"...it must needs be plucked at from the skies, and dived for in the deep, and featured in the unbodied air!" Moby Dick, Ch. 34
Sports Collectors Digest article by T.S. O'Connell:
"Topps had stored those 1952 Topps for eight or nine years. According to Berger, these were all cut cards. 'They were put in boxes. It took three garbage trucks. I would say 300-500 cases. All high series of 1952 Topps. I found a friend of mine who had a garbage scow and we loaded the three trucks-worth on the barge.' It was hauled out to sea by a tugboat, with Berger on board to supervise the undertaking, such as it was. 'I was out there with it. Opposite Atlantic Highlands, a few miles out.'Who indeed? So, if we accept the story lock, stock, and barrel, that means there are SCADS of baseball cards at the bottom of the ocean intermingling their molecules with disintegrated wax, bubble gum, box board, fish fins, tentacles, kelp, and God knows what else.
The cases were stacked on the center of the barge, and a switch was thrown and those (now) precious cards were consigned to the deep. 'And that was the end of it,' said Berger. 'Whoever thought that they would have the kind of value that they would have?'
Scarcity equals value. In the golden pre-ocean baseball card days, and in fact for a while afterward, cards were made only of paper pulp and marketed to kids and kids alone. That's evident because the packs cost one cent and included a wide stick of barely chewable bubble gum. And what did kids do with those cards? They thumbed through stacks; they wrapped 'em with rubber bands and stashed 'em in shoe boxes. Cards got lost, worn, tossed against walls, inserted into bike spokes, or even thrown away. Kids did not think about value.
The result of all this unthinking happy card activity: few of those cards survived in good condition, let alone near mint condition. THAT is what led to today's values. Scarcity of cards in decent condition. The story of the 1952 Topps high numbers submerged in the ocean accelerated this effect.
After months of exhaustive design work, largely undertaken by Mr. Berger himself, Topps produced a set that is seen by many as the ultimate post-war sportscard issue; and clocking in at 407 cards, it was the largest single-year issue ever produced. Two major design innovations: including player statistics for the previous season and career totals on the backs of the cards, and the use of color team logos on the fronts.
What does all this mean? So, let's say those cards were thrown into the deep blue sea. Then, let's say card executives gradually realized that ocean dumping of 1952 Topps cards helped increase their value. The primal, cavemanlike corporate response to this realization over time evolved into: "Unga munga, we produce many many cards and stamp with numbers and stickers and bits of cloth and wood and leather and people buy with more money and we make more money!"
That is the continuum from the depths of the ocean: scarcity is good.
So, taken to its extreme, clearly someone should hire a Cousteau and triangulate wherever those card cases ended up off the Jersey Shore. Then, using a vessel