Love of the Game February 2, 2013 Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/3/2013
On August 2, 1990, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, after weeks of massing troops along the border, invaded Kuwait.  Viewing Iraq's actions as a threat to the US and the rest of the world, US President George Bush began Operation: Desert Shield, initially a campaign to defend Saudi Arabia from a possible invasion, in hopes of persuading Hussein to withdraw his troops.

With American troops stationed overseas, Topps modified its 1991 baseball set, creating a foil-stamped insignia on its standard 1991 baseball cards.  Intended to be distributed to soldiers serving in Saudi Arabia, it is rumored that just 6500 sets were manufactured, the cards distributed in wax packs. Immediate demand ensued, resulting in high prices and hoarding among collectors.  Rumors abound about the ultimate fate of many of the cards: some feel that many were lost amidst the fog of war, others say that many were destroyed in a fire.  The net result is a significant modern scarcity; a set created out of patriotism amidst the hobby boom of the early 90s and scarfed up quickly, with very little information about supply.

The PSA Set Registry includes just three active complete sets and just five on the "All-Time Finest" list.  For a modern set, produced at the pinnacle of hobby overproduction, this is a significant statistic; that so many embarked on the quest to build a modern set but so few actually completed is a testament to both its desirability and its difficulty.  A high-grade, PSA-graded set sold for nearly $76,000 in the spring of 2012, cementing the set in hobby lore and verifying the value of what will continue to be a scarce and highly desirable collectible.

Presented here is that holy grail: a complete set of 1991 Topps Desert Shield cards.  Not an easy accomplishment by any stretch, packs have been difficult to come by and factory sets nonexistent; each complete set was hand assembled by a dedicated collector, piece-by-piece.  Condition is an interesting anomaly; modern cards are obviously plentiful in high grade, but given the means of distribution of these cards, high grade Desert Shield cards are by no means a given.  We took the liberty of submitting some of the key cards to this set to PSA for grading; the results were as follows:

#1 Ryan (HOF): PSA EX-MT 6; #150 Ripken (HOF): PSA NM-MT 8; #250 Eckersley (HOF): PSA MINT 9; #333 Jones (RC): PSA NM+ 7.5; #540 Brett (HOF): PSA NM-MT 8; #570 Bonds: PSA NM-MT 8; #575 Yount (HOF): PSA NM-MT 8; #590 Murray (HOF): PSA MINT 9; #607 Martinez: PSA NM-MT 8; #670 Henderson (HOF): PSA NM-MT 8; #790 Griffey Jr.: PSA EX-MT 6.

It is our opinion that some of the lower-grade cards in the above group are consistent with the grading of modern cards and may grade higher upon resubmitting, however, our estimation is that the majority of this set would grade in the NMT range with a significant percentage better and a few worse.  A 1991 Topps Desert Shield set is extraordinarily difficult to assemble, and complete sets do not appear in the market frequently.  This is an opportunity to obtain one of the few true scarcities in the modern segment of the hobby, a piece of American history, and a very desirable set.  792 cards total.
1991 Topps Desert Shield Complete Set (792)1991 Topps Desert Shield Complete Set (792)
1991 Topps Desert Shield Complete Set (792)
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Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $1,770
Number Bids: 12
Auction closed on Sunday, February 3, 2013.
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