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Amazin’s Revisited: 1969 Topps Mets

It might be time to grab some ’69 Topps Mets before the anniversary party starts.

1969 Topps Tom Seaver #480 The stadium they played in is now a pile of iron beams and remnants scattered in collectors’ houses. They sold off Shea Stadium last year, and all of its contents. It would have been nice to wait another year until the 1969 Mets could have come back one last time to the place where they made a little baseball history.

No, the 2009 Mets will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their first World Series team at the spanking new Citi Field. Doesn’t quite have the same ring, but the fanfare around the new ballpark might actually help the nostalgic flair that will accompany the 40th anniversary. It’s not hard to complete a nice 1969 Topps Mets team set but as popular as they always are, you can expect a bump in interest–and prices once mid-summer and early fall bring the inevitable reunions and nostalgic wave.

The1969 Topps set is quirky. Popular for its clean look, the final Mickey Mantle card and a host of Hall of Famers, the cards are maddeningly inconsistent with regard to centering. Stacks and stacks of mint ’69s have floated into auctions over the last couple of decades, but centered copies are rare. Gorgeous vending boxes have been known to yield grotesquely miscut cards.

If you’re buying only these 26 Mets cards though, the task of completing a set or buying for re-sale is less daunting. Those in the Midwest and West have a better chance of finding them in the albums and monster boxes at local shows since the ’69 Mets remain a huge hit in and around New York. Dealers can’t keep the high grade examples in stock.

Only two Hall of Famers grace the set–both pitchers. Tom Seaver (#480) was a cult hero in ’69, coming of age just a few years after graduating from college to pitch the team to the pennant and beyond. A near mint 1969 Topps Seaver can be found for well under $100, but a PSA 9 can 1969 Topps Nolan Ryan #550 sell for $500 or more.

The other expensive card in the set is Nolan Ryan (#533). Cards of The Express are always popular and even though he wasn’t yet a star in ’69, it’s his first full Topps card, following on the heels of the very popular 1968 Topps Ryan rookie. The ’69 is a beautiful card showing a very young Ryan and we can’t anticipate it dropping in price this season. A nice ungraded copy will likely set you back around $200-250. A 9? Close to $1000. Finding a nice near mint copy to grade or a PSA 7 at $175-200 might be a good investment.

Tug McGraw’s card (#601) is a single print. McGraw’s popularity and the card’s location in the last series keeps it from the common bin. The Ed Charles (#245) and Cleon Jones (#512) are tough to find in mint, centered condition with honorable mention to Kevin Collins (#127) and Art Shamsky (#221). The Jones card has been known to be especially tough and can sometimes run $100 or more–even in PSA 8. The Amos Otis/Gary Gentry rookie card isn’t hard to find, but you might pay a couple of dollars more.

Investing in the 1970 Topps World Series cards that capture the ’69 title might not be a bad move right now, either.


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The 1969 Topps Mets checklist:

#31 Gary Gentry/Amos Otis
#55 Jerry Grote
#72 Ron Taylor
#90 Jerry Koosman
#112 JC Martin
#127 Kevin Collins
#144 Bob Hendley
#193 Don Cardwell
#221 Art Shamsky
#245 Ed Charles
#269 Al Weis
#303 Cal Koonce
#321 Jim McAndrew
#343 Dan Frisella
#364 Tommie Agee
#381 Ed Kranepool
#402 Ken Boswell
#456 Bud Harrelson
#480 Tom Seaver
#512 Cleon Jones
#533 Nolan Ryan
#564 Gil Hodges (manager)
#585 Ron Swoboda
#601 Tug McGraw
#624 Duffy Dyer
#649 Al Jackson

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].

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