1973 Topps #471 Ty Cobb All-Time Hit Ldr 1976 Topps #344 Honus Wagner All Time AS
Bargain Cards For Your Collection
If you are just starting a vintage card collection, or want to get into collecting, then this page is for you. I am not going to tell you what to collect. That would be wrong. You should collect cards that
YOU want and can afford. That is the number one rule. The second rule is to HAVE FUN! This is a hobby, not a business!
Cards are as popular today as they were 100 years ago. Why? Baseball was once "America's Past Time." We played ball as kids and pretended to be our heroes. Back before television, the only
way you could see the player was to go to a game. You could catch a game on the radio but with baseball cards you could see what these legends actually looked like. We studied the cards,
played with them, put them up on our walls. Sort of like that famous line from the classic Humphrey Bogart film "The Maltese Falcon," these cards are "the stuff dreams are made of." As we got
involved with growing up the cards were put away (or thrown away by mom) but as we got older the cards have the magic to bring you back to those years you wish you could go back to. Little
pieces of cardboard are now true "treasures." The bummer is our society today is about the almighty dollar. The 60's generation sold out and became yuppie millionaires and CEOs. To get back
pieces of their youth, they were (and are) willing to shell out major bucks for high grade vintage cards (as well as real estate, Rogaine, and Viagra). Hence we saw a major explosion in the hobby
beginning in the 1980's where everyone was hoping to get rich collecting cards. Card manufacturers took notice and went into high gear to produce more cards. In fact they produced so many
that these cards are essentially "worthless" today except for die hard collectors. There are basically two types of collectors: vintage and modern. There are some who collect both, but the older guys
(like me) stick with vintage cards and the younger guys collect the newer cards. There is nothing wrong with either type. You collect cards of certain players or teams and that is fine. What it
shouldn't be about is trying to get some newer card that the card company printed is such low quantities (like 1 of 1) to generate sales make money. Card collecting is not about making money. It is
about having fun and enjoying your cards whether they be a 1967 Topps #45 Roger Maris or a 2010 Topps Derek Jeter.
So I am not here to tell you what to collect. What I am going to do is give you ideas for getting some great vintage cards for a great price. Can't afford a Babe Ruth card from his playing days? No
problem. Want to get a vintage Mickey Mantle card for a great price? Want to get some cards of the All-Time Greats without going bankrupt? Then this page is for you. So here are some of my
picks for great vintage cards at very cool prices. Enjoy!
1974 Topps #1 Hank Aaron (New All-Time Home Run King)
Ok, let's start with the All-Time Home Run King, Henry "Hank" Aaron. Hank Aaron first appeared on a regular bubble gum card in the 1954 Topps set. That rookie card is quite expensive,
expect to pay a few hundred bones for a mid-grade example. Another great Aaron card is 1957 Topps #20 which is an uncorrected error (UER) card. Topps printed the card with the negative
reversed, hence Hank is shown batting lefty and his uniform number is backwards. That card sells for about $250 in graded NM condition. Hank's last card was number 600 in the 1976 Topps
set. He is shown as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. That card is affordable as are most of his 1970's cards from about 1973 to 1976. But the one I would pick if I could pick one Hank
Aaron card for my collection would be this 1974 Topps #1 Hank Aaron "New All-Time Home Run King" card (above). Topps actually printed these cards before Aaron actually broke Babe
Ruth's 714, he had finished the 1973 season with 713 home runs. But Aaron went ahead and broke the record early in 1974 and Topps printed this special card and gave it the honored number
1 position. Topps also produced a Hank Aaron "Special" subset in 1974 which reproduced all of Hank's regular Topps cards from 1954 to 1973. While you could make a case for Aaron's last
card, I pick this one. For starters, Hank doesn't look good on his '76 card. He looks old and tired. In fact he looks better today in 2010 than he did on that 1976 Topps card. But if you played for
over 20 years and had to endure racism for most of it, you would not look to good either. But this 1974 Topps Hank Aaron card is another story. It shows a smiling Hank Aaron looking like he just
belted HR #715. Even better it is affordable. While most price guides list this card in ungraded NM card for about $50, you can pick up a graded NM example by a reputable grading service
(currently BGS, PSA, or SGC) for about $35 on eBay. That is a bargain in my book.
Now you may say, hey, Aaron is no longer the All-Time Home Run King, Barry Bonds is. Ok, Bonds did finish his career with more HRs than Aaron. But Bonds will forever be linked with the steroid
era and fair or not, a lot of fans (including yours truly) still consider Aaron the legit HR King. No one told Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Clemens, etc. to take steroids. That was their choice and now they
have to live with it. Look at McGwire, he has the stats for the Hall of Fame but he has yet to get in. Same thing will probably happen with Bonds and Sosa. Is it fair? Was it fair for guys like Aaron
and Maris who played fair with no added hormones to have their records broken by these guys? The bottom line is this. This 1974 Topps #1 Hank Aaron baseball card graded NM is worth more
today than Barry Bonds best rookie card (1987 Fleer) in a PSA 10 GEM MINT holder. At one time the Bonds card in a PSA 10 would have easily sold for over $500. But now you can't hardly
give them away. I had one for sale on eBay for $40 and couldn't sell it. A PSA 10 1987 Fleer Barry Bonds rookie card. So go figure. Your best bet it to take that $35 or $40 and buy yourself this
card of "Hammerin' Hank." He was (is) the All-Time HR King and you can never take that away from him.
1970 Topps #630 Ernie Banks
Ernie Banks had the misfortune of playing his entire career with the Chicago Cubs but don't think that he was miserable. Look at this 1970 Topps #630 Ernie Banks card. Look at that
smile. And he was at the end of his career here folks! His last card as a player was in the 1971 Topps set. Banks rookie card is also in the 1954 Topps set, along with Hank Aaron and Al
Kaline. It is also the 2nd most expensive card in the set, behind Aaron. For about $30 you can buy a graded NM 1970 Topps Ernie Banks. This is my favorite Ernie Banks card. The above
example, graded by Beckett as "Very Good 3" is currently on eBay (July 2010) for ten bucks. One of the all-time greats and a member of the 500 Home Run Club, Ernie Banks.
