1952 Topps Baseball Cards

1952 Topps Baseball Cards


Product Details

Manufactured by the Topps Gum Company, 1952 Topps Baseball is considered by many collectors and baseball historians to be the most important post-war baseball card set ever produced. The vision of Sy Berger and designer Woody Gelman, '52 Topps ultimately earned Berger the nickname, " The Father of Modern Baseball Cards." The 407-card set was the largest set ever produced at the time of its release.

History in the Making

Representing a complete turnaround from the company's ill conceived product and design concept the prior year, the 1952 Topps Baseball set laid the foundation for what would become the modern trading card. In addition to the larger checklist, the design of the cards themselves featured full team logos, colorized black-and-white photography and most interestingly, a facsimile signature of the player taken directly from their player contract with Topps.

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The card backs featured statistics and biographical information about the players, a component that would become very important in helping to connect the depicted players with their targeted market, children. Many collectors can attest to the fact that the backs of trading cards not only helped them learn about their favorite players, but also made rudimentary educational skills like reading and math a fun and tangible part of their collecting experience.

As was common at the time, the 1952 Topps Baseball set was produced in six different series. Conscientious of costs, Topps would produce the later series cards in a much shorter quantity due to kids returning to school, the baseball season ending and sports fans attention turning to football. In an effort to bolster sales, it was also customary to hold back the production of some popular players until a later series. As a result of this practice, the key card in the set and by far the most valuable and recognizable, is the rookie card of none other than Mickey Mantle which appears as card #311 on the set's checklist.

The Perfect Storm

When the hobby went through its resurgence in the 1980s, it was this set and the Mickey Mantle card that helped spark the era of over-production. This came about as a direct result of economic conditions faced by Americans at the onset of the 1980s. Wealthy individuals began to hedge their assets from hyper-inflation by investing in tangible goods like gold, art, and yes, even baseball cards.

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When Mickey Mantle rookie cards in mint condition hit the auction circuit and saw realized prices of tens of thousands of dollars, it seemed everyone wanted to be the one to cash in on "the next" Mickey Mantle. As most collectors know, the perfect storm that resulted never really panned out to anyone's expectations.

Folklore and Legends

No one but the Yankees' scouting department could foresee just what a legendary figure "The Mick" would become, not even the set's architect, Sy Berger. It's been long said that Berger, stuck with several unsold pallets of high-numbered series cases, dumped the cards into the Hudson River with a forklift. This disturbing fact haunts collectors to this day, knowing that one of the most valuable baseball cards ever made likely has several dozen examples entombed in a watery grave.

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Distributed in packs of five cards for a nickel, it's amazing to think that at one time, these pieces of cardboard treasure cost just a penny a piece. The simple nostalgia that is generated by this set of baseball cards stretches well beyond heavily invested veterans of the hobby. With its iconic design and deep-seeded checklist of some of the game's all-time greats, 1952 Topps Baseball cards have come to define not just an era of collecting but a simpler time in American history. Transcending sports, many of the players depicted in the set became true icons of pop culture during the 1950s.

A Closer Look

While scarcity, condition and desirability are all primary factors that account for the popularity and value of 1952 Topps Baseball, other issues play into and account for its longstanding appeal. Filled with oddities unique to the set, variations of several different cards exist giving rise to an even more intricate chase for master set collectors. For example, due to these variations that include several different printing errors, there are actually 552 total cards to be found in completing a master 1952 Topps set. Some of the variations are in such short supply that it is almost impossible to accomplish this enormous task.

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Some of the nuances are easily spotted, as is the case with cards #131 to #190, which can be found with both white backs and gray backs. Others aren't as easily noticeable. Take, for instance, Frank Campos' card (#307).  Just below the stats, towards the bottom of the card, the typical red star to the right of the words "Topps Baseball" was printed in black. A minuscule difference, but the card is considered a legitimate variation nonetheless. The card actually sells in the mid-five figures on the secondary market during the rare occasions that it surfaces.

Other valuable 1952 Topps Baseball variations include the error cards for Joe Page and Johnny Sain. The bio portion of the card backs mixed up the two former players, but there is a more common version for each that features the correct backs.

In total, there are 145 total variations, or more than 25% of the standard 407-card set. As a result, you could write an entire book on the subject. Not even the venerable Mickey Mantle card escaped the gremlins of the Topps printing presses. His card variation includes the following identifiers: darker skin tone, a white printing dot alongside the left border, no black border around the Yankees logo, and the last "E" in his signature ends with the line pointing down.

