The 1948 Leaf Baseball set is one of the most important baseball card sets in hobby history and one of the most sought-after among vintage collectors.
The set was one of the first major baseball releases following World War II and the first full-color series, providing collectors a glimpse into the future of baseball cards.
The set, which featured such Hall of Famers as Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams as well as rookie cards of Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, sold for 5 cents per pack and included six cards.
Packs from the 1948 set are rarely found unopened, but Memory Lane Inc. has the only PSA-graded pack in existence in its Spring Rarities Auction that opens April 30. The pack contains six cards from a short-print series that originated from one of Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen’s famous finds.
According to Memory Lane, the unopened pack could contain rare, high-grade cards of such greats as Paige, Bob Feller, Hal Newhouser, George Kell, Enos Slaughter and Larry Doby, among others. An unopened pack sold at Robert Edward Auctions in 2017 for $57,000.
The Memory Lane Spring auction, which runs through May 21, features more than 2,200 lots, including hundreds of rare vintage cards, some which have never been offered before.
The centerpiece is the Manny Gordon Collection, which features rare, high-grade 1933 and 1934 Goudey cards of such baseball immortals as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The 311-card collection features four 1933 Ruth cards, all graded PSA 8, as well as a Gehrig card and a Hank Greenberg rookie, both graded PSA 9.
Other unopened packs include a 1976 Topps Football cello pack, graded PSA 10, with a Walter Payton rookie card on top.
Also offered for the first time is a 1920 New York Giants team-signed baseball from the estate of A.J. Statz, who played for the team that season. The ball includes 25 signatures, including autographs of Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson and Ross Youngs.
Other key autographs being offered include:
• A 1937 Yankees autographed ball.
• A Walter Johnson-signed check.
• One of only 11 known autographed copies of Roberto Clemente’s 1955 Topps rookie card.
• A Pittsburgh Pirates expense check signed by Clemente.
• A signed copy of Mickey Mantle’s 1953 Topps card, which is among a large collection of high-grade Mantle cards.
The auction also features several high-grade vintage rookie cards of such stars as Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Pete Rose, Reggie Jackson, Wilt Chamberlain, Jim Brown and others.
Among the complete sets being offered from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s are a 1954 Bowman Baseball set that is ranked No. 1 on PSA’s Set Registry. There are also more than 125 high-grade 1958 Topps cards, including a Sandy Koufax card graded PSA 10.
Game-used memorabilia includes bats from Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Mike Schmidt, Dave Winfield, Willie Stargell and more.
Among historic tickets are tickets from: Stan Musial’s final game with the St. Louis Cardinals; Pete Rose’s 1963 debut with the Reds; and Kobe Bryant’s NBA debut with the Lakers.
Among the high-end modern cards are complete sets of 2016-19 Bowman Chrome Prospect, Bowman Chrome Draft and Bowman Mega Box Autograph sets that feature PSA 10 cards of such current stars as Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Ronald Acuna Jr. and more.
For more on the auction, visit Memory Lane’s website.