Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information


The 2,000+-lot auction, which ends Sept. 9th, is open for bidding at

DENVER, Colo. – Eight sets of completely graded baseball cards dating from 1948 to 1954 from the collection of David “Doc” Serota – including a near-complete set of 1948 Leaf cards, missing just two players, a complete set of 1951 Bowman cards and a complete set of 1952 Topps cards – are headliners in a Small Traditions online-only auction that ends Saturday night, September 9th.

The sets, meticulously pieced together by Serota one card at a time over a 25-year period, are lots #1-8 in what is being billed as Small Traditions’ 5th annual Summer Premium Auction. The auction is open for bidding now, on the Small Traditions website, at The 15-minute rule will be observed September 9th. Phone and absentee bids will also be taken.

In addition to the Doc Serota collection, the more than 2,000-lot auction will also include highly sought after Derek Jeter, Mike Trout and Aaron Judge rookie cards, as well as many high-grade (PSA 9 and PSA 10 Pop 1) regional and “oddball” issues, from stars like Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan, George Brett and others.

The Serota sets boast a combined grade point average of close to 7.5 and, although a few of the more valuable cards (like the ’52 Topps Mickey Mantle and the ’48 Leaf Jackie Robinson) are lower grade, the majority of the cards (nearly 1,000 in all) are graded PSA 8 NM-MT or better, with another 500 graded PSA 7 NM and approximately 300 more cards graded PSA 6 EX-MT.

“While Doc was never able or willing to pay five or six figures for some of the most expensive cards from these sets, he spent over two decades traveling around the country to amass a fine collection of mostly near-mint examples of all the other cards,” said Dave Thorn, owner of Small Traditions, based in Denver. “Doc’s sets contain nearly 1,000 cards graded NM-MT 8 or better.”

Another 500 cards are graded NM 7. Collectors will agree, these are impressive grades for cards from the 1940s and ‘50s, so many of which still rank among the finest few dozen graded copies on record in the hobby. “So,” Thorn remarked, “this is a great opportunity for other collectors to pick up and carry on Doc’s work, to keep building and enjoying these early and wonderful sets.”

The near-complete set of 1948 Leaf cards is only short two players – #43 Eddie Stevens and #81 George Kurowski. However, it does contain presentable, well-centered, mid-grade rookie cards for Jackie Robinson, Stan Musial and Larry Doby, as well as quite possibly the most attractive Hal Newhouser rookie card in existence. At press time, bidding for the set had reached $15,000.

The complete 1951 Bowman set is anchored by two of baseball’s most beloved players: Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. Other high-profile players include Ted Williams, Whitey Ford and Roy Campanella. But even cards for lesser-known players like Virgil Stallcup, Joe Page and Ted Beard, have brought thousands at auction (when graded PSA 9). That’s how popular the set is.

The legendary, completely graded upper-grade set of Topps 1952 cards has a respectable grade point average of 6.66 and includes all 97 of the ultra-rare, high-number cards, hundreds of cases of which Topps tragically dumped into the ocean after they were returned by retailers, unsold, after arriving too late in stores. The set includes a low-grade, PSA 1.5 #311 Mickey Mantle card.

The Mantle card could end up being sold as a single lot and not part of the set. In fact, that’s true of all the cards in the Serota sets, which Small Traditions is offering both in complete set form as well as in single card lots. Each set will sell via whichever format produces the highest price for Serota – whether it’s the final bid for the set as a whole or an aggregate total of each single card.

In addition to the near-complete set of 1948 Leaf cards, the complete set of 1951 Bowman cards and the complete set of 1952 Topps cards, other sets in the Serota collection up for bid include:

• 1948 Bowman (7.67 grade point average, minimum bid $3,000)
• 1952 Bowman (7.90 grade point average, minimum bid $7,500)
• 1953 Bowman (7.16 grade point average, minimum bid $10,000)
• 1953 Topps (6.48 grade point average, minimum bid $5,000)
• 1954 Topps (7.90 grade point average, minimum bid $7,500)

Small Traditions has earned a reputation for offering in its auctions unusual or “oddball” items, featuring well-known players but not on cards produced by the common companies like Topps, Fleer and Bowman. They’re cards that might have been distributed regionally, by hot dog or meat packing companies, dry cleaners, soft drink companies, potato chip makers and the like.

Cards like these are important to collectors trying to complete so-called “master sets” of various players. When complete, these “master sets” contain one each of every single documented card ever produced for a particular player. “In my opinion, this is one of the strongest driving forces behind the increasing popularity, exponentially, in the expanding card market,” Mr. Thorn said.

Examples of these “oddball” cards in the auction include the hobby’s finest known George Brett 1974 Kansas City Royals postcard rookie card, one of just three known and graded PSA 10 Gem Mint; and a 1995 Columbus Clippers yearbook perforated Derek Jeter rookie card, the only copy ever graded (signed or signed) and certified Mint 9 by PSA/DNA. Minimum bid: $250 for both.

A near-perfect 1959 Oklahoma Today Major Leaguers card for Mickey Mantle, the highest graded example known at PSA 9 Mint Pop 8, has a minimum bid of $1,000 (already up to $4,000 at press time); and a 1966 East Hills Pirates #21 Roberto Clemente card, also highly graded at PSA 10 Gem Mint Pop 2, has a reasonable minimum bid of $500, but is already close to $750.

Mike Trout cards are enormously popular with collectors, and why not? He’s only the best player in baseball. Two cards in the auction with $500 minimum bids (both already surpassed) are a 2011 Topps certified rookie autographs card with green refractors (s/n 086/199); and a 2009 Bowman Sterling Prospects autograph rookie card. Both of the cards are graded BGS 10 Pristine.

A rare and diminutive 1970 Transogram side panel Pete Rose card, graded PSA 9 Mint Pop 1 (the highest graded example of the three on record) carries a minimum bid of $250; while a 1975 SSPC Superstars #10 Nolan Ryan card (PSA 10 Gem Mint Pop 1) carries a $250 minimum bid.

Small Traditions is always seeking quality cards for future auctions. To inquire about consigning a single card or an entire collection, you may call them at (908) 347-1121; or, you can e-mail them at [email protected]. For more information, please visit

1995 Columbus Clippers yearbook perforated Derek Jeter rookie card, the only copy ever graded (signed or signed) and certified Mint 9 by PSA/DNA.