that just don't make sense to me.

One price gap that seems to defy explanation is the difference between the 1952 Topps Willie Mays and the 1953 Topps Willie Mays. In all grades, the 1952 sells for substantially more money than the 1953, yet the graded population shows the 1953 is the scarcer of the two cards, by a notable margin (PSA Pop 2755 1952s vs PSA Pop 2345 1953s).

I'm aware of the iconic status of the 1952 set, but 1953 Topps isn't exactly junk wax. The 1953 Mays is a short printed high number, whereas the 1952 is part of the low numbered common series. Visually speaking they're both striking in their own ways, and in my opinion neither is an ugly card. Neither is a rookie card, and they're obviously both early career cards.

Why does the 1952 Willie Mays routinely sell for double or triple the 1953 version in the same grade? Is the cache of the 1952 set so high that the difference can be attributed to that alone?
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2023, 02:33 PM
G1911 G1911 is offline
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If the 52 Mantle is a rookie, as many people with a vested financial interest still say or imply, so is the Mays. The 52 set is genuinely more popular, and also more juiced up on its big cards by the speculators and investors.
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  #3  
Old 01-24-2023, 02:33 PM
raulus raulus is offline
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You mentioned "in all grades", but I'm not convinced that's true at say PSA 8.

Part of the challenge these days is that we don't get many data points at that lofty level, particularly for the 53T in PSA 8, with really just one coming onto the market since the pandemic.

From what little data we have, my analysis suggests that the premium for a 52T PSA 8 is not going to be 2x over a 53T PSA 8. Maybe 25%-50%. And maybe even less in some cases, potentially even parity, depending on the card, the auction, and the day to day economic environment.

To get back to your original question, I'm not sure that there's much more here other than:

1) 52T is more in demand than 53T when it comes to set collectors.

2) While I don't want to get into a raging debate about whether 52T is Mays' rookie card, if you assume it is, or at least the Topps equivalent, then I think you also have the argument that the rookie card is in greater demand than the 2nd year card.

And if you want to argue that 52T is his 2nd year card, then you still have a similar dynamic with a 2nd year card generally being in greater demand than a 3rd year card.
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Trying to wrap up my master mays set, with just a few left:

1959 Bazooka Complete Box
M118 (PSA calls it 1963 Baseball Magazine)
1968 American Oil left side
1971 Bazooka numbered
1971 Bazooka numbered complete panel

Last edited by raulus; 01-24-2023 at 02:35 PM.
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  #4  
Old 01-24-2023, 02:39 PM
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It's 1952 Topps. End of story.
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  #5  
Old 01-24-2023, 02:57 PM
skelly423 skelly423 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raulus View Post
You mentioned "in all grades", but I'm not convinced that's true at say PSA 8.
You're absolutely right, I should have specified collector grades. The top of the market for these types of cards seems to operate independently of any other pricing precedent.
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  #6  
Old 01-24-2023, 03:15 PM
Gorditadogg Gorditadogg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raulus View Post
You mentioned "in all grades", but I'm not convinced that's true at say PSA 8.

Part of the challenge these days is that we don't get many data points at that lofty level, particularly for the 53T in PSA 8, with really just one coming onto the market since the pandemic.

From what little data we have, my analysis suggests that the premium for a 52T PSA 8 is not going to be 2x over a 53T PSA 8. Maybe 25%-50%. And maybe even less in some cases, potentially even parity, depending on the card, the auction, and the day to day economic environment.

To get back to your original question, I'm not sure that there's much more here other than:

1) 52T is more in demand than 53T when it comes to set collectors.

2) While I don't want to get into a raging debate about whether 52T is Mays' rookie card, if you assume it is, or at least the Topps equivalent, then I think you also have the argument that the rookie card is in greater demand than the 2nd year card.

And if you want to argue that 52T is his 2nd year card, then you still have a similar dynamic with a 2nd year card generally being in greater demand than a 3rd year card.
Well, there's only one data point, isn't there? Must be an interesting story in there somewhere.

The 53T Mays was bumping along at $30k, then some dude paid $192k for one last summer. Then nothing since.

It sure makes it difficult to figure out the market. What does your analysis say? $100,000?

