(Baseball Card Atrocities!)
Long before there were grading companies that entombed a card forever in a plastic case, long before there were plastic sleeves and sheets to protect & store cards in, long
before there was a Beckett's or Sports Collectors Digest to tell you how much a card is "worth," there were the cards themselves. What did these naive card collectors for
heaven's sake do with their cardboard treasures? They PLAYED with them that's what! They studied the stats, checked out what a player looked like in his new uniform, looked for
errors and goofs that the card companies occassionally would provide for them, played games with them, traded for them, wrote on them, and even stuck 'em on bike spokes
to make cool sound effects. The hobby and dealers would have you think these are "JUNK," when actually they are really just "well loved cards." Here we present a gallery of
some well loved cards. These cards have been loved more than the most expensive cards in the world. Enjoy!
This 1954 Topps Ted Williams card (above left) should get some sort of award for it has almost every kind of atrocity committed upon it; Trimming, writing, creasing, tears...it
just doesn't get any better than this! To the right is a scarce 1952 Berk Ross Ted Williams, graded by SGC as "10 Poor." This is an example of a well used, but not abused card.
How many of you that are 57 years old are in "perfect" condition, with no wrinkles, dings or other flaws? Yeah, I thought so...
1954 Topps #1 Ted Williams
Mickey Mantle is one of the most beloved baseball players; partly because of his exploits on the field,
and partly of his exploits off the field, which resulted in his premature death in 1996. This 1953
Bowman Mickey Mantle card truly looks like it has spent the last 56 years in someone's back pocket.
Bob Costas perhaps? (Costas by the way keeps a 1958 Topps Mantle All-Star card in his wallet). I
don't think there is a place on this card that ISN'T creased! (Note: This card still managed to sell on
ebay for $83.45!)
1953 Bowman #59 Mickey Mantle
This Tony Conigliaro card is from the 1967 season in which he was seriously beaned and missed the
World Series. This card is a well loved gem that reminds us of what could of been for Tony C..."
(card courtesy of the Fred Mauro Collection)
For more on Tony C, check out our new TONY C Page!
|1955 Topps #2 Ted Williams 1955 Topps #47 Hank Aaron
This is just a damn shame. How can ANYONE deface a Ted Williams card? I am at a loss for words on this one.
I also have no idea why someone would trim (& badly at that) this second year Henry "Hank" Aaron card. Sometimes you find cards that have been trimmed slightly to hide flaws and make the card
appear nicer than it is. This is death to a baseball card. And worse it is usually a high priced card that someone ends up paying a lot of money for. That is called "deceptive trimming." The Aaron card
above is not a deceptively trimmed card at all. But either way trimmed cards bring little if any value so I don't suggest you do ANY of these things to your cards!
I guess someone did not like the potato chips as they cut out
"Dan-Dee" from the front of this very scarce Mickey Mantle
issue. Too bad, as this card otherwise would be very valuable
(around $2000 in NM condition). As it is this one would grade
POOR at best and definetly used as a "filler" until a better copy
could be obtained. Regardless it is a VERY tough Mantle and one
of the most expensive Mickey Mantle cards from the 1950's. Note
the tape stain on the card back; this card was probably taped to
the wall of a young Mickey Mantle fan back in 1954.
1954 Dan-Dee Potato Chips Mickey Mantle
This "Say Hey" Willie Mays card was well loved. So well-loved in fact
that "Allen" had to put his name on his beloved treasure. This card has
not really been abused, but rather was the victim of unconditional love.
The obvious corner rounding is further testimony that this card was
well-handled, probably studied over numerous times by Allen as he
debated with his pals over who was the greatest centerfielder in New
York in 1954- Willie, Mickey, or the "Duke." Allen, wherever you are, I
hope you someday get your card back...
