Rookie Card Year: 1948
Investment Rating: 7.5
Yogi Berra is a big name in baseball history for a reason. Although he never put up tremendous batting statistics like other high-profile players from this period of baseball, his consistent hitting, incredible postseason success, and excellence as a catcher, place him in a special group. He is also well-known for his many "Yogi-isms." Yogi Berra's vintage baseball cards are particularly popular with collectors, as is his signed memorabilia.
Born Lawrence Peter Berra, Yogi Berra ended his playing career as a highly-decorated ballplayer. In 19 seasons, Berra totaled 18 All-Star appearances, three AL MVP Awards, and he helped lead the New York Yankees to ten World Series Championships. He would also lead the Yankees and New York Mets to World Series titles as a coach and manager in later years. Yogi Berra was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Yogi Berra remains an appealing signer and autographed items are in good supply. Prices are not cheap, but they remain reasonable given his relevance to the game.
While his official rookie card is found in 1948 Bowman, several other early options exist and are documented below. Be aware that reprints are common amongst early Yogi Berra cards.
Yogi Berra Rookie Cards
Measuring 2-1/4" x 3-1/2", this black-and-white card predates his official Bowman rookie card. The card shows a young-looking Yogi Berra posing with a forced smile. Found in packages of Homogenized Bond Bread, the unnumbered cards include rounded edges and a blank back. The card front lists him as Larry Berra.
Also released before the Bowman rookie, Yogi Berra's Tip Top card was another card found in bread packages. The card measures 2-1/4" x 3" and is unnumbered. Like the Homogenized Bond Bread card, this card lists him as Larry Berra. The card back includes a full advertisement for Tip Top Bread.
While both the 1947 releases are popular with collectors, the 1948 Bowman Yogi Berra rookie card is the clear favorite. Checking in at 2-1/16" x 2-1/2", the card showcases a more lively image than the previous cards. Raw cards with some wear can be found for under $100 and high grade versions can push into the thousands.
1965 TOPPS YOGI BERRA #470 (50.00) NRMT SCC9330
1952 Topps #191 Yogi Berra BVG 3 VG HOF Yankees
1953 Topps #104 Yogi Berra VGEX
1953 Bowman Color Baseball #44 Mickey Mantle Yogi Berra Hank Bauer PSA 4 VGEX
Yogi Berra Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what Yogi Berra'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. Some of the trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market include the following companies: PSA, JSA, and Mounted Memories.
Yogi Berra Cut Signature Exemplar:
Yogi Berra Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Yogi Berra 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 begins with an oversized "Y" and immediately transitions to the "i", omitting "o-g".
- The "Y" includes an elongated swoop and the "i" is dotted.
- Occasionally, the "i" will be written inside the "Y".
- The "i" resembles a downward-facing fish, with the dot on the end.
- Smaller than the "Y", but larger than any other letter, the "B" starts the second part of the signature.
- The "e" is clearly legible, while the "r-r" is distinguishable.
- The "a" is not as discernible, but it finishes the signature with a more subtle notation and can swoop back as far as the first "r".
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