A year after experimenting with a wood grain border design that often cropped up during various products, the 1963 Topps Baseball set was a return to the more standard look. While its ’62 set was plagued with photos that were often dull, ’63 Topps was colorful front to back.
Our Vintage Set of the Week doesn’t have a lot of quirks and for purists, it offers some attractive qualities.
There were actually two photos on the front of each card: the main image and a head shot contained within a little circle along the bottom. As mentioned above, the photo quality dramatically improved, too, and in nice condition, the cards still ‘pop’ today. There are few vintage Topps cards more attractive in mint condition that a 1963.
The set was again issued in several different series although it seems today that cards #284-370 are actually the hardest to locate, rather than the final series. Cards #447-522 are also considered a little tougher than average, although dealers sometimes treat them like high numbers with their pricing.
Stan Musial’s last card joined those of Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente and the other stars of the era but if it weren’t for a certain young Cincinnati infielder, the 1963 Topps set would be a lot more affordable. The Pete Rose rookie card remains one of the most valuable and sought after cards ever made by Topps. Willie Stargell’s rookie card is also in the set and a tough Harmon Killebrew SP won’t be cheap, either.
Team cards returned in ’63 and so did complete player stats on the back. There are six variations in the set, none of which are tremendously notable or difficult to find.
Collectors of high grade sets will be challenged by the 1963 issue because of the color background on the bottom which will reveal even the slightest touch of wear. Scuffing was often an issue with cards featuring a dark background, especially the second series.
Complete set prices vary upon condition, of course, with sets averaging EX condition selling for around $1500-2000 and higher grade raw sets typically bringing $4,000-5,000.
The Vintage Baseball Card Set of the Week will go inside a pre-1981 issue with facts and insight. The series is sponsored by Sean Bassik Cards, one of the country’s top buyers of vintage baseball and sports cards. If you’d like to sell your old cards, contact them via their website or by phone at (844) 227-4001.
For vintage set breaks featuring hundreds of cards for sale each week on eBay, click here.