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  #1  
Old 04-10-2024, 07:14 AM
Zach Wheat Zach Wheat is offline
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Default 1952 Topps 6th Series - Were They Really Dumped in the Ocean

The baseball season was well under way and Sy Berger and other Topps execs were debating about whether to issue a 6th and final series in their 1952 baseball Topps set. Sy Berger stated in interviews they debated about issuing the last "set" (Sy called the 6th series a "set") due to timing of the release. The final series of 97 cards came out later than anticipated at the close of the baseball season with many cards not reaching stores until well after the World Series had ended. The 6th series cards did not sell well.

Sy Berger, always the salesman, claimed that Topps was running out of warehouse space and the remaining inventory was dumped in the ocean off of a barge in the 1960's.

Is that really what occurred? Let's hear your thoughts.
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2024, 08:56 AM
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Iíve always found this story dubious at best.

Berger did not start telling it until decades later when he was an older man, and from what I know - there were no other Topps employees at the time who ever confirmed it.

Realistically, why not just use the dumpster to get rid of the stuff instead of renting out a garbage scowl or whatever and sailing off into the East River?

Donít get me wrong. Itís a great story. I would love for it to be true. But it doesnít make a ton of sense. The idea that itís fiction born when the hobby became popular and Berger and others started getting more requests for comments and interviews makes a lot more sense to me.


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  #3  
Old 04-10-2024, 09:49 AM
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Default SS Topps

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Originally Posted by jchcollins View Post
Iíve always found this story dubious at best.

Berger did not start telling it until decades later when he was an older man, and from what I know - there were no other Topps employees at the time who ever confirmed it.

Realistically, why not just use the dumpster to get rid of the stuff instead of renting out a garbage scowl or whatever and sailing off into the East River?

Donít get me wrong. Itís a great story. I would love for it to be true. But it doesnít make a ton of sense. The idea that itís fiction born when the hobby became popular and Berger and others started getting more requests for comments and interviews makes a lot more sense to me.
Agree with John's assessment...but, found this old photo somewhere, forget where.
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  #4  
Old 04-10-2024, 09:51 AM
G1911 G1911 is offline
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It is a tale that can not be fact checked now and nothing in it is impossible, but it was probably a lie as most tightly-constructed stories decades after the fact that don't really make much sense if you think about it are.
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  #5  
Old 04-10-2024, 09:58 AM
ALR-bishop ALR-bishop is offline
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Warehouse expense or expense of giving them away versus hiring trucks, loading trucks, unloading trucks, renting barge, loading barge, hiring crews for trucks, barge, dock workers....and Topps being cheap. Stuff of legends ?
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  #6  
Old 04-10-2024, 10:33 AM
Zach Wheat Zach Wheat is offline
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In one interview Sy indicates Topps rented a garbage scow to dump the cards because they did not want them stolen from the dumpster. However, there were other ways to get rid of them.

I hope Toppcat is able to chime in...as always, his Topps Archives gives some very insightful and interesting details of the story

Last edited by Zach Wheat; 04-10-2024 at 02:05 PM.
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  #7  
Old 04-10-2024, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALR-bishop View Post
Warehouse expense or expense of giving them away versus hiring trucks, loading trucks, unloading trucks, renting barge, loading barge, hiring crews for trucks, barge, dock workers....and Topps being cheap. Stuff of legends ?

Supposedly they tried to give them away at fairs and carnivals for years - at least in some version of the story - and when this ultimately never worked, they dumped them in the river. Again, I donít believe it but itís a great story.


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  #8  
Old 04-10-2024, 10:43 AM
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It is a great hobby story, true or not
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  #9  
Old 04-10-2024, 10:44 AM
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Double post

Last edited by ALR-bishop; 04-10-2024 at 10:45 AM.
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  #10  
Old 04-10-2024, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach Wheat View Post
In one interview Sy indicates Topps rented a garbage scow to dump the cards because they did not want them stolen from the dumpster. However, there were other ways to get rid of them.

