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The artistic foundation for one of the most legendary cards in history, the 1951 Bowman Willie Mays #305 Rookie Card. This original photograph was taken circa 1951 by legendary photographer William Jacobellis, who captured some of the most famous Topps and Bowman card portraits. The Mays 1951 Bowman PSA 9 Rookie Card is worth $650,000 according to PSA’s SMR. With the boom in sports cards, some collectors view the photographs behind the cards as a value play that is due to play catch up.
Update 08/23/21 - Collectable shareholders accepted an $65,000 buyout offer for this asset. The asset will be retired from Collectable’s platform.


With his ability to make the spectacular seem commonplace and his positive demeanor, it’s little wonder that Willie Mays was, is, and always will be one of baseball’s most beloved figures. Over his 22-year career, the Say Hey Kid racked up a pair of MVP awards, a World Series ring, a batting title, and a whopping 12 Gold Gloves. With a rare combination of speed and power, Mays led the league four times in home runs and four times in stolen bases. His 660 homers is the sixth-most in MLB history, and his 338 swipes ties him for 122nd on the all-time list. Mays entranced both coasts (and everywhere in between), beginning his career with a Giants franchise that moved from New York to San Francisco before his seventh season in the league, then wrapping it up back in NYC with the Mets. None other than Ted Williams said, “They made the All-Star Game for Willie Mays.”


This iconic original photograph of Willie Mays, taken by world famous photographer Wlliam Jacobellis circa 1951, was used to create Mays’ world famous 1951 Bowman Rookie Card.
Jacobellis was described in the following manner: “Truly, the crystal-clear focus, striking dark-light contrast, and picture-perfect composition are beyond belief and could only be the fine craftsmanship of a legend such as Jacobellis (1920-2001). Charter member of the National Press Photographers Association, Jacobellis enjoyed an illustrious 40-year career with the New York Journal American and the New York Post, plus captured some of the most famous Topps and Bowman card portraits.”
A Willie Mays 1951 Bowman PSA 9 Rookie Card is worth $650,000, according to PSA, sports collectibles leading grading agency. A PSA 9 is worth $85,000, according to PSA.
According to Heritage Auctions, “original photography has been trending up for the last few years, especially images used to create iconic cards.” In February 2021, photographs used to create Jackie Robinson’s 1948 Leaf and 1949 Bowman cards sold for $360,000 and $204,000.
PSA describes Mays’ 1951 Bowman rookie card in the following manner: "His only official rookie card [1951 Bowman] is the one that garners the most attention. Mays’ first Topps issue (1952) is also desirable, but it never surpassed the importance of his true rookie. When you consider the beauty of the artwork…it’s not surprising that the 1951 Bowman set remains one of the most coveted issues of all time.”
Authenticated by PSA/DNA, the leading authenticator and grading agency, as Authentic. Type I. Serial numbered 84143844.
The consignor is retaining $23,250 in equity in the offering.
To learn more about investing in original sports photography, read CollectableU: Investing in Original, Rare Sports Photography: https://collectable.com/collectableu-investing-in-original-rare-sports-photography/
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Willie Mays
1951 Bowman Original Photo

Exited for $65,000 +30.1%
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