His mainstream cards are easy to track and the checklist isn’t a long one. The lingering, painful arm injury that ended his career also kept his cardboard to a minimum but he remains one of the most popular post-War Hall of Famers. You know his rookie cards can be pricey but how about the career run of Sandy Koufax cards? Which of the primary cards from his career are the least–and most–plentiful?
As we’ve done recently with Mickey Mantle and Jackie Robinson, we took some time to calculate the percentage of Koufax’s cards that grade an unqualified 8 (NM/MT), 9 (MINT) or 10 (GEM MINT) in a given year.
A few quick observations first:
- The population of high-grade 1955 Topps Koufax rookie cards is somewhat limited but high-end examples aren’t really “scarce”. Demand still beats supply, of course, but there are four other years where the number of high-grade Koufax cards is fewer than his rookie card.
- As we found with Mickey Mantle, there’s no shortage of 1956 Topps in the market. Combine the graded white and gray-backed Koufax cards and you get a number that will soon pass 5,000. Ten percent (404 as of this time) of the white backed versions are graded 8, 9 or 10. That’s a pretty sizeable number. Still, it’s his second-year card, a great-looking image and not surprising when top-grade examples bring a strong price.
- Collectors and dealers have submitted far more Mantle cards than Koufax. That’s not totally surprising but the disparity is 20-50% more in some cases. Considering the popularity of both players and the demand for graded cards, it’s still a little puzzling. Submitting a mid-grade Koufax is usually still a good idea.
- Koufax’s last mainstream base card, the 1966 Topps, appears much tougher to land in 8, 9 or 10 than his 1965 card (10.4% vs 22.2%) but the ’66 carries an average selling price of $35 less in PSA 8. Those few ’66s in 9 holders do sell over $1,100 more than their ’65 counterparts, though.
- The smallest population of PSA 8-10 Koufax cards is in 1962 (179) but 1959 isn’t far behind (186).
- The most plentiful high-grade Koufax cards? 1964, 1965 1961 and 1960 (in that order).
- There are far fewer graded 1963 Fleer Koufax cards (not surprisingly) but a much higher percentage of them have survived in high-grade.
Percentage of PSA 8, 8.5 9 or 10 Sandy Koufax cards by year
|1956 Topps (gray back)||5.7%|
|1956 Topps (white back)||10.1%|
You can see graded Sandy Koufax cards on eBay here.