1954 Topps #90 Willie Mays
EEEEEEK!!! Saw this one on eBay. A 1953 Topps #1 Jackie Robinson is a very valuable
card; however this one has been torn right through Jackie's forehead which would lower the
grade to no better than Poor, the lowest grade on the grading scale. Too bad. There is no way
this tear is accidental so some kid probably either didn't like Jackie Robinson (maybe he was a
Giants fan) or maybe it was a little sister who got in her brother's room and created mayhem.
Who knows. Regardless it finds a treasured spot on our BASEBALL CARD ATROCITIES page!
|1955 Topps #210 Duke Snider
WHAT THE ??????!!!
P.S.> I am looking for a vintage card that has been shot with a
BB gun or has some cool holes punched in it. If you have any,
or of ANY other great card that has been tortured to death
please send me a scan and I will add your card to our
BASEBALL CARD ATTROCITIES PAGE!!!
This 1955 Topps Duke Snider card happens to be the last card in the set
and as such, it is rarely found in high grade. This one has seen some time with
what looks like water stains, surface wear, and well rounded corners. This
card has not really been "abused," but it appears it did suffer some
unintentional damage. Maybe it was in a basement that got flooded (which
happened to my 1972 Topps collection back in the great Highland Park flood
of '72). But compared to the 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle card (above, right)
this Snider appears pretty damn good!
|1953 Topps #1 Jackie Robinson
|1956 Topps #135 Mickey Mantle
1971 Topps #630 Roberto Clemente 1963 Topps #200 Mickey Mantle 1953 Bowman Color #117 Duke Snider
One thing about lesser condition cards is that you can get them for CHEAP! While not the most eye-pleasing examples, they are still vintage baseball cards and some, like
the above examples, can literally be had for pennies on the dollar. All 3 of these examples were listed on eBay. I don't know how much they actually sold for, but I would
imagine the Clemente sold for less than $5, the Mantle for maybe $15-$20, and the Snider, which looks like an example of "Rats Gone Wild," for maybe the same. If these
cards were near mint examples, the Clemente would sell for about $90, the Mantle for close to $400, and the Snider for $450.
|1968 Topps #280 Tony Conigliaro
1977 TCMA Ed Plank
|1963 Fleer #8 Carl Yastrzemski
1954 Topps #90 Willie Mays (front view) (Back view)
Collector Matt Ranson sent me a scan of this 1954 Topps #90 Willie Mays (sorry the the long delay!) and I finally have put it up. The front is not so bad; it shows evidence of being well
handled, but not abused. The back, however, is another story. It is obvious that this card was once pasted in a scrapbook with black pages. Then later the card was removed, tearing part of the
card and parts of the black scrapbook paper. This is not at all uncommon among vintage cards. It is especially common among Topps Venezuelan issues. Today, this card lists for $375 in near
mint (NM) condition (2009 Sports Collector's Digest Standard Catalog Of Baseball Cards, Krause Publications); however a card in the above condition (probably "Poor") would fetch significantly
less. Matt purchased this card for ONE DOLLAR! Way to go Matt! And thanks for the scan.
1933-36 Zeenut PCL Joe "DeMaggio" (DiMaggio)
This is just a ridiculously rare card - 1933-36 Zeenut Pacific Coast League Joe DiMaggio SGC 10. Obviously it is beat up (and graded "POOR" by SGC), but this is such an important
card. It pictures Joe "DeMaggio" of the San Francisco Seals, prior to his contract being bought by the New York Yankees. These Zeenut cards had coupons that were intended to be cut out and mailed
in for premiums; hence this card is missing the coupon. Regardless this is a super card of one of the all-time greats. "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio... Our nation turns it's lonely eyes to you..."
(from Simon & Garfunkel's song, "Mrs. Robinson.").
P.S. This card is currently listed on eBay with a buy it now price of $5775.000 (January 2009)! Wow!
1948-49 Leaf #1 Joe DiMaggio
Here is another "beat up" Joe D card, a 1948-49 Leaf #1 Joe DiMaggio SGC 10 POOR. It looks like it was almost folded into "quarters," and exhibits severe edge (probably from rubber
bands) and corner wear. In spite of it's condition, it is still a wonderful card. Some would say "what a piece of junk" or some other unflattering statement. And those are the kinds of people this hobby
can do without. If you were to take this card to a dealer he would probably scoff at it and send you on your way. However for true card lovers and baseball fans, this is a piece of art. Condition has
nothing to do with it.
