Lot # 26: Rare 1953 Bowman Color Proof "Dodgers In Action" - Unissued Card! CGC GOOD+ 2.5

Category: Featured Items

Starting Bid: $3,000.00

Bids: 27 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Spring, 2024 Premier Auction",
which ran from 3/11/2024 12:00 AM to
3/30/2024 9:00 PM

Extraordinary example of the "Dodgers in Action" proof card associated with the 1953 Bowman Color set.  Only the second example of this card we have encountered in our research, and the first to come to auction in decades, this is the most rare and desirable of four known "proof" cards from the popular issue.  "Proofs" - generally thought of as prototype cards, developed to review "mock-up" designs, or to test a printing process - are a natural part of the design and printing process for any printed material, baseball cards included.  However, they are typically discarded and do not find their way into the hands of collectors.  

The four subjects that appear as proof cards from this issue include Enos Slaughter (with a design that is extremely similar to the Slaughter card that ultimately appeared in the 1953 Bowman Color set), Warren Spahn (with a design that is completely different from Spahn's ultimate card from the issue), Ferris Fain (a beautiful mock-up, though Fain ultimately did not appear in the set), and this card, an "action" photo of a member of the Dodgers, having slid safely into home during a play at the plate.  Taken at a distance from overhead, likely from the grandstand or press box, the players are unidentified - but the horizontal image, of course, recalls the famous 1953 Bowman Color Pee Wee Reese card, one of the most iconic of all 1950s baseball cards.  Some have speculated that perhaps Bowman initially intended to do a small series of "action" images, including the Reese and Dodgers shots.

The card was purchased at a show by a regional dealer in the midwest, as part of a complete 1953 Bowman Color set.  The proof was included at the back of the set, and purchased on the spot from the dealer by our consignor, who subsequently submitted the card to CGC for authentication (neither PSA nor SGC currently authenticate these proofs).  CGC assigned the card a grade of GOOD+ 2.5, due to overall wear, including a notable surface wrinkle on the card reverse, and some additional wear and soiling, again most visible on the card back.

The card is reasonably well-centered, the image positioned slightly to the left.  Subtle print registration marks appear in the center of the top, bottom and right borders, at the edge of the card. The print registration itself seems just slightly off, a very thin strip of yellow print appearing just underneath the photographic image as a result.  As is the case with all four proofs, this card is missing the black rule line that surrounds the photos in the 1953 Bowman issue; that rule line is a welcome addition to the final product as it adds definition and creates a boundary for each photo.  

An incredibly rare card, one of the most interesting anomalies of postwar baseball collecting - a prototype card from one of the most highly-regarded of all 1950s baseball issues, featuring an unissued image.  


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