Pssst! Wanna buy an unopened case of 1975 Topps Minis? …

brett228fc.jpg   As noted in yesterday’s blog, I was intrigued when I learned that Robert Edward Auctions would have to figure out a way to auction 26 unopened cases of 1975 Topps Minis next spring, this one of the highlighted segments of the Charlie Conlon Collection.

   Conlon died this past summer, and Rob Lifson of REA was contacted by the family to handle the liquidation of Conlon’s collection. Having such a startling amount of one item – even one as highly coveted as unopened cases of the second-best set of the decade of the 1970s (pure opinion, obviously; 1972 is just way too cool) – poses unique challenges for an auctioneer.

   “There’s no perfect way to do it,” Lifson said in a phone interview on Monday. “I think they will do well,” he added, though he conceded that conventional wisdom suggests the sheer volume could work to suppress prices, at least in theory.

   But the sale is hardly theoretical. “Uncertainty (about quantity) can be a drag on the marketplace,” he continued. “In the past, nobody knew how many cases he had. There were people who thought he had hundreds of cases, and now it’s a known, finite amount.”

   And Conlon probably did have hundreds of cases at one time, Lifson noted, adding that there are other elements at work that could push bidding upward. “We will likely never again see 26 cases of an important vintage issue available at one time like this again. People will look at it as a unique opportunity. This is the time to buy them.”

   The plan, tentative though it may be, is to sell the 12 sealed cases in three lots: six cases, five cases and one single case. The other 14 cases where the case seal has been broken, will be sold in seven lots of two cases each.

   Lifson said they didn’t really think that breaking up a case to offer individual boxes was the thing to do. “We thought we should keep the cases intact, because that’s the way he kept them; these are probably the only surviving cases out there, and there are individual boxes around already in collectors’ hands (that all probably came from Charlie anyway). We think that dealers or collector/investors will probably break up some of the cases, and they will really be the buyers of these cases due to the quantity, so we also did not want to undermine their interest, which we think will be great.”
   And while Lifson was talking to me, he was looking at a PSA 10 specimen of George Brett’s 1975 Topps Mini card. It’s hardly a surprise that Conlon would have been able to winnow through so many cases and come away with such a stunner.

   And just for good measure, Conlon also had 21/2 cases of Topps Minis Cellos, which will be sold as a single lot in the same auction.

   Now that we’ve discussed what will be offered …. and how it will likely be offered … it’s only a short additional step to tell you who should be doing the bidding. That kind of all-encompassing hobby assistance can only be found at this location, meaning I’ll be offering those hints on the morrow.

   Remember, vote early and vote often!

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4 thoughts on “Pssst! Wanna buy an unopened case of 1975 Topps Minis? …

  1. Eric Smith on said:

    Why did Conlee obtain these cases? He was a photographer. Did he shoot the photos for Topps?

  2. Dan Dischley on said:

    you might want to check your timeline a bit. 2 different people.
    Charlie recognized this was a test issue in ’75, and living in Michigan (along with Northern California, one of 2 places that received ’75 minis) bought up everything he could.
    Charlie was a good guy, and he will be missed. We need more like him.

  3. brett 75 on said:

    Anyone know the reason why they choose those 2 particular areas of the country as test areas? I was lucky enough to buy some packs, Northern Calif, just seems like an odd place to test at that time population in that area of the country wasn’t a big market . San Fransisco or LA would have made more sense. Any info on that one TS? Brett

  4. Frank Barning on said:

    When it came to test issues, very little that Topps did was logical way back when. Virtually every test issue never became a regular issue, so Topps’ efforts were a near total failure.

    A major problem with most test issues, the 1975 minis included, was that usually the cards were of a non-standard size. Most of us card collector are creatures of habit. So anything way outside the norm is only a fleeting curiosity. Minis did not fit in standard plastic pages, and that was the typical test-issue turnoff.

    Despite this, a lot of us acquired a full set of 1975 minis because so few baseball-card products were available at the time. There was reason to rejoice in 1981 when Donruss and Fleer became competitors of Topps. Now we had three standard-size sets to collect.

    Charlie Conlon was an interesting, knowledgable and dedicated hobby guy. It was not surprising that he got into 1975 minis in a big way since the cards were tested in his home state of Michigan.

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