1956 Topps lot in various low grade condition
The above 1956 Topps baseball cards are part of a complete set that is listed on eBay. What's wonderful about this set is that it is mostly low grade and the cards exhibit just about everything
wrong you could do to a card, writing, custom cutting, holes punched, rips, tears, notching, severe corner wear and creasing, even sun fading. You gotta love it! Except for the selling
price...$1295.00, courtesy of 707 Sportscards. Now if a 1956 Topps complete set in VERY GOOD condition lists in the 2009 Sports Collectors Digest Standard Catalog of
Baseball Cards for $2550, why in the world would anyone want to shell out about half that for a 1956 set in wonderfully terrible condition??? This set would not even grade GOOD (to it's credit,
707 does list the set as "PR-GD"). Btw, 707 Sportscards is listed in the SCD Catalog as a "contributor" to the catalog. What a joke. Anyway the cards are great. I especially love the custom trim
job on the Jackie Robinson card. Also check out the severe wear on the Koufax card. This card was handled beyond belief, just look at the corners and severe surface wear! Love it!
1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle PSA PR-FR 1
Another gem courtesy of Levi Bleam and 707 Sportscards! This card looks like it went through the wash and was handled quite a bit judging from the creasing, surface wear and corner rounding.
Asking price: "only" $3000. Ouch!
1955 Topps #2 Ted Williams KSA 1(Fair/Poor) 1956 Topps #5 Ted Williams (Courtesy of Don Steinberg)
This 1955 Topps #2 Ted Williams baseball card (above left) was folded in half at some point. What a shame. But you have to remember that baseball cards were for kids and kids did with
them what kids are going to do. And as seen above, this is not the worst you could do to a card. The 1956 Topps #5 Ted Williams (above right) was at one time taped to a wall but note the top
right corner; the owner of this card said at one time the corner was actually "burned" at one time and the corner was trimmed to hide this fact. Why in the world would you want to burn a Ted
Williams card? Btw, both of these Topps Ted Williams cards would bring about $400 in NM condition
The 1954 Topps (#250), 1955 Topps (#2), as well as the 1956 Topps (#5) Ted Williams cards used the same large picture of Teddy Ballgame. The same photo was also used for a card in the
1959 Fleer Ted Williams set (#63, "Ted's All-Star Record") and Topps later used the same photo (in original black and white) in a special "Sporting News All-Time Greats" subset in their 1976
Topps baseball set (card #347). Topps used multiple photos several times including Hank Aaron (1954-55-56 and 1968-69), Willie Mays (1954-55-56 and 1965-68, 66-69), Tom Seaver
(1968-69), just to name a few.
|1951 Topps Ringside #32 Rocky Marciano
|I noticed that most of our examples on this page are mostly baseball, so I thought I'd throw in a boxing card. This card
has seen better days, heavy creasing, torn paper, bent, and I think safe to say this card has been handled quite a bit.
Regardless, the seller of this card wants over $70 for it on eBay. And while this card is considered a "valuable" card,
in this condition I think $70 is "Reaching For The Stars." Good luck on that.
The 1951 Topps Ringside cards is considered a classic boxing set. It featured most of the great names in boxing:
Joe Louis, Ray Robinson, John L. Sullivan, and this early Rocky Marciano card, which is considered to be his "rookie
card." A heavy hitter, Rocky Marciano retired undefeated as Heavyweight Champ. Marciano's 1951 Topps Ringside
card is a heavy hitter as well fetching a few hundred bucks or more for NM examples. For more boxing cards, see our
new Nowbatting19's Boxing Page!