1968 Topps #247 Reds Rookie Stars (Johnny Bench rookie card)
Johnny Bench is regarded by many as the All-Time Greatest Catcher. This 1968 Topps #247 Red Rookie Stars (Johnny Bench, Ron Tomkins) is considered Johnny Bench's rookie
card. Compared to Nolan Ryan's 1968 Topps rookie card (#177 Mets Rookie Stars with Jerry Koosman), the Bench rookie card is a BARGAIN! Ryan's rookie in graded NM can be had for
around $400-$450. The Bench rookie in the same grade can be picked up for $125! In mid-grade condition you can pick up a graded EX Bench rookie for less than $70. While you can pick up
any Topps Johnny Bench cards pretty cheap from 1972-1983, I will have to pick his rookie card as it is a bargain even today. My second pick would be his 3rd regular card, 1970 Topps #660,
but being that it was included in the scarce high number series it is pricey (about $75 in graded NM). Another bargain Bench card is his 1972 Topps #433, which was the year he won his 2nd
MVP Award. That card is around $25 in graded NM. You can't go wrong with any Johnny Bench card! By the way, before Mike Piazza and Carlton Fisk broke his record, Johnny Bench was the
All-Time HR leader among catchers. Whose record did Bench beat? See card below...
1972 Topps #420 Steve Carlton 1972 Topps "Traded" #751 Steve Carlton
One of the All-Time Greatest pitchers was "Lefty" Steve Carlton. Carlton was for a brief time, the All-Time Strikeout Leader but he is still way up there in career K's, Wins, and ERA. He also has a nice collection of Cy Young
Awards. Steve Carlton's cards are also very undervalued. Considering he won over 300 games and was his era's "Sandy Koufax (he also wore #32, same as Koufax)," Steve Carlton cards are super cheap. His 1965 Topps
rookie card is about $150 in NM condition. His 2nd year card was in the 1967 Topps set and that is about $25 in NM condition. But if I were to have one Steve Carlton card in my collection it would be this 1972 Topps
#751 Steve Carlton "Traded" card (above right). Carlton started his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and went 20-9 for them in 1971. So how did the Cards reward Carlton? They traded him to the Phillies on February
25, 1972 for Rick Wise. Wise was not a bad pitcher, he won 188 big league games in his career, but he was no Steve Carlton either. Carlton went 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA, 30 Complete Games, 8 Shutouts, and 310
Strikeouts. All of those numbers in bold led the league and garnered Carlton the first of 4 Cy Young Awards as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Don't you think the Cardinals could have at least traded Carlton to the
American League? So in 1972 there are 2 different Topps cards of Steve Carlton. Card number 420 pictures him as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals (see above left). But in the high number series, Topps included several
cards which had a printed "TRADED" stamp on the fronts and depicting a few players with their new teams. One of those cards, number 751 is Steve Carlton. Being that the card is a high number and pictures him with the
team he is more closely associated with, I would pick the traded Steve Carlton card even though it is a bit more expensive than the #420 card. The above 1972 Topps #420 Steve Carlton graded SCDA 7.5 NM+ had a $15
Buy It Now price tag on eBay (July 2010), while the 1972 Topps #751 Steve Carlton ("Traded") graded SGC 84 NM had a $35 price tag. I'll take the Traded card for my collection, but again any Steve Carlton card is a
1951 Berk Ross Panel #2-5 Joe DiMaggio & #2-7 Granville Hamner
There is no real getting around this one. If you want a vintage Joe DiMaggio from his playing days you are going to have to spend some dough. For starters, Joe DiMaggio was not only a baseball hero, he was
an American Icon. Next he played for the New York Yankees and was the franchise player after Lou Gehrig's untimely death in 1941. There were only a few major sports stars who were big time celebrities and Joe D
was right there up with Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Charles Lindbergh. Then you can mention the 56 game hitting streak, which still stands today. Joe DiMaggio was a winner an idol to millions. He even married
Marilyn Monroe! What a guy. Back to the cards, there are not many Joe DiMaggio cards. His earliest cards were with Goudey Gum and World Wide Gum (Canadian Goudey issue) in the mid-1930's but those are
super expensive. World War ll put a damper on baseball card production but DiMaggio did appear in the Play Ball America sets in 1939-1941 and the 1941 Double Play issue. But it wasn't until 1948 that there
was another "mainstream" Joe D card, and that was included in the popular 1948-49 Leaf set. That card, number 1 in the set sells for about $1000 in graded EX condition. Both Bowman and Topps failed to sign
DiMaggio to a card contract so he never appeared on a Bowman or Topps bubble gum card. However a company called Berk Ross in New York issued a regional set of cards in both 1951 and 1952 and both
featured Joltin' Joe. The 1951 Berk Ross cards were issued in 2-card panels that were perforated for separation, which is how you find most of these cards today. Being that Joe retired after the 1951 World Series,
the 1951 Berk Ross #2-7 Joe DiMaggio is technically his last card as an active player. He was included in the 1952 Berk Ross set, but the picture used was the same as the previous year. Ok, this card is
currently on sale on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $369.99. To me, that is a bargain for a vintage Joe DiMaggio card. Sure it's somewhat expensive but the card is still in panel form and graded by SGC 84 NM,
which is high grade for this issue. If it were in a PSA 7 NM holder it would probably fetch more. If I had the extra dough I would buy it myself. Very undervalued Joe DiMaggio card, and considering there were no
other cards of Joe DiMaggio issued in 1951, Berk Ross is your only option. Another reason I choose this one over the 1952 Berk Ross Joe DiMaggio? The 1951 is cheaper for some reason. The 1952 Berk Ross
cards were issued as single cards only but as mentioned before the pictures used for the DiMaggio cards are identical. The card sizes are different, about the same size as the Bowman cards of the same years and of
course the backs will have different stats. So I pick this 1951 Berk Ross Joe DiMaggio card if I wanted an affordable example from the great DiMaggio's playing days.
