Rookie Card Year: 1939
Investment Rating: 7.5
Joe DiMaggio is another in the line of legendary players that formerly patrolled the outfield for the New York Yankees. The center fielder played his entire 13-year career with the Yankees and is most known for his 56-game hitting streak that still stands today. His elite play and mainstream relevance ensures that Joe DiMaggio cards and memorabilia will remain popular with collectors.
In addition to the aforementioned hitting streak, Joe DiMaggio was a 13-time All-Star, three-time AL MVP and part of nine World Series titles with the Yankees. Widely known as "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," DiMaggio was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.
While 13 seasons does not sound like a lot for a Hall of Fame player, Joe DiMaggio lost three seasons in his prime (1943-1945), because he was enlisted in the US Air Force for the end of World War II. He never saw combat and was stationed in the U.S. the entire time. Outside of the diamond, DiMaggio was also well-known for his on-and-off relationship with Marilyn Monroe and has been featured in many avenues of pop culture. He died in 1999 from lung cancer at the age of 84.
Although he started his MLB career in 1936, Joe DiMaggio's rookie card was not released until 1939. There were multiple cards released before then, which includes his 1936 R312 Pastel and his 1936 World Wide Gum #51 card. Many collectors treat these as his true rookie cards.
Joe DiMaggio Rookie Card Checklist
1938 Goudey Heads-Up offers collectors a unique and slightly creepy option for early Joe DiMaggio cards. His official rookie card would not be released for another year. The two cards are basically the same, except card #274 has additional captions around the image of DiMaggio.
As his only official rookie card, 1939 Play Ball remains one of the top Joe DiMaggio cards available. Featuring a black-and-white image and nothing else on the front, high grade versions of this basic card can push well into the four figures.
Joe DiMaggio Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find examples of what an authentic Joe DiMaggio autograph 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 include the following companies: PSA, JSA, Steiner, Tristar and Mounted Memories. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Joe DiMaggio Cut Signature Exemplar
Joe DiMaggio Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Joe DiMaggio signature will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:
- The long signature begins a large cursive "J"
- The pen lifts and then adds the "o-e"
- Next, a cursive "D" starts the last name
- The pen lifts again and the "i" is implied as it transitions into the "m"
- The remaining letters - "a-g-g-i-o" - are all legible
- Both of the "i" letters are dotted and another dot can usually be seen below the second "i"
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