I hope Toppcat is able to chime in...as always, his Topps Archives gives some very insightful and interesting details of the story
My current thoughts are here:

https://www.thetoppsarchives.com/2021/08/highly-doubtful.html


This is the Sports Illustrated article I mention in the above linked post: https://www.si.com/mlb/2021/07/06/to...ow-daily-cover

Last edited by toppcat; 04-10-2024 at 05:19 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-10-2024, 03:13 PM
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Ummm...of course it's true!!!!!

diver1952toppsmantle.jpg
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  #12  
Old 04-10-2024, 11:28 PM
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When the legend becomes fact, print the legend!
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  #13  
Old 04-11-2024, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toppcat View Post
My current thoughts are here:

https://www.thetoppsarchives.com/2021/08/highly-doubtful.html


This is the Sports Illustrated article I mention in the above linked post: https://www.si.com/mlb/2021/07/06/to...ow-daily-cover
Just a note, I belive Rosen find was cello packs
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  #14  
Old 04-11-2024, 09:04 AM
Zach Wheat Zach Wheat is offline
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Great stuff David, thanks for responding. So to summarize some of the issues, Sy was certainly a salesman, and the story about the garbage scow appears to arise around 1975. The origin of the story seems coincidental with a number of other events outlined by Toppcat in several areas of Topps Archives some of which are detailed below.

Additionally, according to interviews with Sy, the 6th and last "set" was printed at half the quantitiy of the other series. Presumably he means the 1st - 4th series as the 5th series of "semi-high #'s" is more rare than the other series. If up to 2 "truckloads" of cases of cards were thrown in to a garbage scow and dumped this equates to 74K - 150K 6th series cards or 1,500-3,000 Mantles. Or if you use a previous interpretation of Sy's story perhaps several million sheets were dumped.

Sy's reasoning for dumping cards in the ocean rather than going to the dumpster - was due to the possibility of theft. Topps had established pipelines for card distribution in Venezuela (Thanks Dave) with 6th series cards turning up there. However, the dumping story seems embellished.

https://www.thetoppsarchives.com/201...-dimaggio.html

Oddly, 5th & 6th series cards turned up at an OPC warehouse in London, Ontario when they were clearing it out. A Youtube video and Toppcat's coverage of that issue is here:

https://www.thetoppsarchives.com/sea...High%20Numbers

Per Mastro's subsequent auction, the box contained both 5th and 6th series cards, which is odd. How did this happen? No clue. Although some jobbers refused to carry the 6th series cards to their retailers, it is clear product was distributed in some fashion nationwide as cards made it to the east and west coast. Were cards really dumped in the ocean? A count of the cards in each series might give us some indication. As previously noted, Sy had indicated the 6th series cards were printed at about half the quantity of other series. D Hanley of Dean's Cards indicated the best way to approximate print ratio for each series was to review his inventory which would follow the approximate print distribution in the set. Assuming this is correct - perhaps a big assumption - the percentage of cards in each series as a % of total inventory of 3,559 cards, is as follows:

1st Series - 25.1%
2nd Series - 18.7%
3rd Series - 17.6%
4th Series 18.7%
5th Series - 10.8%
6th Series - 9%

I am making huge assumptions here, but this appears to follow what Sy had indicated in interviews about the total production of the 6th series. No clue what all this means or if it is even accurate but it does not appear that millions of sheets were dumped. Perhaps the truth is some cards were disposed of in some fashion and the story got embellished over the years. Who really knows.....
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Old 04-11-2024, 09:04 AM
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I've never believed this story for a second.

As already mentioned Topps was not flush with cash to waste overhead in such a illogical way. I could believe incineration as it was a very popular method in these instances for that time. The math is just refusing to math on this.

Sy was always one to take advantage of a story and the myth was one of his favorites to wink about. The collectors that love a good conspiracy will always embrace this, however I have seen far of evidence of Bigfoot than a speck of discernable fact in this hobby myth.