1967 Venezuelan Topps #211 Brooks Robinson (back view)
To be fair, most of the Venezuela Topps issues you come across are going to be in lower grades. The cards were intended to be pasted into albums. The above 1967 Venezuelan #211
Brooks Robinson is in very low grade; it shows evidence of being pasted (and then recklessly removed, tearing away paper from the back) from an album, and also water or coffee stains along
with surface wear. Other than that, this is a great card! Check out the smile on Brooks' face!
1952 Topps Gene Woodling
1959 Topps #420 Rocco "Rocky" Colavito (back view)
Another well-loved card. This 1959 Topps #420 Rocco Colavito shows heavy wear; surface, edges, corner, plus creases, tape residue, writing on front and back. It just doesn't get any better than
this. By the way, the 1959 Topps Rocky Colavito was the last to call him by his legal name "Rocco." But everyone knew him as "Rocky" and on every Topps card thereafter they list his name as
"Rocky Colavito." A real fan favorite, Rocky Colavito put up some huge numbers in a relatively short career (1955-1968). Colavito was one of the American League's most feared sluggers, he was
usually among the league leaders in Home Runs and RBI's during his career. In essentially a 13 year career Rocky bashed nearly 400 home runs (374) and drove in 1159 runs. Over a 162 game
schedule, Colavito would have averaged 33 HRs and 102 RBIs per season! As such I think he should be in the Hall Of Fame. For more on Rocky Colavito check out our Hall Of Fame Page!
Gene Woodling does not look like he enjoys having his picture taken...
1968 Topps #177 Mets Rookie Stars (Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan)
Now at one time this may have been considered "Jerry Koosman's rookie card," and it certainly is. Jerry Koosman was the lefty ace pitcher for the Mets to the franchise pitcher Tom Seaver.
Nolan Ryan, while showing an overpowering fastball was still considered a "prospect." Hindsight shows that both pitchers were terrific- Koosman won over 200 games in his career while Ryan
went on to become the All-Time Leader in Strikeouts, No-Hitters and the lowest hits allowed per 9 innings in baseball history. Not to mention over 300 Wins. I am thinking whoever marked an "X" on
Ryan's picture was probably a true blue Mets fan and "X'd" Ryan's face after the Mets traded him to the Angels for Jim Fregosi. Why else would you mark an "X" and ruin a great rookie card of two
1962 Topps #1 Roger Maris (Front view) (Back view)
Not too pretty a picture, I thought at first this might be a Venezuela Topps Roger Maris card. Alas, it is the regular Topps card (the back is printed in English, compared to the
1962 Venezuela Topps cards, which were printed in Spanish). Corner rounding, creasing, scuffing and print marks highlight the front of the card, while the back is heavily
soiled with paper missing; probably this card was pasted in an album. Regardless this is one of the best Roger Maris cards; the back shows his historic 1961 season statistics,
including the 61 Home Runs and 142 RBI's that Roger posted in winning his 2nd consecutive MVP Award.
1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle (Rookie card)
Mickey Mantle's first TOPPS card was included in the 1952 set; however it is NOT his rookie card! Mantle's true rookie
card is this 1951 Bowman #253 high numbered card. While still expensive, it pails in comparison to the 1952 Topps
#311 Mantle card though I would like to see PSA's Population Report on both cards. Both are scarce high numbers. I am
going to have to check that out. Here is a horrific (or terrific depending on your point of view) example of a Mickey Mantle
rookie card. I can't quite make out the name written on both front and back, "Otto Rosa" or "Kosa." Otta also decided to
draw (in pen) a star below Mantle's bat; maybe Otto knew that this young Yankee slugger was going to be something
special. And Otto was right...
1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle (back view)
|1948 Bowman #36 Stan Musial (RC) (back view)
|1953 Bowman Color # Yogi Berra
Here are a couple of (normally) expensive cards but there is really no price guide for poor condition cards. Most
collectors want cards that are mid-grade (EX) or higher. Poor conditioned cards are "worth" whatever someone is willing
to pay for them. While I think these cards are still great, the fact remains that most cards like these are not very desired
except by collectors who want to pick up key and expensive cards on the cheap. Sometimes they are used as "Fillers,"
cards that are used until a nicer example is obtained.
1952 Topps #333 Pee Wee Reese SGC A (Authentic)
1952 Topps #333 Pee Wee Reese SGC A (back view)
Some cards are submitted for grading but fail to get a numerical grade. This can be for several reasons, usually evidence of trimming,
alteration, coloring, etc. However if the card is real, reputable graders can assign an "Authentic" label to the card, which lets any future
buyer know that the card is indeed authentic, and hence (in theory) be easier to sell. This 1952 Topps #333 Pee Wee Reese bubble gum
card was included in Topps' first major set, plus it was included in the scarce high numbered series. Add to that the fact that Pee Wee Reese
was a popular Hall of Fame shortstop for the famed Brooklyn Dodgers, this is a very high demand card. The front appears at least Good or
VG.The front may or not have been altered; I don't know. The back shows evidence of tape and paper removal. Still a great card. The seller
of this card is asking $365 for it. Would I pay $365 for it? No. But maybe you would. Just keep in mind that cards graded "Authentic" are
usually suspect; why would a card not receive a grade? Even "Poor" or "Fair." Anyway this card and I have a lot in common. We are both
old. The card has rips and stains and I get pulled muscles, aches and pains and I have coffee-stained teeth. I just hope I'm worth more than
$365! I doubt it. What's really depressing is that this card is going to outlast me!!!
1975 Topps #320 Pete Rose 1975 Topps #320 Pete Rose (sunbleached) (Back view)
Sure, this 1975 Topps #320 Pete Rose card is complete (above center), but what is wrong with this picture??? This is an example of a card that has been left out in the sun. Like an episode of "SpongeBob Squarepants,"
this card has been "SUN BLEACHED." Even in professionally graded holders, if you leave 'em out in the sun this is what will happen. The above example spent too much time in the California sun at a swap meet. It didn't get
sold because of the price (see the $45 written in pen near the top right corner on the reverse), probably at the height of Pete Rose popularity in the mid to late 1980's. To the left is an example of what the card used to look
1964 Topps Stand-Ups Carl Yastrzemski (Back view)
Actually, the above 1964 Topps Stand-Ups Carl Yastrzemski baseball card was used as intended. The cards were intended to have the upper
yellow half bent back to form a "stand" to display your card. This example was obviously used in that manner, but somewhere along the line, the yellow
part of the card was ripped off. So this would definetly qualify as a low grade example, but it was not intentional abuse. In fact it is remarkable that this
card survived 46 years (I am falling apart at 47 as I speak) and even more remarkable that there are plenty of unpunched and unfolded examples out there
(see PSA graded example, right). The Yastrzemski is the key to the set as it was short printed. In spite of it all the card is still pretty cool.
1964 Topps Stand-Ups Carl Yastrzemski PSA 7 NM
1955 Topps #194 Willie Mays (Back view)
Yet another gem by Levi Bleam of 707 Sportscards. This 1955 Topps Willie Mays has a big piece of the card ripped off. I have no explanation for this, unless maybe some kid who worshipped Mays found out he was
taking "Roids" with his Godson Barry Bonds. I don't know. What I do know is that this card has a permanent spot on our HORRORS Page! P.S. How much would YOU pay for this card? Levi Bleam is asking FIFTY U.S.
DOLLARS ($50.00) for this card. But guess what! Buy it for fifty bucks and he will send you this treasure with FREE SHIPPING AND INSURANCE!!! All I can say is God Bless Levi Bleam and 707 Sportscards for the great
laughs! (Hey Levi... are you for real???)
