1952 Bowman Large Football Cards

1952 Bowman Large Football Cards

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When Topps entered the ring to fight against Bowman in the sports card business in 1952, there were some immediate changes. One of those involved Bowman increasing the size of its cards, and the 1952 Bowman football set was issued in two different formats as a result.

At first, the 144-card set was issued in a similar format as the 1951 set: cards measured 2 1/16 inches by 3 1/8 inches and were divided into four 36-card printing sheets. At some point, the company decided to make the cards bigger (2 ½ inches by 3 ¾ inches) and printed up the same 144 cards on larger - but still 36-card - printing sheets. The larger size seems to have resulted in certain cards getting caught up in the machinery at the factory and withdrawn, since several cards are notoriously short-printed.

Other than the size, the cards in the small and large sets are exactly the same. Card fronts feature painted picture of a player or coach. A pennant contains his name and a team logo appears either above or below it. A white border surrounds the picture. Card backs feature a written biography and a first for Bowman: lines of statistics from the previous seasons, except for linemen and coaches. At the top, a card number appears in the left corner, just below the name. The team and position appear to the right of the number, with a few vital statistics over to the right. At the bottom of the card, a line above the copyright states College to Pro, as way of pointing out that some of the players are shown with their college teams.

On the surface, there are several new features for 1952. First, all teams are represented by their coach. This offers a way for collectors to pick up cards of legendary coaches like Paul Brown, George Halas and Steve Owen who otherwise wouldn't have had many mainstream cards. Secondly, there were college logos shown on the card fronts for rookie players (their pro teams were listed on the back, however). Finally, the appearance of statistics showed that Topps's success with their 1952 baseball card set had definitely caught them off-guard.

Collectors overlook all of those things due to the fact that the cards were made larger and issued as the same set. In effect, Bowman was preparing to make its 1953 baseball set, which used the larger size. Due to the troubles getting the larger cards through the process of printing and cutting, it has been said that several of the cards on an outer edge of every sheet were damaged and withdrawn right at the factory. There are several cards in the Large set that are short-printed, with #144 Jim Lansford being the toughest to find in any condition. Card #72 of John Schweder is also tough. Both cards would have been on the lower right corner of their printing sheet.

Key rookies from the set aside from coaches like Paul Brown and George Halas include Frank Gifford, Art Donovan, Gino Marchetti, Ollie Matson, Hugh McElhenny, Jack Christiansen and Yale Lary. In both sets, cards numbered 73-144 are considered to be slightly more scarce than the earlier series, but the short-printed cards in the larger set are even scarcer. However, the short-printed cards from the large set do not correspond to any scarcity in the smaller issue.

Key 1952 Bowman Large Football Cards:

Top eBay Listings

1952 Bowman Large Football #5 Frankie Albert VG-EX 79241

1952 Bowman Large Football #24 John Karras EX+ 79249

1952 Bowman Large Football #51 Ray Beck EX+ 79268

1952 Bowman Large Football #64 Howard Hartley EX 79274

1952 Bowman Large Football #109 Volney Quinlan VG-EX 79294

1952 Bowman Large Football #141 Gordon Soltau EXMT 79304

1952 Bowman Large Football #6 Laurie Niemi VG-EX 79242

1952 Bowman Large Football #25 Tank Younger AUTH, trimmed 79250

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Set Checklist

1952 Bowman Large Football Card Checklist

Card #Player Name
1Norm Van Brocklin SP
2Otto Graham
3Doak Walker
4Steve Owen RC
5Frankie Albert
6Laurie Niemi
7Chuck Hunsinger
8Ed Modzelewski
9Joe Spencer SP
10Chuck Bednarik SP
11Barney Poole
12Charley Trippi
13Tom Fears
14Paul Brown RC
15Leon Hart
16Frank Gifford RC
18Charlie Justice SP
19George Connor SP
20Lynn Chandnois
21Billy Howton RC
22Kenneth Snyder
23Gino Marchetti RC
24John Karras
25Tank Younger
26Tommy Thompson
27Bob Miller RC SP
28Kyle Rote RC SP
29Hugh McElhenny RC
30Sammy Baugh
31Jim Dooley RC
32Ray Mathews
33Fred Cone
34Al Pollard
35Brad Ecklund
36John Hancock RC SP
37Elroy Hirsch SP
38Keever Jankovich
39Emlen Tunnell
40Steve Dowden
41Claude Hipps
42Norm Standlee
43Dick Todd
44Babe Parilli
45Steve Van Buren SP
46Art Donovan RC SP
47Bill Fischer
48George Halas RC
49Jerrell Price
50Johnndusky RC
51Ray Beck
52Jim Martin
53Joe Bach Error
54Glen Christian SP
55Andy Davis SP
56Tobin Rote
57Wayne Millner RC
58Zollie Toth
59Jack Jennings
60Bill McColl
61Les Richter RC
62Walt Michaels RC
63Charley Conerly SP
64Howard Hartley SP
65Jerome Smith
66James Clark
67Dick Logan
68Wayne Robinson
69James Hammond
70Gene Schroeder
71Tex Coulter
72John Schweder RC SP
73Vitamin Smith SP
74Joe Campanella RC
75Joe Kuharich RC
76Herman Clark
77Dan Edwards
78Bobby Layne
79Bob Hoernschemeyer
80John Carr Blount
81John Kastan RC SP
82Harry Minarik RC SP
83Joe Perry
84Buddy Parker RC
85Andy Robustelli RC
86Dub Jones
87Mal Cook
88Billy Stone
89George Taliaferro
90Thomas Johnson RC SP
91Leon Heath SP
92Pete Pihos
93Fred Benners
94George Tarasovic
95Buck Shaw RC
96Bill Wightkin
97John Wozniak
98Bobby Dillon RC
99Joe Stydahar RC SP
100Dick Alban RC SP
101Arnie Weinmeister
102Bobby Cross
103Don Paul DB
104Buddy Young
105Lou Groza
106Ray Pelfrey
107Maurice Nipp
108Hubert Johnston RC SP
109Vol.Quinlan RC SP
110Jack Simmons
111George Ratterman
112John Badaczewski
113Bill Reichardt
114Art Weiner
115Keith Flowers
116Russ Craft
117J.O'Donahue RC SP
118Darrell Hogan SP
119Frank Ziegler
120Dan Towler
121Fred Williams
122Jimmy Phelan
123Eddie Price
124Chet Ostrowski
125Leo Nomellini
126S.Romanik RC SP
127Ollie Matson RC SP
128Dante Lavelli
129Jack Christiansen RC
130Dom Moselle
131John Rapacz
132Chuck Ortmann Error
133Bob Williams
134Chuck Ulrich
135Gene Ronzani RC SP
136Bert Rechichar SP
137Bob Waterfield
138Bobby Walston RC
139Jerry Shipkey
140Yale Lary RC
141Gordy Soltau
142Tom Landry
143John Papit
144Jim Lansford RC SP

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Chris is an avid vintage sports card collector who is The Cardboard Connection's resident expert of all things vintage.

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