Some call it the ‘Golden Era’ of baseball. The post-War years brought us New York dominance, iconic superstars, new big league cities and Topps baseball cards. The 1950s continue to be a popular decade among collectors. The older baby boomers who collected during the era are now retired or close to it. The younger generation can’t resist the draw of those vintage Topps and Bowman cards either. We’ve rounded up some interesting numbers from the summer and they tell a familiar tale.
How popular are 1950s cards? Between all four sports, $6.98 million worth of 1950s cards were sold on eBay during a 90-day period from June 11 to September 8. Just under 38% of all lots listed did sell at an average price of just under $37.
Baseball dominates the numbers, led by the most sought after player from the decade. Those over age 50 have no recollection of Mickey Mantle, but his cards remain at the top of every vintage card collector’s want list. At least that’s the way it appears.
The top 14 lots from the decade that were sold on eBay during the period were all Mantle cards. Four 1952 Topps Mantles headed the list of biggest sales. They ranged from $11,700 for a PSA 4 to $18,500 for an SGC 60. Closely behind was a 1953 Topps Mantle graded SGC 88. The high grade beauty sold for nearly $10,000.
A run of Mantle cards from 1952 through 1969 (not including the ’52 Topps), mostly in lower grades, still attracted a lot of attention. It was the sixth highest priced lot on eBay during the period, earning the seller a top bid of $6,099.
The highest selling non-Mantle card from the 1950s to find a new home was a 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente rookie card in PSA 8 condition. It sold for $6,099. A 1951 Bowman Whitey Ford, also graded 8, brought $6,000.
Cards that are difficult to find at the highest grades often attract intense bidding from collectors of 1950s cards and this summer was no exception. The only PSA 9 1958 Topps Mike McCormick was offered and sold for $5,601. A 1952 Topps Jim Russell black back variation, graded PSA 8.5, sold for $5,500.
A 1955 Topps Jackie Robinson? $5,600 for a PSA 9 issued during the Brooklyn Dodgers championship season.