Rookie Card Year: 1955
Investment Rating: 8.0
Roberto Clemente is widely considered one of the greatest outfielders in Major League history and has long been a collector favorite. All vintage Roberto Clemente cards are highly coveted, particularly those in stellar condition. Even many of his newer cards continue to find an audience with collectors, especially those with memorabilia and cut signatures.
The Hall of Famer's life and career were cut short following a tragic plane crash in 1972. Clemente was on his way to help earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Clemente finished his career with exactly 3,000 hits. He also helped lead the Pirates to a 1971 World Series win. Because of his untimely death, there are very little autographed materials available. A native of Puerto Rico, Clemente was also known to be reluctant to sign autographs in his playing days.
Like Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente's lone rookie card is in 1955 Topps Baseball. However, the Roberto Clemente card checks in at almost double the value of the Koufax. Despite not being true RC's, Clemente does have two other cards that were distributed prior to his official rookie card. They are 1947-66 Exhibits #44, and the 1947-66 PM10 Stadium Pins #33.
Roberto Clemente Rookie Cards
Roberto Clemente's 1955 Topps rookie card is the clear-cut winner from the classic set. The horizontal card has a profile shot of Clemente. His smile comes across more like a grimace. The Roberto Clemente card also him in a hunched batting stance and a Pirates logo that does not seem to go with the design. Centering issues are a major problem for the card. Professionally graded copies in mint condition are extremely rare.
1962 TOPPS ROBERTO CLEMENTE #10 PIRATES VG+ (ref 1978)
ROBERTO CLEMENTE 1998 TOPPS CLEMENTE #15 GRADED CARD GEM MINT 9.5
1971 MILK DUDS ROBERTO CLEMENTE SP EXMT D2126
1969 TOPPS #50 ROBERTO CLEMENTE PIRATES
Roberto Clemente Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what Roberto Clemente's authentic 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.
Roberto Clemente Cut Signature Exemplar:
Roberto Clemente Key Signature Attributes: Great caution should be practiced when looking to purchase authentic Roberto Clemente autographed memorabilia. His untimely death, at an early age, created an obvious shortage of material to meet demand. As a result, Clemente's signature is regularly forged. An authentic Roberto Clemente 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 with a well crafted elegance, in cursive with Latin influences.
- The first letter, "R" resembles something close to a "B", he would often sign "Bob" instead of "Roberto" - The "R" looks like a "3" woth a round oval at the bottom; two small circles to the left are very unique.
- The letters "o-b-e-r-t-0" are fluid; the "o" and "b" are both left slightly open.
- The pen lifts to start the "e" which is implied more than legible.
- The "r" is discernible, while the "t" is on crossed.
- The last "o" is unusually written high on the signing plane and very small.
- The "C" resembles what might also be mistaken as an "E" with two small loops and a trailing tail down and to the left.
- The pen lifts and draws the "l" as a straight line, albeit on an angle.
- The "e"'s in the last name are different, with the first resembling the second "r" in of his first name.
- The letters "m-e-n" are legible with the "e" being somewhat implied.
- The pen lifts again for another uncrossed "t" with a curlycue at the bottom and then a small dash line to finish the signature.
Roberto Clemente Signed Baseball Pricing:
Roberto Clemente Signed Baseball Photographs:
Roberto Clemente Cut Signature Pricing:
For general information on Roberto Clemente including his career player statistics visit: