This month, Heritage Auctions is set to unveil a one-of-a-kind collection of Venezuelan Topps baseball cards spanning the years 1959 to 1968. Consisting of 117 lots and over 1,200 cards, this trove captures the essence of an era and stands out for its exceptional condition.
During the years following World War II, baseball was gaining popularity, and Topps responded by partnering with Benco, a South American printing company, to produce Venezuelan Topps cards. Today, these cards are considered rare gems, as most surviving examples show signs of deterioration. However, this collection defies the norm with its impressive state of preservation.
The Venezuelan Topps cards can be easily distinguished from their regular counterparts due to distinct differences in cardstock and print quality. Rather than a glossy finish, they were printed on coarse and inexpensive cardboard, making them prone to rapid deterioration. Limited production and distribution, as well as a trend among local collectors to affix cards into specially designed albums, have contributed to their scarcity. As a result, finding these cards in near-mint condition or better is exceptionally rare, and no “GEM MINT” 10 rating has ever been bestowed on any Venezuelan Topps card by the card grading authority, PSA.
However, this summer, Heritage Auctions acquired a collection that pushed the boundaries, including the highest-graded examples to date. Among the highlights are a 1959 Mickey Mantle card (PSA 5), a 1960 Carl Yastrzemski rookie card (PSA 5.5), a 1964 Ernie Banks card (PSA 8), and a 1964 Mickey Mantle card (PSA 6). Heritage Auctions praised the collection as the culmination of decades of commitment to collecting.
The later issues of the Venezuelan Topps cards are particularly notable as they introduced players who had yet to appear on MLB cards. Future stars like Dave Concepcion made their debut on Topps cards in Venezuela before being featured on any U.S.-issued Topps rookie cards. The 1967 Venezuelan Concepcion card, graded 6, is among the lots up for auction. This same set also paid homage to retired legends such as Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, and Sandy Koufax, who had recently ended his career after the 1966 season.
In addition to these remarkable cards, the auction will feature other high-grade pieces such as a PSA 8 1967 Mantle card, a PSA 7 1967 Mantle card, a PSA 6 1968 Johnny Bench rookie card, a PSA 5 1964 Pete Rose card, a PSA 6 1964 Willie Mays card, and a PSA 4 1964 Hank Aaron card. Aspiring collectors will also have the chance to acquire cards featuring luminaries like Koufax, Roberto Clemente, Roger Maris, and other stars and Hall of Famers from the era.
Bidding for these pieces of baseball history will conclude on November 16th during the Heritage Fall Sports Collectibles Auction. This event promises to be a landmark occasion, offering collectors the opportunity to own a piece of baseball’s international legacy and celebrate the storied past of the sport’s memorabilia. Each card in this auction represents a fragment of history, showcasing the global reach of America’s pastime and the enduring allure of card collecting. For those who value the heritage of the game and the artistry of card collecting, this auction presents an unmissable opportunity to acquire a slice of baseball card lore.