Rookie Card Year: 1949
Investment Rating: 10.0 (Exceptional)
No other player in the history Major League Baseball has made as significant a contribution to America's national pastime as Jackie Robinson. The first African-American player to play in the Majors, his resilient determination paved the way for numerous other Negro League players to cross the color barrier. It's not surprising that Jackie Robinson cards and memorabilia remain some of the most popular and respected in the hobby.
Hobbyists would be remiss in thinking that Robinson's contributions to the game were strictly sociological. A Hall of Famer in his own right, Robinson played in six World Series, including 1955 when his Brooklyn Dodgers won it all. A six-time All-Star, the 1947 Rookie of the Year and the National League's MVP in 1949 are just a few of his accomplishments. A gifted athlete who excelled at all aspects of the game, Robinson was a prototypical five-tool player long before the term was part of a baseball scout's official lexicon. Robinson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962 behind career numbers that included a .311 lifetime batting average, 1,518 hits, 734 runs and 197 stolen bases. So significant were Robinson's contributions that Major League Baseball universally retired his jersey number, 42, in 1997.
Jackie Robinson cards and memorabilia are highly sought after in almost any condition. Because of his importance to the game, many of his game-used items are housed in baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Even his Negro League pieces from his days with the Kansas City Monarchs command top dollar on the rare occasions they reach the secondary market. Some of his most popular items are his rookie cards, team-signed baseballs from 1955 and single-signed baseballs. Additionally, despite debuting in 1947, there were no mainstream cards printed that year. A regional food release from the Bond Bread Company did include Robinson in their 13-card set. Because of their rarity, these cards are highly collectible despite not being officially recognized as rookie cards.
Jackie Robinson Rookie Cards
Featuring a full head shot against a yellow background, the color contrast of the Dodger blue and the regal yellow makes for a very striking card. Robinson is pictured with his laid back, signature smile. The 1948 Leaf Baseball Jackie Robinson rookie card rarely, if ever, sells for under four figures, no matter the condition. There is some debate over whether to call this a 1948 or 1949 card due to its release date. However, this card is widely recognized as being Robinson's most iconic card and seen by most as his rookie card.
Similar in size to the Leaf card, at 2-1/16" x 2-1/2" the Bowman card uses a contrast of red and blue that displays well but much less so than Robinson's other rookie card. Slightly more affordable, the 1949 Bowman is still a collector favorite. Because of the debate surrounding his 1948 Leaf card, this card's status as an official rookie card is debatable.
Jackie Robinson Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what an authentic Jackie Robinson signature looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Some of the trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market for authentic Jackie Robinson autographs are PSA and JSA.
Jackie Robinson Cut Signature Exemplar:
Jackie Robinson Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Jackie Robinson signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:
- The signature is written on an even horizontal plane.
- Written in cursive, each letter is legible.
- The letter "J" is over-sized compared to the others; both loops are closed with the bottom more narrow then the top.
- The pen does not lift except for between names and their are no visible starts, stops or hesitations.
- The letters "a-c-k" are easily read with the "a" not always being closed and the "k" showing a small loop.
- The letter "i" in both the first name are dotted but haphazardly (not always above the letter).
- The letter "R" contains a closed loop as do the letters "o" and "b."
- The remaining letters are legible with the second "o" being closed similar to the first.
- Often times the second letter "n" is slightly wider than the first.
Other Jackie Robinson Signature Analysis Notes:
- When examining any, alleged, Jackie Robinson signed item, it is important to remember that Robinson died relatively young so keep in perspective the age of items.
- Is the ink ball point? It was the only type of pen available during his lifetime.
- Paper documents will, and should, show age and even yellowing and can be almost brittle.
- With regards to team signed items - Were the the other players on the item actually on the team?
- Jackie Robinson, rarely signed the sweet spot of a baseball.
Jackie Robinson Signed Memorabilia Pricing:
Jackie Robinson Autograph Gallery
Jackie Robinson Figure Guide
Jackie Robinson's heroic contributions to the game of baseball, coupled with his brilliant playing career have insured that he has had numerous 3D likenesses created through the years. Robinson has had figures produced by McFarlane, Starting Lineup, SGA and Danbury Mint, to name a few. Here is a look at some of his most popular pieces.
1994 Starting Lineup
1999 Starting Lineup
2006 McFarlane Cooperstown
2005 SGA Stadium Giveaway
1996 Starting Lineup
1997 Starting Lineup 12"
2006 McFarlane Sepia Tone Variant
1999 Danbury Mint
Be sure to check out our other Jackie Robinson baseball card guides:
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