1975 Topps Mini #228 George Brett (Rookie card)
Hall of Fame cards from the 1970's, even rookie cards, are extremely affordable. The most expensive regular Topps rookie card from the 1970's, 1973 Topps #614 NL Rookie 3B (Mike
Schmidt Rookie card) is about $125 in graded NM condition. That is cheap considering Brooks Robinson's 1957 Topps card lists for about $350 in the same condition and Schmidt could be
considered the greatest third sacker EVER. Next on the list of key rookie cards from the 1970's is another third baseman, George Brett. Brett is one of the very few Hall of Famers to win Batting
Titles in 3 different decades (.333 in '76, .390 in 1980, and .329 in 1990. While he did not have over 500 HRs like Schmidt, or 16 Gold Gloves like Brooks, Brett had over 3,000 hits and a
lifetime .305 batting mark. Schmidt and Brooks did not. Still considered the best player in Royals' history, Brett has 3 major rookie cards in '75: 1975 Topps #228, 1975 Topps MINI #228
(exactly the same as the regular Topps card but a smaller sized card) and 1975 O-Pee-Chee #228. O-Pee-Chee cards are basically Topps cards printed in Canada and feature different card stock
and printing in both English and French on the reverse. Brett rookie cards at one time sold easily for over $100 but you can pick up a graded NM copy of his regular Topps card for about $50. I
prefer the 1975 Topps Mini #228 George Brett. Why? It not only is smaller in size, but also Topps issued these as a "Test issue" in limited quantities compared to the regular 1975 Topps cards.
The brightly colored borders are extremely condition sensitive so expect to pay higher prices for higher grades than NM (especially MINT graded examples). But the above 1975 Topps Mini
George Brett rookie card (graded SGC 80 EX/NM) recently sold on eBay for $35. That is cheap for one of the best hitters of his era. An even more affordable George Brett "rookie card' is 1975
(but actually not issued until 1976) SSPC #167. This are very easy to find and easy to find in high grade and as such, are super cheap. A 1975 SSPC #167 George Brett graded PSA 9 MINT
recently sold for $6.50 on eBay (July 2010). For the extra dough, I'd rather have the 1975 Topps Mini Brett rookie. It's much more desirable than the SSPC card, plus it is more difficult to find in
higher grades. So for my money, I'd go with the Topps Mini Brett.
Lou Gehrig (and some guy named "Babe")
1961 Topps #405 Gehrig Benched (Lou Gehrig) 1962 Topps #140 Gehrig and Ruth (Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth)
Lou Gehrig cards are few and far between during his playing career. His most popular are the 1933 and 1934 Goudey Gum cards, but those are expensive even in low grades. Same for World Wide Gum
(Canadian Goudey). Gehrig also appeared on Exhibit cards, Wheaties cereal boxes, 1948 Topps Magic and more. But for a popular vintage regular Lou Gehrig bubble gum card after his playing days, you can
easily pick up a 1961 Topps #405 "Gehrig Benched After 2130 Games" (above left) in nice shape for about $25. This is a great card as it pictures a unique colorized photo of Gehrig and mentions his
2130 Consecutive Games Streak, a number that is as well known as Aaron's 755 Home Runs, Ruth's 714, DiMaggio's 56 Game Hitting Streak, Maris' 61 Home Runs in 1961. Cal Ripken of course surpassed
Gehrig's streak but I still remember 2130 and I don't know Ripken's streak total. Anyway great Gehrig card and my pick if you wanted a vintage Lou Gehrig baseball card. Another terrific card is 1962 Topps
#140 "Gehrig and Ruth," part of a special "Babe Ruth Special" subset included in the 1962 Topps set (above right). This is a great and affordable card if you want a Gehrig and Ruth card, also in about $25 in
nice shape. Even cheaper is the Lou Gehrig All Time Grand Slam Leader card included in the 1973 Topps set and the 1976 Topps Sporting News All-Time First Baseman Lou Gehrig baseball card which is less than
ten bucks in NM in condition.
|1967 Topps #30 Al Kaline 1968 Topps #100 Bob Gibson
Al Kaline is probably the most beloved Detroit Tiger player and appeared on Topps cards from 1954 to 1974 as a player. He also appeared in a special Highlight card in the 1975 Topps set, commemorating his 3,000 hit.
Kaline could hit for power as well, belting 399 career Home Runs. He was a terrific Gold Glove right fielder and a yearly All-Star selection. As with most 1970's Topps Hall of Fame cards, Kaline's cards are pretty cheap. His
1972-1974 regular Topps cards are less than $15 in NM condition. The 1970 Topps #640 Al Kaline is a high number so it is about $40 in graded NM and the condition-sensitive 1971 Topps #150 is about $25-$30 in graded
NM condition. But I am going to pick this 1967 Topps #30 Al Kaline (above left). Most of Kaline's 1960's cards range from $35 to $45 in graded NM condition but this 1967 Topps card was double printed. As a result,
you can pick up a nice NM graded example for about $20. I just saw a PSA 5 EX graded example with a Buy It Now price of $9.99 on eBay with free shipping. Also what's cool about this card is that it is one of the very few
Kaline cards to picture him with his glove (his final regular card, 1974 Topps #215 shows Al with a first baseman's glove). So for ten to twenty bucks you can get a cool 1960's Topps Al Kaline card. I say go for it!
This 1968 Topps #100 Bob Gibson card is from one of the great pitching seasons of all time. Gibson won 22 games (against only 9 losses) with a microscopic 1.12 ERA. He started 34 games and completed 28 of them!
Gibson also threw 4 Shut Outs and struck out 268 batters. The Cardinals went to the World Series in 1968 but lost to the Tigers in 7 games (Gibson started 3 games and won 2; his ERA was 1.67 for the Series!). 1968 was the
"Year of the Pitcher" and Bob Gibson won the National League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Players Award. And deservedly so. This 1968 Topps Bob Gibson card is from that historic season and is a classic. It is also
affordable; about $25 in graded NM condition.
1966 Topps #100 Sandy Koufax 1965 Topps #8 '64 NL ERA Ldrs (Koufax, Drysdale)
Sandy Koufax was the best pitcher in baseball when he retired in 1966 after the World Series. He won 27 games that year! An arthritic elbow forced him out of the game. Regardless Koufax
is in the Hall of Fame and regarded by many as the best left handed pitcher ever. A 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie card is pretty steep but his last card, this 1966 Topps #100 baseball
card (above left) is very affordable. It is graded by the seller as "VG-EX" and has a $30 "Buy It Now." Which is pretty affordable for a vintage Koufax card from his playing days. You can get a
graded EX example for about $45-$55. This card is another Topps double print. So if you want to add a Sandy Koufax card to your collection this might be your best bet. Another great Koufax
card that is cheap is this 1965 Topps #8 1964 NL ERA Leaders (Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale). These two pitchers were the main reason for the Dodgers success in the 1960's and
are perhaps the greatest 1-2 starters in baseball history. You can pick up one of these for about $10-$15.