1966 Topps #365 Roger Maris UER
Before "Traded" and "Update" baseball cards were even thought of by card manufacturers, kids would already be quick to make notations on cards when players were traded. It was an easy fix; simply cross off the old team
and write the new one on the card. The above 1966 Topps #365 Roger Maris baseball card is such an example; "YANKEES" has been crossed off and Maris' new team ("Cards") is written on the card. So this is not
really a "horrible" card except to high grade card lovers who think that any card with a grade less than MINT 9 or GEM MINT 10 is "junk." To me, this card reminds me of simpler times; when cards were not "worth"
anything except to the kids who loved their baseball heroes. I actually paid $8.99 for this card to put on display in my living room, and while you may think this card is "horrific," I think it "terrific."
By the way... A lot of collector's don't know that this 1966 Topps #365 Roger Maris bubble gum card is an uncorrected error card. The back shows Maris' birth year to be 1931, when actually Maris was born in 1934. For
more on Maris, check out our wonderful ROGER MARIS PAGE!
| 1969 Topps Football 51 Gale Sayers (Miscut)
A lot of people who are not familiar with cards think that when they come across a miscut card like this 1969 Topps #51 Gale Sayers (above), that they have a super rare and expensive card. This is not the case. Miscut cards
are not rare nor are they desirable to most collectors. If anything they are considered low grade and you can get them much cheaper than a typical example. While some collectors do collect such printing mistakes such as miscuts,
out of register cards, wrong backs, etc. the fact remains that most of the time these cards are not in demand. I saw this 69 Sayers card on eBay with a Buy It Now of $4.95. I almost bought it, but I already have both the Sayers and
Roman Gabriel cards. Still an interesting card. Like Max Keddy says "I never met a card I didn't like." I feel the same way. Great card that makes our HORRORS PAGE!
For those of you who have card that are miscut or "out of register" (I just got an email from someone who had a 1968 Topps #280 Mickey Mantle that he called a "double exposure;" actually the card was out of register) cards and
you are getting ready to ask me what your card is "worth," I'll tell you. Your card is "worth" whatever someone is willing to give you for it. These cards are not in demand, there are no price guides for low grade cards like POOR,
FAIR, etc. They are worth whatever someone is willing to give you for it. Now if it is a T206 Honus Wagner or a 52 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle in Poor shape that is a different story. Those two cards are considered rare and scarce
respectively and are desirable in any condition. Why? Because they are important cards in the hobby. The T206 Wagner is considered the "Holy Grail" of all baseball cards; the '52 Topps Mantle is without a doubt the most
important post-war baseball card ever issued. And it all comes down to supply and demand. There are relatively few 52 Topps Mantle cards out there, even fewer T206 Wagner cards. Hence these important cards command big
prices even in low grades. And while a 1969 Topps #51 Gale Sayers is an "important" card (especially to Hall of Fame, Chicago Bears, Running Back collectors, etc.), you can buy a nice NM example for around $35 (a graded
example would be a bit more). So this miscut Sayers card would not exactly set the world on fire. I do however think it's a cool card and an example of how card manufacturers back in the day did not seem too concerned with
quality control (remember that back then, cards were not "worth" money; they were premiums to get you to buy bubble gum, candy, etc.). And speaking of the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle...
| Gus Zernial says "It's all good..."
1962 Post Cereal #114 Duke Snider (Hand cut from cereal box)
The 1961 through 1963 Post Cereal and 1962-63 Jell-O cards were designed to be cut out from the product packages. Post would issue several cards on the back panel, while Jell-O would issue one card per dessert box (due to
it's small size). An album was also added to paste your collection of Post and Jell-O cards. As you can imagine, finding well cut and clean examples is a challenge. I saw this 1962 Post #114 Duke Snider baseball card on
eBay and usually you do find them cut nicer than this. But this is a classic example of "scissors gone wild" and there are barely any traces of the black borders of the card. You also have to remember these were collected by kids
and back then, baseball cards were not "worth" money like they are today. You would trade them, flip them, pin them on your walls or put rubber bands around them and stuff them in a shoe box. If I had this card I would
certainly put it on display where it would get the attention it deserves. Rest in peace Duke! (1926-2011)
Check back soon for more baseball card attrocities!!! My thanks to all who have contributed cards for this page!