If you collect the 1962 Topps set, you know how difficult it can be to find cards that don’t show wear. While those faux wood grain borders may be unique, they’re a pain in the backside for anyone who is building a high-grade set. Proof of that reveals itself in a list of the most rare PSA 9 1960s Baseball Hall of Fame rookie cards.
Of the thousands graded without qualifiers, it’s the three cards from the 1962 Topps set that are most elusive.
Here’s the list of the fewest examples of graded, mint HOF rookie cards from the 1960s. The number in parentheses is the number of graded 9s in the PSA Population Report. Click the links to see them (in various condition) on eBay.
1962 Topps Joe Torre (10). There are only 10 PSA 9 Joe Torre rookies but only 598 have ever been submitted for grading, which would indicate either collectors already know their Torre rookie isn’t going to rate high or they just haven’t gotten around to sending them in. He’s a Hall of Famer but a relative newcomer to Cooperstown and that, too, may have something to do with it.
Many raw Torre rookie cards are sitting in sets, with owners just not bothering to submit them since it’s a relatively low value vintage rookie card.
1962 Topps Gaylord Perry (11). Over 1200 Perry cards have been submitted to PSA for grading and come back without qualifiers, but only .92% have met the 9 standard.
1962 Topps Lou Brock (19). Submitters of ’62s have had a little better luck with Lou as 19 of 1,754 non-qualified cards have earned 9s. There are two PSA 10 Brock cards in the Population Report.
1960 Topps Willie McCovey (26). McCovey’s rookie card is popular and hard to find at the highest grades. Printing quality wasn’t the best and centering is an issue.
. Huh? Rose isn’t in the Hall of Fame! No, he’s not. But collectors treat him like he is so we’re including him. In all, 2,930 Rose rookie cards have been submitted to PSA with only 27 9’s issued (and one 10).
1963 Topps Willie Stargell (28). Printing quality issues plague the 1963 Topps set and with only 28 Stargells graded 9, this one is pricey, but with a mint percentage of almost 2, it’s actually been easier to land a mint Stargell than a mint Rose rookie.
1966 Topps Don Sutton (28). A bit of a surprise since there are plenty of nice 1966 Topps cards in the market, but only 1,094 have been submitted over the years. This is a card to keep an eye on. With few in the marketplace, a newly graded 9 could do well at auction.
1969 Topps Reggie Jackson (33). Of all of the 1960s Hall of Fame rookie cards graded, this one has the lowest percentage of 9s compared to other grades (just .77%). With only 33 of 4,280 non-qualifiers reaching that plateau, they sell for big bucks on the rare occasion when they come up for auction.
1966 Topps Fergie Jenkins (33). About 2.5% of Fergie’s 1,315 cards to cross PSA’s examination room have come back as 9s, ranking it right about in the middle.
1967 Topps Rod Carew (36). It’s already a challenge as a high number, but with just over 2% of all PSA graded cards in 9 holders, this one can get expensive. Double print? Tell that to anyone looking for a high-grade example.
1969 Topps Bobby Cox (37). This card experienced a price jump when Cox was elected to the Hall of Fame. Only 358 have been graded, which means collectors haven’t caught on to that or have figured it’s not worth grading. Not true…and if you’re lucky enough to find a beauty, send it in. You never know. And someone out there definitely wants it.
1964 Topps Phil Niekro (39). With 949 total graded without qualifiers, the percentage of 9s is just over four, which means submitters have had some luck with this one. There was a 9 on eBay slated to close Thursday morning. Phil also appears on a ’65 Topps rookie card.
1960 Topps Carl Yastrzemski (41). Over 4,500 Yaz rookies have been examined by PSA with under 1% graded at the 9 level. That makes it the second toughest 1960s card from a submitter’s standpoint but obviously they are out there.
1965 Topps Joe Morgan (42). Of the four Hall of Fame rookies in the ’65 set, this one is hardest to find in mint condition at 2.38%.
1961 Topps Billy Williams (46). About 2.34% of all Williams cards submitted come back in a 9.
1964 Topps Tony LaRussa (46). Another Cooperstown newbie, LaRussa’s card was cheap for years. It’s still not that expensive and with only 668 submitted all-time and avoiding the dreaded qualifier, that means you’ve had about a 7.2% chance of scoring a 9. In this game, those are decent odds.
1966 Topps Jim Palmer (51). A readily available first series issue, this card of the Orioles’ youngster is one of the more unheralded rookie cards of the era (your editor bought a very nice signed one for just $45 a couple of years ago). About 2.23% of the 2,287 submitted have come back as 9s.
1965 Topps Tony Perez (55). Sort of a middle-of-the-road rookie card in all facets. A little over 3.3% of the 1,658 graded without a qualifier are 9s.
1969 Topps Earl Weaver (59). Want the best odds of landing a 9? Here’s your card. Just 506 have been examined but 11.66% get the 9 rating. The Earl of Baltimore was not a young man in 1969 but his managerial rookie card is a keeper.
1968 Topps Nolan Ryan (61). The fifth toughest 9 out of the 1960s Hall of Fame rookies, the value of the Ryan rookie card has been on the rise. Just under 1% of those submitted get the 9 rating, often because of centering issues. About 6200 have been sent in for grading, easily the most of any 1960s rookie card.
1961 Topps Ron Santo (65). Such a shame that he wasn’t elected before his death. There have been 1,561 Santo rookies submitted, meaning 4.16% are in 9 holders.
1965 Topps Catfish Hunter (66). With 1,603 submitted, it sort of blows the ‘single print’ theory away and with over 4.12% graded 9, it’s not a shock to see one in the market once in a while.
1961 Topps Juan Marichal (71). Older doesn’t always mean scarcer. The Marichal yield is pretty strong at 4.45% of 1,597 submitted (and there have been five PSA 10s, too).
1967 Topps Tom Seaver (71). Compared to Carew, the high number Seaver card is plentiful with nearly twice as many 9s in the market against only 215 more submitted overall. Prices may not always reflect it, but the Carew is your Hall of Fame holy grail in this set.
1969 Topps Rollie Fingers (104): Graders have been kind to the Rollie rookie, which doesn’t usually have any inherent problems other than the occasional battle with centering. About 5.4% of those sent in have gotten a 9. The best part? It’s old enough that Rollie still hadn’t grown the handlebar.
1965 Topps Steve Carlton (141). This is a bit of a head scratcher. A ton of these have been submitted (3,710), more than double many other Hall of Fame rookie card from the 60s and 3.8% have come back as 9s. There are even 7 PSA 10s out there somewhere.
And the most plentiful 1960s Baseball Hall of Fame rookie card is…1968 Topps Johnny Bench (165). Over 4,600 Bench cards have been sent to PSA with 3.57% landing in 9 holders. It’s nearly three times as easy to land a Bench 9 as it is a Ryan 9 thanks largely to better centering. A lot of those Ryan cards were handled, too, as he tossed late career no-hitters during the hobby’s boom period, before grading became a thing. A lot of 9s probably became 6s and 7s due to poor handling.