As far as marketing goes, there has never been a reason to come out with the truth on this for Topps. More honestly, after this amount of time the only man that could have told the truth passed away in 2014.

This hobby story is forever here to stay, but there is zero truth to it in my mind.
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Old 04-11-2024, 09:08 AM
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Also, wasn't Rosen's find from a stash which was farmed out for inclusion with the sale of baseball gloves or some other sort of toy? Guessing they sold them to whatever company that guy's father worked for.
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  #17  
Old 04-11-2024, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Republicaninmass View Post
Just a note, I believe Rosen find was cello packs
That was Rosen's thought since there weren't any gum stains. Here's part of his ad where he says that is his belief.
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  #18  
Old 04-11-2024, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinD View Post
I've never believed this story for a second.

As already mentioned Topps was not flush with cash to waste overhead in such a illogical way. I could believe incineration as it was a very popular method in these instances for that time. The math is just refusing to math on this.

Sy was always one to take advantage of a story and the myth was one of his favorites to wink about. The collectors that love a good conspiracy will always embrace this, however I have seen far of evidence of Bigfoot than a speck of discernable fact in this hobby myth.

As far as marketing goes, there has never been a reason to come out with the truth on this for Topps. More honestly, after this amount of time the only man that could have told the truth passed away in 2014.

This hobby story is forever here to stay, but there is zero truth to it in my mind.
One thing I know for certain is there was no incinerator used by Topps, as confirmed by many who worked there over the years.

I have to think Sy's wife's story is accurate in the sense Topps emptied warehouses out at some point and he spoke of it sometimes while working at Topps but so much of it doesn't add up, at least where the 52 highs and the Mantles are concerned. And why is there no other contemporary account of this? The dumping of garbage at sea may have required a government contract. One of my long standing clients (I have been in the business of adjusting physical damage claims on ships, tugs and barges for 39 years) used to have this contract and I am familiar with how this worked in the 1990's, where there were City of New York garbage piers at various points, where the barges were loaded up but the practice in the Sixties could have been different. But Topps seems to have still used a private carter in the 1960's, which I am aware of via a friend's father who had the contract for a business next door at Bush Terminal. If Sy took a ride on the tug, it may or may not have been via the City of NY contract holder at the time. Which seems kind of far-fetched.

Per Mr. Mint's Insider Guide, in his own (ghost-written?) words:
"There were bricks of gem mint 1952s."

PSA Article: https://www.psacard.com/articles/articleview/7813/pulp-non-fiction-famous-1952-topps-baseball-find

He did this video 15 years ago on the Framingham find:
https://youtu.be/rjckQNXP4Gs?si=E32nlFqcI8K6LE8q

Is there a source for details on wrappers or other elements of the find? Rosen just mentions the "case." UPDATE-above post crossed with mine. I am unaware of anything but five cent wax packs for the highs, has anyone ever seen another form of packaging (or vending) for them? "apparently" indicates to me he didn't know, when he could have easily asked.

Last edited by toppcat; 04-11-2024 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 04-11-2024, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toppcat View Post

Per Mr. Mint's Insider Guide, in his own (ghost-written?) words:
"There were bricks of gem mint 1952s."

Is there a source for details on wrappers or other elements of the find? Rosen just mentions the "case." UPDATE-above post crossed with mine. I am unaware of anything but five cent wax packs for the highs, has anyone ever seen another form of packaging (or vending) for them? "apparently" indicates to me he didn't know, when he could have easily asked.
I've heard the Rosen story and it certainly has merit. I think there could be many different possibilities as businesses have suffered from overstock issues forever.

I think the only common explanation that just holds no water (pun totally intended, lol) is the dumping at sea. It just makes no logistical sense in the slightest. However, it is a great story for the hobby and I don't think Sy ever wanted to ruin it.
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Last edited by JustinD; 04-11-2024 at 01:08 PM.
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