1955 Topps #198 Yogi Berra
To me, this 1955 Topps #198 Yogi Berra is his best looking card. I also like his last card, as a player/Coach for the New York Mets (1965 Topps # ; about $25 in graded EX condition). But if
you want a terrific card of Yogi in his prime, you can't go wrong with this one. This card was included in the high numbered series so it is somewhat expensive in EX and above. However in lower
grades you can still get a deal. This is a nice looking PSA 3 VG example and the seller is asking $55 for it. I picked up a nice PSA 2 GOOD example for about $25. So this would be my pick if you
wanted a vintage Yogi Berra card. Berra also appeared on Topps card as a manager of the New York Mets in 1973 and 1974 and both these cards are about five bucks in NM condition. Later in the
1980's he appeared on Topps cards as manager of the New York Yankees and these are even less.
1959 Topps #550 "Symbol Of Courage" Roy Campanella
Roy Campanella first appeared on a regular bubble gum card in the 1949 Bowman set and it's expensive. Topps didn't make their first mainstream set until 1952 and included Campy in the high
numbered series that year (which also translates to big bucks). Campanella was the Brooklyn Dodgers MVP catcher; like his American League counterpart Yogi Berra, both catchers won multiple MVP
Awards in their respective leagues. It's no accident that both Berra and Campanella's teams were involved just about every World Series from the late 1940's to mid 1950's. The Dodgers moved
from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958 but prior to their move Campanella suffered a career ending automobile accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. So Campanella's last card as a
player is 1957 Topps #. It pictures Campy in the friendly confines of Ebbett's Field and is a great card in itself. Even better it is affordable, about $45-$55 in EX condition. However Topps chose to
honor Campy with a special card in 1959 and included it in the tough high number series. 1959 Topps #550 "Symbol Of Courage" Roy Campanella (above) shows a picture of a smiling
Campanella in a wheelchair with his catcher's mitt. A smaller picture shows Campy in a catcher's pose. This is a special card because it is exactly that, a "Symbol Of Courage." He could have quit
but he chose to live. He later became a Coach for the Dodgers in Los Angeles, and helped such catchers as John Roseboro, Jeff Torborg, Joe Ferguson, Steve Yeager, Mike Scioscia and Mike Piazza.
So if I were looking for a Campanella card, I would start with this one. The above SGC 60 EX Roy Campanella card lists for about $45. Because it's Roy Campanella and also included in the High
Series, this card will always be a desirable card.
1972 Topps #695 Rod Carew
With the exception of his rookie card (1967 Topps #) and his 2nd year card (1968 Topps #), this 1972 Topps #695 Rod Carew is his third most expensive card. The reason is that it is a high
number, which were produced in lesser numbers than the earlier series. Even so, this card of a 7 time Batting Champion is very affordable. The above example, graded SGC 60 EX sold for $15 ( I
know because I bought it!). Because it is one of Carew's scarcer cards, and still affordable, this is my pick for a bargain Rod Carew card. I also like the 1968 Topps #95 Rod Carew as it has a
terrific picture and the small Topps "All Star Rookie" trophy on the card front. But it is not as scarce as this '72 Topps Rod Carew. Also in 1972, Topps produced "In Action" cards of some of the top
players; Rod Carew also has a "In Action" card, number 696. It is even less than regular Carew card but pictures him in the field at first base. Carew was a good fielder, but he was certainly known
more for his exceptional hitting (.328 lifetime, including a .388 mark in 1977). So I am going to stick with this card.
1973 Topps #50 Roberto Clemente
Like the player, Roberto Clemente baseball cards are extremely popular as well. While his 1955 Topps rookie card is unattainable for some, his last card, 1973 Topps #50 Roberto Clemente is
a super bargain. The above example sold for just ten bucks! My personal favorite is the 1971 Topps #630 but that card is about $125 in graded NM condition. You can get a nice mid-grade
example (EX) for about $50. But I think this '73 Clemente is too good of a bargain to pass up.
|1962 Topps #316 Killebrew Sends One Into Orbit (Harmon Killebrew)
Considering Harmon Killebrew (aka. "Killer") slugged nearly 600 career Home Runs, you would think his cards are pretty expensive. They're not. You can pick up a 1955 Topps #124 Harmon
Killebrew rookie card in EX condition for about $75. And they are not hard to find. Another card that is expensive is 1963 Topps #550 Harmon Killebrew (about $50 in EX), but that is because it is
a high number and short print. Most other Topps Harmon Killebrew cards are in the $10-$40 range and that is pretty cheap. So you can't go wrong with any Harmon Killebrew card. My pick would
be this 1962 Topps #316 Killebrew Sends One Into Orbit. It shows the "Killer" doing what he did best, and that is belting a baseball into orbit. You can buy one of these in nice shape for
about $5 and the back also includes career statistics (up thru the 1961 season). If Killebrew had played in a big market team (like Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Mets, etc.) his cards would be in the
upper stratosphere. But Killebrew played most of his career in Washington (Senators) and Minnesota. Great card of an under-appreciated slugger.
1958 Topps #487 Mickey Mantle All Star
Vintage Mickey Mantle baseball cards are probably the most popular of all post-war (WWll) cards. Why? Where to start; first the name. MICKEY MANTLE. Named after Hall of Fame
Catcher Mickey Cochrane by Mantle's father "Mutt" Mantle. Next the term "tape measure home run" started with Mickey Mantle. Add a Triple Crown and 3 AL Most Valuable Player Awards.
