1948 Bowman Basketball Cards

1948 Bowman Basketball Cards

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1948 Bowman Basketball card set is the first nationally distributed basketball release. It would also be the only set of basketball cards Bowman ever issued before being sold to Topps in the early 1950s. At the time, professional basketball was still a fairly new and fledgling league. Founded in 1946, the card companies weren't convinced it was worthwhile. After this set, it would be nearly a decade before another national basketball set would be produced.

Measuring 2-1/16 by 2-1/2 inches, the checklist is comprised of players from the Basketball Association of America (BAA), the precursor to the NBA we know today. The set was issued in two series of 36 cards each. The second series is much tougher than the first. It also has the key card of the set, the George Mikan rookie card (#69). He was the first big man of the game and one of the sport's early stars. Other key rookies in 1948 Bowman Basketball are Carl Braun (#72), Joe Fulks (#34), Red Holzman (#32), Jim Pollard(#66), Max Zaslofsky (#55), Andy Phillip (#9), Buddy Jeannette (#38) and Arnie Risen (#58).


Card fronts carried the same basic design Bowman would use for its first series of baseball cards in 1949. A colored black-and-white player picture appeared with a solid-colored background. There are no names, team logos or any writing anywhere on the front. Backs feature a card number and the player's name at the top, followed by his vital statistics. A short biographical career write-up follows. Below that, are details of one of several wrapper redemptions that were available through Bowman.

1948 Bowman Basketball backs are printed in black ink, with the card number and offer details in red. Scattered throughout the set were cards that had diagrams of plays on them, as a way of helping kids understand the fundamentals of the game. The play is then described on the back.

Condition Issues

The 1948 Bowman Basketball card set can be difficult to assemble in high-grade. However, no specific condition issue is common to the entire set. Instead, general wear and tear and the age of the paper stock attribute to their condition. One anomaly that often is seen in the second series are cards missing the solid color background and instead displaying the gray card stock. This is most likely the result of the printing press running out of ink.

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Key Cards

Key 1948 Bowman Basketball Cards

George Mikan RC #69

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Carl Braun RC #72

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Jim Pollard RC #66

1948 Bowman Basketball Cards 21

Joe Fulks RC #34

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William Holzman RC #32

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Set Checklist

1948 Bowman BasketballΒ Set Checklist

Base Set Checklist

Featuring 72 cards

1 Ernie Calverley RC
2 Ralph Hamilton
3 Gale Bishop
4 Fred Lewis RC
5 Basketball Play
6 Bob Feerick RC
7 John Logan
8 Mel Riebe
9 Andy Phillip RC
10 Bob Davies RC
11 Basketball Play
12 Kenny Sailors RC
13 Paul Armstrong
14 Howard Dallmar RC
15 Bruce Hale RC
16 Sid Hertzberg
17 Basketball Play
18 Red Rocha
19 Eddie Ehlers
20 Gene Vance
21 Fuzzy Levane RC
22 Earl Shannon
23 Basketball Play
24 Leo Crystal Klier
25 George Senesky
26 Price Brookfield
27 John Norlander
28 Don Putman
29 Basketball Play
30 Jack Garfinkel
31 Chuck Gilmur
32 Red Holzman RC
33 Jack Smiley
34 Joe Fulks RC
35 Basketball Play
36 Hal Tidrick
37 Don Carlson
38 Buddy Jeannette RC
39 Ray Kuka
40 Stan Miasek
41 Basketball Play
42 George Nostrand
43 Chuck Halbert RC
44 Arnie Johnson
45 Bob Doll
46 Bones McKinney RC
47 Basketball Play
48 Ed Sadowski
49 Bob Kinney
50 Charlie Black
51 Jack Dwan
52 Connie Simmons RC
53 Basketball Play
54 Bud Palmer RC
55 Max Zaslofsky RC
56 Lee Roy Robbins
57 Arthur Spector
58 Arnie Risen RC
59 Basketball Play
60 Ariel Maughan
61 Dick O'Keefe
62 Herman Schaefer
63 John Mahnken
64 Tommy Byrnes
65 Basketball Play
66 Jim Pollard RC
67 Lee Mogus
68 Lee Knorek
69 George Mikan RC
70 Walter Budko
71 Basketball Play
72 Carl Braun RC

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Chris Stufflestreet  |  E-Mail Author
Chris is an avid vintage sports card collector who is The Cardboard Connection's resident expert of all things vintage.

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