MAY 2012 PREMIER INTERNET AUCTION
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/19/2012
Among the elite single objects in the field of card collecting, the offered Roberto Clemente rookie is the only example in the world graded at its tier. This copy alone, among 2,860 of its brethren submitted to PSA, has been deemed worthy of that firm’s judgment of perfection. This cherished Clemente collectible was included in the difficult "high number" segment of the 1955 Topps issue. At the time of its production Roberto Clemente has just completed a rapid ascent from amateur status in the Puerto Rican professional league to the majors. After a brief stint with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954, legendary baseball executive Branch Rickey nabbed Clemente from Brooklyn to play in Pittsburgh. In spite of severe culture shock, Clemente’s brilliance on the diamond was boundless. By 1960 Clemente was one of the most dominant players in Major League Baseball, helping lead the Pirates to win both the National League pennant and the World Series. The Pirates great won four batting crowns and amassed 3,000 hits. Clemente earned National League MVP honors in 1966, but achieved his greatest fame in the 1971 World Series, in which he batted .414. Tragically, Clemente's life ended at age 38 -- the victim of a plane crash while flying relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims. Although the Hall of Fame outfielder's career was tragically abbreviated, his dual legacy of baseball greatness and humanitarian generosity remains immortal. This example of the heroic figure's debut Topps card would be a centerpiece in the most advanced collection of graded cards. Its marvelously well-calibrated centering provides an ideal, snow-white framing of Clemente's portrait and batting stance. His bold facsimile signature and the colorful Pirates' logo enhance the item's compelling overall aesthetic. The edges, corners and surfaces remain untouched, completing every requirement for PSA’s unprecedented GEM MINT 10 rating.