Playing in pain throughout most of his career. The Yankees. Championships and Pennants. Then the heroic Mantle who, near the end of his life told the world not to "waste your life like I did,"
referring to his drinking which led to his premature death in 1995. These are the reasons Mantle is beloved by millions of fans even today. And while many Mickey Mantle baseball cards are
expensive (including the most coveted post war baseball card, 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle, which has sold for the same price as a nice home) the BEST bargain for a vintage 1950's
Topps card is this 1958 Topps #487 Mickey Mantle Sport Magazine All Star card. First, let's check out how nice looking this card is. Mickey's swing with a bright red background.
Mantle had won the 1957 AL MVP so the back of this card has his statistics against all the American League teams. Mickey Mantle was in the prime of his career here. The best part is the price.
You can pick up one of these Mantle All Star cards in graded EX condition for about $70. And that is cheap for a 1950's Topps Mickey Mantle card. If that is too much for your budget, you can
get one in nice VG or VG-EX for $40-$55. The reason this card is so inexpensive is that it was triple printed, but really, who cares? A Mickey Mantle baseball card from his playing days for less
1962 Topps #1 Roger Maris
1962 Topps #1 Roger Maris (back view)
One of the few non-Hall of Fame players whose cards are priced like a Hall of Famer. And Roger Maris should be in the Hall of Fame.
His record of 61 HRs in 1961 has been shattered several times over by tainted sluggers; but it doesn't matter. Roger Maris is no longer
with us, but his cards are here to remind us of that magical 1961 season and the great player that he was. Roger Maris' rookie card is
1958 Topps #47 and that card sells for about $150-$200 in graded EX condition. But it pales in comparison to this 1962 Topps #1 Roger
Maris card. For starters it is a special card because Topps gave Maris the honored #1 position. The picture is un improvable with a studly
Maris in slugging mode. The back has his complete 1961 statistics including the number 61 with which Maris will always be linked. This
card is expensive in high grades (graded NM-MT examples sell for a couple thousand dollars), a graded NM example will run you about
$250. But you can get one in graded EX for about $65-$75 (try and find a nicely centered example). You can get cheaper Maris cards, but
for the money this is the one to get. An even better bargain (but not Topps) is the 1962 Post Cereal #6 Roger Maris baseball cards that
were issued on the backs of Post Cereal. These are super cheap, selling for about $25-$35 in ungraded NM condition. For more on
Maris, check out our Roger Maris Page!
This page is currently being constructed so check back soon for more Bargain Cards! Questions? Comments? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for visiting! Tim
|1972 Topps #49 Willie Mays 1972 O-Pee-Chee #86 Willie Mays In Action
Considered to be one of the greatest all around players of all time, Willie Mays cards are undervalued. Same with Hank Aaron. Both Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays started their careers in
1951 and both had outstanding major league careers. Mantle had some serious injuries throughout his career and Mays was able to play a few seasons more than Mantle. But if you compare
their statistics you will see that Mays held his own against Mantle and, in some ways surpassed Mantle. For sure Mays was the better fielder and base stealer. Both won Batting Titles, HR Crowns,
multiple MVP Awards and more. I love Mantle as much as the next guy, but if I were starting a team I would start with Willie Mays. But there is a big difference in prices between Mantle and Mays
baseball cards, with Mantle definitely the big guy. Why, I don't know. Mantle's 1951 Bowman rookie card is a few thousand dollars; Mays rookie, also in the '51 Bowman set is a couple
thousands less (Mantle's rookie card is in the high series so that has a little to do with the price difference). Mantle's last regular Topps card (1969 Topps #500) lists for about $250 in NM
condition while Mays' last card (1973 Topps #305) lists for about $35 in NM condition. If Mantle's last card was in the 1973 Topps set you could expect that it would be 2 to 3 times more
expensive than Mays card. Maybe even more.
So what does this all mean? It translates to a bargain for Willie Mays cards. The above 1972 Topps #49 Willie Mays is his last card as a member of the Giants. He was traded to the Mets
and appeared as a Met on his last regular Topps card. So this is a great card of Willie and the above example graded by SGC (above left) recently sold for just $15 on eBay. FIFTEEN DOLLARS
for a nice graded Willie Mays card during his playing days. Now I am not going to say this card regularly sells for $15. It doesn't. But you can get one for about $25 and that is still a bargain.
Even cheaper is the 1972 Topps #50 Willie Mays In Action (see above right; however note the card is actually an O-Pee-Chee issue, Topps counterpart in Canada. While sharing the same
front as the Topps card the back has text in both English and French and has different card stock. The O-Pee-Chee cards are much scarcer than the Topps cards). You can pick up a nice one for
about $15 or less depending on condition. The O-Pee-Chee version will probably be a bit more. So these two 1972 Topps Willie Mays cards would be my pick if you wanted an affordable Willie
Mays card during his playing days.
1973 Topps #90 Brooks Robinson 1967 Topps #100 Frank Robinson (Back view)
Topps issued cards of Brooks Robinson from 1957 through 1977. That is 20 years of Brooks Robinson cards not including special cards (All-Star, Checklist, League Leader, Playoffs or World
Series cards, etc.). Brooks was a terrific clutch hitter but he was known more for his Gold Glove at third base. Hence the "Human Vacuum Cleaner" moniker. With the exception of his 1957 Topps
rookie card, 1967 Topps high number, and 1971 Topps (condition sensitive) card, Brooks Robinson cards are very affordable. My pick would be this 1973 Topps #90 Brooks Robinson
(above left). Why? It is one of the very few Brooks cards to picture him with his glove (his regular 1976 Topps card pictures him with a glove as well as a 1971 Topps '70 World Series #331
"Brooks Commits Robbery" card). And it is very cheap; you can pick up nice NM graded example for about ten bucks.
Another undervalued player is Frank Robinson. Considering he won the Rookie of the Year Award (he set a rookie record for HRs, 38), MVP Awards in both league (including the Triple
Crown in 1966), slugged close to 600 career HRs, and was the first black manager in baseball, you would think Frank Robinson would deserve a little more respect. The above 1967 Topps
#100 Frank Robinson was double printed. Hence it is cheap; you can pick up a graded NM example for about $15-$20. The back includes his Triple Crown statistics from the 1966 season.
The 1967 Topps cards are also considered to be one of Topps' best efforts in the 1960's. Great card, great player!