Sent from my SM-S906U using Tapatalk
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  #7  
Old 01-24-2023, 03:53 PM
raulus raulus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorditadogg View Post
Well, there's only one data point, isn't there? Must be an interesting story in there somewhere.

The 53T Mays was bumping along at $30k, then some dude paid $192k for one last summer. Then nothing since.

It sure makes it difficult to figure out the market. What does your analysis say? $100,000?

Sent from my SM-S906U using Tapatalk
I guess now we have to speculate how much the next 53T Mays PSA 8 will sell for. Considering how nutty things continue to be, if one came onto the market today, I wouldn't be surprised if it sold for $150-$200k.

Even if you look at it pre-pandemic, the premium at PSA 8 for a 52T compared to the 53T was small. It certainly wasn't 2x. Maybe 25%, give or take, depending on the card, the auction, and the day.

We did just have a 52T in PSA 8 sell for $180k not long ago. So maybe the 53T could sell for a little less. At the same time, I suspect that there's going to be some pent-up demand for the 53T in PSA 8 for a while. So it might continue to rival the 52T PSA 8 in pricing.

And for that matter, it might be another year or 2 (or more) before another 53T in PSA 8 comes onto the market, so that could be a factor in terms of having lots of pent-up demand. Assuming, of course, that the market doesn't collapse in the interim. While I keep expecting it, aaaaaaaaaaaaaany minute now, my predictions are obviously premature.
__________________
Trying to wrap up my master mays set, with just a few left:

1959 Bazooka Complete Box
M118 (PSA calls it 1963 Baseball Magazine)
1968 American Oil left side
1971 Bazooka numbered
1971 Bazooka numbered complete panel

Last edited by raulus; 01-24-2023 at 03:54 PM.
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  #8  
Old 01-24-2023, 08:06 PM
Gorditadogg Gorditadogg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raulus View Post
I guess now we have to speculate how much the next 53T Mays PSA 8 will sell for. Considering how nutty things continue to be, if one came onto the market today, I wouldn't be surprised if it sold for $150-$200k.

Even if you look at it pre-pandemic, the premium at PSA 8 for a 52T compared to the 53T was small. It certainly wasn't 2x. Maybe 25%, give or take, depending on the card, the auction, and the day.

We did just have a 52T in PSA 8 sell for $180k not long ago. So maybe the 53T could sell for a little less. At the same time, I suspect that there's going to be some pent-up demand for the 53T in PSA 8 for a while. So it might continue to rival the 52T PSA 8 in pricing.

And for that matter, it might be another year or 2 (or more) before another 53T in PSA 8 comes onto the market, so that could be a factor in terms of having lots of pent-up demand. Assuming, of course, that the market doesn't collapse in the interim. While I keep expecting it, aaaaaaaaaaaaaany minute now, my predictions are obviously premature.
You're right, the difference wasn't much three years ago either. I don't know why there aren't any on the market. Johnny is probably hoarding them.

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Last edited by Gorditadogg; 01-24-2023 at 10:51 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-25-2023, 09:15 AM
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frankhardy frankhardy is offline
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Do I remember correctly that 15 or 20 years ago that the 1953 consistently sold for more than the 1952? At least in low to mid grade?
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  #10  
Old 01-25-2023, 03:17 PM
smrtn240 smrtn240 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankhardy View Post
Do I remember correctly that 15 or 20 years ago that the 1953 consistently sold for more than the 1952? At least in low to mid grade?
I believe you're right. Plus the '52 isn't even a high number, and the '53 is a SP. All I know is I regret selling my '52 in 2013 for a tenth of what its going for now
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  #11  
Old 01-25-2023, 09:23 PM
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V117collector V117collector is offline
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Thought I post my 53' Topps Mays seeing that there are no pics yet.
I consider it to be one of my favorite cards in my collection. The artwork on this card is just awesome, a truly classic vintage card.

I sold my 52' Topps Mays approximately a year ago and I really regret selling it. I've been dealing with seller's remorse ever since. I'm now looking for a replacement, hope it doesn't cost me too much.
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File Type: jpg 53Twillie mays net54.jpg (166.6 KB, 48 views)
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