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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/4/2016

     Each card has been graded by PSA or SGC. Presented is an extremely scarce, 13-card complete set of 1947 Bond Bread Jackie Robinson baseball cards. Issued during a three-year period starting in 1947, this rare bakery production was first distributed in the New York area. Its entire subject matter is devoted to the Brooklyn Dodgers' Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player in Major League Baseball history. Robinson broke the color barrier in a sport that had been segregated for more than a half-century, and the Bond Bread issue stands as an enduring commemorative tribute to his legacy. Complete sets like this one are seldom offered; full sets are very difficult to assemble and are exceptionally desirable. The gallery includes: Graded PSA NM 7: 1 card, Portrait (among a total PSA census of 73 items, just six copies have been graded higher); PSA EX-MT 6: 2 cards w/Fielding/No Ball Visible and Leap/Scoreboard in Back (just one example has been graded higher); PSA VG-EX 4: 4 cards w/Awaiting Pitch, Leaping/No Scoreboard (one of just eight PSA-graded examples), Sliding and Throwing (one of just eight PSA-graded examples); PSA VG 3: 1 card, Glove in Air; SGC 35 GD+ 2.5: 1 card, Running To Catch Ball; PSA GD 2: 2 cards w/Batting/White Sleeves and Fielding Ball In Glove; PSA PR 1: 1 card, Batting No Sleeves; SGC 10 PR 1: 1 card, Running Down Baseline.

The collectibles comprising the 1947 Bond Bread Jackie Robinson card set are among the most elusive and desirable pieces from the early post-war era. Robinson was an important cultural figure as well as a storied athlete. His success brought about a feeling of triumph and pride in neighborhoods that were, at the time, largely segregated, and his on-field heroics inspired community-wide excitement in many major cities.

Robinson's prominence also warranted a clever campaign of targeted marketing, of a type that has since become much more common. The makers of Bond Bread identified certain regions and specific areas that were known to have concentrated populations of African-Americans, and Jackie Robinson baseball cards were deployed accordingly.

The production launched in 1947 with the release of a Jackie Robinson card featuring his portrait, a facsimile autograph and a biography. A conceptual forerunner of the current generation's "Promo" cards, this small "Portrait" card advertisement (in addition to directly prompting the purchase of Bond Bread loaves by a few new buyers) was designed to foster anticipation and build interest in the coming series of twelve additional pieces.

The first advertisement placed by Bond Bread regarding the Jackie Robinson campaign appeared in a Baltimore-area, African-American newspaper in June, 1947. Simultaneously, the "Portrait" card was being distributed in promotional packages in New York City's Harlem community. The special packages containing the card also held two slices of bread and a coupon.

In July, 1947, Harlem distribution of the card spread to additional black neighborhoods in New York City. The card was given away by small, local retailers and, again, was distributed in packages containing two slices of Bond bread. Soon, cards started making their way into major grocery stores in NYC, and subsequent newspaper advertisements placed by Bond Bread continued to feature the actual card. These ads mentioned the special offer inviting individuals to ask for a card (or, as Bond called it, a "pocket-sized reproduction" of a Robinson photograph). By September, 1947, the cards’ distribution had expanded to every major city from Montreal to St. Louis.

The extent of the "Portrait" card's original distribution, then, was much wider than traditional hobby lore had once maintained. The item had been somewhat mistakenly characterized as a "regional" issue: in view of the definitive information that the piece did, indeed, enjoy a significantly broader range of original circulation, a good case can be made that the "Portrait" is in fact Jackie Robinson's first nationally distributed Rookie Card.

Painstaking study of newspaper advertisements from the period served to conclusively establish that the set was filled in, over a two-year period, in definable segments. Ultimately, the twelve single cards that joined the "Portrait" card in comprising the full, 13-piece set emerged in these two, six-card groups:

The following cards (all showing images that appear to have been taken on Opening Day, 1947) were released in the Summer of 1948; Glove in Air, Leaping No Scoreboard, Fielding No Ball in Glove, Fielding Ball in Glove, Awaiting Pitch and Batting White Sleeves. These six cards were released in the Summer of 1949; Sliding (photo taken during the July 2, 1949 game against the Giants), Leaping Scoreboard, Batting No Sleeves, Throwing, Running Down Baseline and Running to Catch Ball.

Although the cards' distribution was apparently structured to be well-balanced, conspicuous scarcities have been confirmed. In particular, "Glove in Air" and "Leaping No Scoreboard" are in short supply and remain persistently difficult to acquire. (Interestingly, the "Leaping No Scoreboard" card in the offered set was purchased directly from the original owner, an African-American woman from a Detroit suburb who had never traveled outside of the Detroit area.) "Batting No Sleeves" and "Throwing" are also quite challenging.

**Much credit is due to Shaun Fyffe, whose scholarly investigation of the 1947 Bond Bread Jackie Robinson issue discovered or confirmed much of the hobby's knowledge about the production.**

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $10,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $22,800.00
Number Bids: 7
Auction closed on Sunday, December 4, 2016.
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