1973 Topps #130 Pete Rose
At one time, Pete Rose cards were on top of the world. Still the All-Time Hits Leader, Rose was admired for his style of play. He didn't have the most talent, but he made the most of what he had and
he gave 100% every game. Even taking a base on balls he would hustle to first base. Not walk or take his sweet time. And once at first watch him try to get an extra base (or bases). Rose played hard
and he played the game the way it was supposed to be played. So fans loved the guy. Now whatever happened with the gambling allegations and then the investigation and the next thing you now
Pete Rose was vilified. He still is not in the Hall of Fame. Let's get one thing straight. There are very few Saints in the Hall of Fame. Any Hall of Fame. You don't think Babe Ruth gambled? Leo Durocher
was banned from baseball for year for associating with gamblers and other assorted thugs and he is in the Hall of Fame. You don't think Michael Jordan gambled on games? Charles Barkley?
Common. Gambling is a big part of the sport and as long as you are not fixing games, what the hell. There is no proof that Pete Rose made managerial decisions to change the outcome of a baseball
game. Sure he gambled, he lied and made some bone headed mistakes. The only perfect man I know of is Jesus Christ. Hey, eventually guys like Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens are all
going to be in the Hall of Fame. Maybe before Pete Rose even. And what they are linked with is steroids, which is far worse than gambling on sporting events including baseball. Pete Rose is a Saint
compared to those guys. We put sports ahead of most everything. We want to think these guys are immortals. But they are human just like we are and we all screw up. So Pete Rose should be in the
Hall of Fame for what he did on the field. Off the field, that is his business. This 1973 Topps #130 Pete Rose baseball card is very affordable. At one time this card would sell easily for $30 in
ungraded NM condition. Rose won the 1973 NL Most Valuable Player Award so you are getting a Pete Rose card of him in the prime of his career. How much for this card today? You can pick up
a graded NM example for $20. Maybe even less. BARGAIN! Rose is not in the Hall of Fame but he might as well be. He is still the All-Time Hit King and no one can take that away from him.
1973 Topps #1 All-Time HR Leaders (Ruth, Aaron, Mays) 1976 Topps #345 Babe Ruth All-Time All-Stars
There is no getting around this. Babe Ruth baseball cards from his playing days are expensive in any grade. His most popular cards, the 1933 Goudey cards (there are 4 of them). His last
regular card as an active player would be the 1935 Goudey 4-In-1 cards (depicts 4 players on 1 card). After Ruth passed away in 1948, Leaf produced a special card of them in their inaugural
baseball set. Topps issued several Babe Ruth cards over it's long history including a Special Babe Ruth subset of (10) cards in the 1962 Topps set. These cards highlight Ruth's career and are
about $15-$25 each. My personal favorite is this 1973 Topps #1 All-Time Home Run Leaders (Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays) It features 3 of the greatest players of all
time on 1 card. It is a number 1 card so it is condition sensitive but it is affordable. The above example, graded SGC 70 EX+ has an asking price of about $20. What I like about it is there is no
doubt as to the top 3 HR sluggers of All Time. No steroids or other assorted PED's (Performance Enhancing Drugs) to speculate about. These guys are legit. And you have them all on one card. My
next pick would be 1976 Topps #345 Babe Ruth Sporting News All_Time All-Stars card which features a classic image of Ruth. You can pick up one of these for just a few bucks.
1980 Topps #580 Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan cards have come down quite a bit the last 20 years or so. Part of that is that most people who were looking for Ryan cards have already got them and/or other collectors concentrate
on the newest fireballing sensation. Regardless, there are certain undeniable facts regarding Nolan Ryan. No one will EVER break Ryan's All Time Strikeout total of 5714 batters. Think about that.
You would have to pitch 27 years and average 246 K's per year to get 5714 lifetime Strike Outs. Which is what Ryan did. Even if you averaged 300 K's per season, it would take a bit over 19
years to reach 5714. And that just isn't going to happen. Ryan is still the All Time Low Hit pitcher, averaging 6.6 hits per 9 innings. I won't even talk about the 324 Wins and 7 No Hitters (also an
unlikely record to be broken). Ryan should have won a Cy Young Award with the Angels but lost to pitchers with better teams, like Jim "Catfish" Hunter of the Oakland A's. But as an Angel, Ryan
really put his mark on the game. He threw 4 No Hitters. He topped Sandy Koufax's All Time Single Season Strikeout Record (382) with 383. Three times Ryan finished in the top 3 for the Cy Young
Award (finishing 2nd in 1973). So when people say he was a .500 pitcher and never won a Cy Young Award that is totally uncalled for considering the teams he played for throughout most of his
career (Mets, Angels, Astros, Rangers). In fact the Angels GM Buzzie Bavasi said something similar when it came time to renew Ryan's 1980 contract. He said that the Angels could get two .500
pitchers to substitute for Ryan (or something thereabout) and let Ryan sign as a Free Agent with Houston for a cool $1 Million a year (Ryan was the first million dollar a year player). Considering that
Ryan was to win 157 more games and throw 3 more No-Hitters in route to becoming the All Time Strikeout Leader, I would say Buzzie Bavasi was wrong in his assessment of Ryan. And years later
Bavasi stated that he did make a big mistake with Ryan. Regardless, Ryan is now Hall Of Famer Nolan Ryan. Ryan's rookie card is still expensive at around $475 in NM condition, though at one
time it was more like $750 or more. His 2nd year card is about $150, as is his high numbered 1970 Topps card (#712). 1971 Topps #513 is condition sensitive (and my personal favorite) but it
sells for about $125 in graded NM condition. From 1972 to 1975, Nolan Ryan's regular Topps cards sell for about $75 to $35 in NM condition. After that, Ryan's cards are even cheaper, about
$20 and less. So my pick for best affordable (vintage) Ryan card is this 1980 Topps #580 Nolan Ryan. It is the last Topps card to picture him as an Angel and it's a great shot of Ryan about
ready to deliver a 100 mph fastball. Price? About $10 in ungraded NM/MT condition. You can also pick up a graded MINT example for around $25.
