March 2009 Auction
Lot #45: 1968 Topps Test All Star Plaks Complete Master Set In Three Player "Sprue" Form

This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on: 3/26/2009
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $10,000.00
Final Bid(Includes Buyers Premium): $65,344.10
Number of Bids: 18
Auction closed on: 3/26/2009

From the perspective of a standard-issue company set collector, 1968 was not a great year for The Topps Company. More PSA 10s have surfaced from the lackluster 1968 Topps Baseball set, for example, than from every other Topps Baseball issue of the entire 1960s, combined. Frankly, they're just not that tough, and toughness is the defining characteristic of a sustainable collectible. But don't disparage the Topps team for taking it too easy in 1968. That year, true to the zeitgeist of the times, Topps set into motion a wide-ranging series of experiments unlike anything they'd ever attempted before, with production ranging from Deckle Edge Proofs to Color Player Posters, from 3-Dimensional Tests to Topps Discs, to game cards, tips books, and stickers. Just as other American industries responded to the rampant turmoil of 1968 with an unprecedented level of "countercultural" productions, it was clearly a creative time at Topps. Among the most experimental Topps issues of 1968 (and of all time, for that matter) were the "All Star Baseball Plaks." Virtually unknown to most collectors today, Topps Plaks are bronze-colored plastic busts of two dozen stars of the late '60s issued in 3-players sprues, like model airplane parts, along with one of two checklist cards and two sticks of bubblegum in ten-cent wax packs. The checklist cards feature photos of the 24 players presumed to have been included in the set, and they are far easier to locate today than the actual Plaks. In fact, so scarce are the plastic busts that no one has yet been able to confirm the existence of all 24 checklisted players. Until now... After discovering a small bucket of these Plaks in the home of a former Topps employee in 2008, Mile High Card Company is now pleased to offer what is not only the finest but also the only possible complete 1968 Topps Plaks 3-Player Sprue Master set in the world. Well-documented by feature articles in both Sports Collectors Digest and Sports Market Report, the Plaks find is arguably the most significant Topps find of the decade, arguably the most significant since Alan Rosen's 1952 Topps find in 1986. Importantly, from the 24 players slated for production, no collector with whom we've spoken has ever seen a single example of Aaron, Drysdale, Mays, Peters, or Frank Robinson, and it is our belief that they were simply never produced. The checklist to the 1968 Topps "All Star Baseball Plaks" test issue is therefore most likely complete at (19), with: Alvis, Chance, Fregosi, Howard, Hunter, Kaline, Killebrew, Longborg, Mantle, Yaz, Allen, Cepeda, Clemente, Davis, McCarver, Santo, Staub, Rose, and Wynn. The offered Three-Player Sprue Master Set of 12 features all 19 players, some in duplicate (including Mantle, Clemente, Kaline, Allen, Davis, McCarver, and Santo) and some even in triplicate (Killebrew, Wynn, Alvis, and Longborg). The 12 sprues offered in this Master Set include 1 example of every 3-player sprue discovered in the find, some of which were limited to just a handful of examples, one of which was unique. In short, offered is a Master Combination of all 3-player sprues known to exist. Since acquiring the Plaks, our staff has been diligently scouring every major auction catalog in our research library and has been unable to locate a single record of a 1968 Topps Plaks sale. We've also spoken with numerous collectors, several of whom identified themselves as experts on this scarce issue. After much discussion, we believe the Topps Plaks to be the second or third scarcest, non-proof, Topps test issue ever produced, behind only the 1961 Topps Dice Game and, arguably, the 1967 Topps Stand-Ups. Finally, it should be noted that the offered Master Set is the culmination of a painstaking perusal of the find to choose the finest pieces to create this offering. This is without question the scarcest and most elusive test issue to appear on the hobby landscape in quite some time, and this opportunity to acquire such an impressive complete Master Set is quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime chance.