They get very little attention, maybe because of their 8” x 9 ½” size, but collectors looking for a fun little challenge might consider the 1964 Rawlings Premium Photo set.
Actually issued over a three-year span, the full bleed color cards were placed into each box that contained a Rawlings store model glove. Today, the Premiums are relatively inexpensive considering their scarcity.
Of course, all of the players in the set were spokesmen who had endorsement deals with Rawlings including Mickey Mantle.
The Premium photos were inside the box but there were smaller images on the back of the packaging that can be cut out, too. While they can even be graded, if you run across an intact box, it’s more attractive to simply leave them as is but also important to note that graded examples of the hand cut box back cards have occasionally sold for hundreds of dollars.
Even though a complete 1964 set is considered complete at eight cards, there were 11 issued during the course of the promotion. Ken Boyer was first featured as a Cardinal but in ’66, Rawlings inserted a fresh photo showing Boyer with his new club, the Mets. The Orioles changed caps during the promotion so an updated picture of Robinson was issued and Mantle, who was pictured in uniform but without an undershirt visible in 1964, was pictured with a dark undershirt under his pinstripes during the final year.
Tommy Davis, Dick Groat, Warren Spahn, Tom Tresh and Billy Williams completed the 1964 Premium set with Bill White added by 1966 along with the updates for Mantle, Boyer and Robinson.
Each photo includes a facsimile signature and, of course, shows the player prominently displaying his Rawlings glove.
A complete eight-card 1964 Rawlings Premium set usually sells for $200-400, depending on condition with individual cards usually available for $20 and up, depending on the player and the condition. Having been printed on very thin cardboard, corner wear and creasing are common enemies.
Obviously, Mantle is the most expensive with the updated photo variation sometimes selling for a bit more. Robinson’s 1966 card and the Spahn are also more valuable than the rest. A master set, with the photo variations would obviously bring more.
1964 Rawlings Premiums do show up on eBay fairly regularly but usually not in quantity. Click here to see if any are available now.