1958 Topps #476 Stan Musial Sport Magazine All-Star
What's so special about this card? Well for starters it is Stan Musial. Second, it is the first TOPPS baseball card of Stan Musial, who had been playing since 1941. Third it is an All-Star card and
Musial was an All Star throughout his entire career (20 All Star Games, and he also holds the record for most All Star Game Home Runs with 6). If you want to check out some ungodly statistics
check out the batting record of Stanley Frank Musial (courtesy of Baseballreference.com). Musial appeared on mainstream sets beginning with the 1948 Bowman and Leaf sets. He appeared on a
Bowman card in 1949, 1952, and 1953. Topps did not sign Musial to a card contract until 1958. So in-between 1954 and 1957 you had no regular Stan Musial cards. So this is a significant
card. Also significant is the price. The card was triple printed and is very inexpensive. I picked up this 1958 Topps #476 Stan Musial All Star (graded SGC 60 EX) for $20 on eBay. And a
vintage Stan "The Man" Musial baseball card from the 1950's for $20 is a steal in my book.
1974 Topps #283 Mike Schmidt
While the name of Brooks Robinson always pops up when talking about the greatest third baseman ever, you could also make a strong case for Mike Schmidt. Schmidt did not win 16 Gold
Gloves like Brooks did but he was no slouch at third either. In fact Schmidt won 10 Gold Gloves of his own. Schmidt of course tops Brooks in the HR department, slugging 548 career Home Runs
to Brooks' 268 HRs. Both had identical batting marks of .267, which is low but consider the era they played in. Both won MVP Awards, Brooks won once and Schmidt 3 times. So all around, as
much as I love Brooks Robinson, I am going with Mike Schmidt as my pick for best 3rd sacker.
Mike Schmidt cards are dirt cheap. Even his rookie card (1973 Topps # 615 Rookie Third Basemen with Ron Cey) is only $125 in graded NM condition and you can pick up a nice mid-grade
example for about $45. But a great bargain is his 2nd year card, 1974 Topps #283 Mike Schmidt. You can get a graded NM copy for $15. For one of the greatest 3rd basemen ever?
That is just plain silly.
1969 Topps #480 Tom Seaver
I am not going to say this 1969 Topps #480 Tom Seaver baseball card is a super bargain. In graded NM condition it sells for about $70. That is not exactly cheap for Seaver's 3rd year
card. However a nice mid-grade example is affordable, from about $15 to $25. And what's cool about this particular card is the year. 1969 was the year of the "Miracle Mets," who went on to
defeat the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series (the first New York Mets Championship Team). The success of the Mets was due in no small way to the Manager Gil Hodges, key
contributions by the team and a superb pitching staff led by ace Tom Seaver and lefty Jerry Koosman. Lurking in the bullpen were Tug McGraw and a young Nolan Ryan. So 1969 was a super
year for the Mets and Tom Seaver. Seaver was a power pitcher with control. He won over 300 games (311), won 3 Cy Young Awards and had a low 2.86 career ERA!
Another great Seaver card that is affordable is his 1974 Topps #80. It has a great game shot of Seaver and his delivery and is only about $10 in graded NM condition.
1960 Fleer #72 Ted Williams
Without a doubt the best deal you can get on a vintage Ted Williams baseball card from his playing days is this 1960 Fleer #72 All Time Baseball Greats card. In 1960 and 1961 Fleer issued
a set of All Time Baseball Greats including Ted Williams who retired near the end of the 1960 baseball season. So technically this 1960 Fleer Ted Williams is his last as an active player. Topps'
last regular card of Williams was in their 1958 set. The following year, Fleer inked Williams to a exclusive 3 year card contract. This 1960 Fleer #72 Ted Williams is a terrific bargain; you
can pick up a nice mid-grade example for less than $45. Other Williams bargains: 1959 Fleer Ted Williams (Fleer did a complete set dedicated to the career of Ted Williams and most of the
cards are just a few bucks each!), Topps Ted Williams cards as a Manager (1969-1972, about $10-$15 each) and a special Ted Williams Sporting News All Time Outfielder card in the 1976
Topps set (about $5).
1967 Topps #355 Carl Yastrzemski
1967 was the break out year for Carl Yastrzemski and the Boston Red Sox. 100-1 underdogs to win the pennant, the Red Sox did the impossible and won the AL Pennant in dramatic
fashion. Yaz led the AL in Batting Average (.326), Home Runs (44; tied with Harmon Killebrew), and Runs Batted In (126) becoming the last player to win the Triple Crown. In the World Series
he batted .400 with 3 HRs and 10 hits, though the Cardinals beat the Red Sox in 7 games. Yastrzemski won 3 Batting Crowns, won 7 Gold Glove Awards in the outfield, and was the first
American League player with over 3,000 hits and 400 HRs. Yaz cards are extremely affordable in NM condition with the exception of his 1960 Topps #177 rookie card (about $175 in
NM), and 1962 Topps card (about $125 in NM). Especially affordable are 1970's and 1980's Yastrzemski cards (Yastrzemski's last Topps card was in the 1983 set). But if you want a
Yaz card from his best season, 1967 Topps #355 Carl Yastrzemski is the card for you. I just picked up this SGC 60 EX graded example for $22. It is also his most eye appealing card (in
SUMMARY. There are plenty of bargains out there of your favorite players. One of the best places to buy cards is online with websites like eBay. Usually you can pick
up nice cards for less than retail, especially in lower grades. For most of us, vintage cards of players like Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, Babe Ruth, etc. are
unattainable. However you can pick up Topps cards of some of these players for cheap. Topps issued a special highlight set in 1961 that featured former stars Lou
Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Walter Johnson, Walter Johnson, and Babe Ruth. Also in 1973, 1976 and 1979 Topps issued some All Time Greats or Leaders cards, which
are very affordable. Best of luck with your collection! Tim
More Bargain Cards!
1971 Topps 355 Bud Harrelson
Here is a real bargain on a vintage Nolan Ryan card; actually it is a Bud Harrelson card that pictures Ryan in the foreground (1971 Topps #355 Bud Harrelson, see above). Nolan
is number 30 and is giving the "out" sign while Harrelson is tagging out a Houston Astro baserunner. Because Harrelson is considered a "common" (but fan favorite) this card is extremely
affordable. I've seen ungraded examples on eBay for as low as a buck ($1). So if you don't want to fork out about $100 for a 1971 Topps #513 Nolan Ryan PSA 7 NM, try this one for
1971 Topps #275 Vada Pinson 1972 Topps #38 Carl Yastrzemski In Action
Here are a couple of examples of some affordable Thurman Munson cards. First we have a 1971 Topps #275 Vada Pinson (above left) card. Here you have a star player (Vada Pinson)
getting up from a close play at home plate. The catcher is Yankee catcher Thurman Munson. Munson, whose regular card is #5 in the 1971 series is expensive because it is only his 2nd card
and it is tough to find in high grade. EX examples sell for around $25, but this 1971 Topps #275 Vada Pinson card (with Thurman Munson) can be had for as low as a dollar. Maybe less. The
above example was listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $1.
Next we have a 1972 Topps #38 Carl Yastrzemski In Action card (above right) which not only features Hall of Famer Yaz, but Thurman Munson as well. This card is an affordable Yaz
card ($3 for the above example on eBay) plus you get a bonus with Thurman Munson, who by the way SHOULD be a Hall of Famer! For more on Munson check out our own HALL OF FAME
PAGE and also our CATCHERS PAGE.
1966 Topps #215 1965 NL Batting Leaders (Clemente, Aaron, Mays)
League Leader cards are another affordable way to pick up Hall of Fame players and stars for a fraction of what the individual regular cards would sell for. For example, if you you wanted to
pick up a 1966 Topps Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, and Willie Mays card you are going to be shelling out at least $300 for ungraded NM examples. But this 1966 Topps #215 1965
NL Batting Leaders (Clemente, Aaron, Mays) card is on eBay for just $25 and free shipping as well!
1969 Topps #412 5th Series Checklist (Mickey Mantle)
Checklist cards sometimes featured Hall of Fame players and stars of the day. This 1969 Topps #412 5th Series Checklist card features Mickey Mantle, who's regular card (#500) is
$200 or more in NM condition. However this checklist card with Mantle appears in NM or better condition (seller advertises the card as "NM-MT") and is listed on eBay for $11.48 (hurry, sale
ends in 1 day!). You can find them even cheaper than that. So this is about the cheapest Mickey Mantle bubble gum picture card from his playing days and worth every penny!
1962 Topps #317 Musial Plays 21st Season (Stan Musial in action)
Topps sometimes produced special cards called "Highlight" or "Baseball Thrills" cards which are much more affordable than the regular cards. For 1962, Topps produced a handful of cards
which are highlight or "In Action" cards. Featured are Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Warren Spahn, Tony Kubek, Whitey Ford and this 1962 Topps #317 Musial Plays 21st Season card,
which depicts Stan "The Man" in action. This example is on eBay (auction) for $1 plus $2 shipping, and with 1 day left there are no bidders! Which means you can get this card for maybe $3 ($1
plus $2 shipping). THAT is a bargain! This card lists for $8.75 in ungraded EX condition (2011 Sports Collector's Digest Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards), which is still a bargain in my
opinion for a vintage Stan Musial card. Musial's regular 1962 Topps card (#50) lists for $50 in EX condition.
1975 Topps #172 Red Sox Team (Darrell Johnson MG) 1975 Topps #531 Reds Team (Sparky Anderson MG)
Another good bargain for your collection are team cards. Team cards, showing the team photo go back to the 1800's. In fact one of the earliest known baseball cards is a Cincinnati Red Stockings team card dating to 1865
(or thereabout) that was recently discovered within the last couple years. Topps even produced full team cards in 1951 that are quite scarce today. But beginning with the 1956 Topps baseball set, Topps produced team cards in
just about every set since. While some of the 1950's team cards and 1960's team cards can be expensive (especially New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers, High numbers, etc.) most are affordable today. Extremely cheap are
1970's team cards. You can buy most for a couple dollars each or less. Probably the most expensive 1970's team cards would be the 1970 Topps #1 Mets Champions team card (featuring the '69 Mets Championship team) and
the 1971 Topps #1 Orioles Team card (1970 Champions). This is because they not only feature a World Series winner, they were the first cards of the set and back then kids would sort their cards by card numbers, put a rubber
band on them and stuff them in a shoebox. The first and last cards in the stack would always get the most wear and tear, hence they are tougher to find in nice shape. However even in collector grades even these cards are
affordable; I've seen them for a few bucks each and they feature Hall of Fame players like Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Gil Hodges (should be a HOFer), Brooks and Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver and more. Other
great (& affordable) team cards are 1972 Topps #1 Pirates Team (Champions) which features Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Bill Mazeroski, etc. and 1973 Topps #7 Rangers Team which features Ted Williams as Manager.
These are very affordable, $8 for the '72 Topps Pirates Team card in NM condition and $1 for the 1973 Topps Rangers Team.
The above 1975 Topps Team cards (above) feature the two pennant winning teams from that year, the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds. The 1975 World Series is considered a classic and one of the best World Series
ever. This is because you had two great teams loaded with stars and Hall of Famers and each team gave all they had. It was an exciting back and forth battle going the full 7 games, with great catches, controversial plays,
clutch HRs, gutsy pitching, and more. The Reds came out on top but you couldn't call that Red Sox team a loser. So here you have the two team cards from 1975 depicting such greats as Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk,
Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Luis Tiant, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Fred Lynn, Sparky Anderson, Ken Griffey, Dwight Evans and more. The '75 Red Sox team lists for $1.50 in ungraded NM condition; the Reds Team lists for $5. The
backs of these cards feature a team checklist.
World Series Cards
1971 Topps #331 World Series Gm #5 (B. Robinson) 1973 Topps #207 World Series Game No. 5 Odom Out At Plate (Johnny Bench)
World Series cards are bargains too. Topps began producing them in beginning with their 1961 Topps set. You can get World Series cards of Mickey Mantle (fairly expensive, but not as
expensive as Mantle's regular cards), Bill Mazeroski, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and more. The above 1971 Topps #331 1970 World Series Game
5 (B. Robinson Commits Robbery!) shows Brooks Robinson holding up his glove after a diving stop of a line drive; one of the many great plays Brooks exhibited in that Series. Price? $4
in ungraded EX condition. The 1973 Topps #207 1972 World Series Game 5 (Odom Out At Plate) features Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench. Just $1 in ungraded NM