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Key Cards

Key 1952 Topps Baseball Cards

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Set Checklist

1952 Topps Baseball Set Checklist

Short prints (SP) are noted below.
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1 Andy Pafko
2 Pete Runnels RC
3 Hank Thompson
4 Don Lenhardt
5 Larry Jansen
6 Grady Hatton
7 Wayne Terwilliger
8 Fred Marsh RC
9 Bobby Hogue RC
10 Al Rosen
11 Phil Rizzuto
12 Monty Basgall RC
13 Johnny Wyrostek
14 Bob Elliott
15 Johnny Pesky
16 Gene Hermanski
17 Jim Hegan
18 Merrill Combs RC
19 Johnny Bucha RC
20 Billy Loes RC
21 Ferris Fain
22 Dom DiMaggio
23 Billy Goodman
24 Luke Easter
25 Johnny Groth
26 Monte Irvin
27 Sam Jethroe
28 Jerry Priddy
29 Ted Kluszewski
30 Mel Parnell
31 Gus Zernial
32 Eddie Robinson
33 Warren Spahn
34 Elmer Valo
35 Hank Sauer
36 Gil Hodges
37 Duke Snider
38 Wally Westlake
39 Dizzy Trout
40 Irv Noren
41 Bob Wellman RC
42 Lou Kretlow RC
43 Ray Scarborough
44 Con Dempsey RC
45 Eddie Joost
46 Gordon Goldsberry RC
47 Willie Jones
48 Joe Page - Error
48 Joe Page - Corrected
49 Johnny Sain - Error
49 Johnny Sain - Corrected
50 Marv Rickert RC
51 Jim Russell
52 Don Mueller
53 Chris Van Cuyk RC
54 Leo Kiely
55 Ray Boone
56 Tommy Glaviano
57 Ed Lopat
58 Bob Mahoney RC
59 Robin Roberts
60 Sid Hudson
61 Tookie Gilbert
62 Chuck Stobbs RC
63 Howie Pollet
64 Roy Sievers
65 Enos Slaughter
66 Preacher Roe
67 Allie Reynolds
68 Cliff Chambers
69 Virgil Stallcup
70 Al Zarilla
71 Tom Upton RC
72 Karl Olson RC
73 Bill Werle
74 Andy Hansen RC
75 Wes Westrum
76 Eddie Stanky
77 Bob Kennedy
78 Ellis Kinder
79 Jerry Staley
80 Herm Wehmeier
81 Vern Law
82 Duane Pillette
83 Billy Johnson
84 Vern Stephens
85 Bob Kuzava
86 Ted Gray
87 Dale Coogan
88 Bob Feller
89 Johnny Lipon
90 Mickey Grasso
91 Red Schoendienst
92 Dale Mitchell
93 Al Sima RC
94 Sam Mele
95 Ken Holcombe
96 Willard Marshall
97 Earl Torgeson
98 Billy Pierce
99 Gene Woodling
100 Del Rice
101 Max Lanier
102 Bill Kennedy
103 Cliff Mapes
104 Don Kolloway
105 Johnny Pramesa
106 Mickey Vernon
107 Connie Ryan
108 Jim Konstanty
109 Ted Wilks
110 Dutch Leonard
111 Peanuts Lowrey
112 Hank Majeski
113 Dick Sisler
114 Willard Ramsdell
115 Red Munger
116 Carl Scheib
117 Sherm Lollar
118 Ken Raffensberger
119 Mickey McDermott
120 Bob Chakales RC
121 Gus Niarhos
122 Jackie Jensen
123 Eddie Yost
124 Monte Kennedy
125 Bill Rigney
126 Fred Hutchinson
127 Paul Minner RC
128 Don Bollweg RC
129 Johnny Mize
130 Sheldon Jones
131 Morrie Martin RC
132 Clyde Kluttz RC
133 Al Widmar
134 Joe Tipton
135 Dixie Howell
136 Johnny Schmitz
137 Roy McMillan RC
138 Bill MacDonald
139 Ken Wood
140 Johnny Antonelli
141 Clint Hartung
142 Harry Perkowski RC
143 Les Moss
144 Ed Blake RC
145 Joe Haynes
146 Frank House RC
147 Bobby Young RC
148 Johnny Klippstein
149 Dick Kryhoski
150 Ted Beard
151 Wally Post RC
152 Al Evans
153 Bob Rush
154 Joe Muir RC
155 Frank Overmire
156 Frank Hiller RC
157 Bob Usher
158 Eddie Waitkus
159 Saul Rogovin RC
160 Owen Friend
161 Bud Byerly RC
162 Del Crandall
163 Stan Rojek
164 Walt Dubiel
165 Eddie Kazak
166 Paul LaPalme RC
167 Bill Howerton
168 Charlie Silvera RC
169 Howie Judson
170 Gus Bell
171 Ed Erautt RC
172 Eddie Miksis
173 Roy Smalley
174 Cuddles Marshall RC
175 Billy Martin RC
176 Hank Edwards
177 Bill Wight
178 Cass Michaels
179 Frank Smith RC
180 Charlie Maxwell RC
181 Bob Swift
182 Billy Hitchcock
183 Erv Dusak
184 Bob Ramazzotti
185 Bill Nicholson
186 Walt Masterson
187 Bob Miller
188 Bud Podbielan RC
189 Pete Reiser
190 Don Johnson RC
191 Yogi Berra
192 Myron Ginsberg RC
193 Harry Simpson RC
194 Joe Hatten
195 Minnie Minoso RC
196 Solly Hemus RC
197 George Strickland RC
198 Phil Haugstad RC
199 George Zuverink RC
200 Ralph Houk RC
201 Alex Kellner
202 Joe Collins RC
203 Curt Simmons
204 Ron Northey
205 Clyde King
206 Joe Ostrowski RC
207 Mickey Harris
208 Marlin Stuart RC
209 Howie Fox
210 Dick Fowler
211 Ray Coleman
212 Ned Garver
213 Nippy Jones
214 Johnny Hopp
215 Hank Bauer
216 Richie Ashburn
217 George Stirnweiss
218 Clyde McCullough
219 Bobby Shantz
220 Joe Presko RC
221 Granny Hamner
222 Hoot Evers
223 Del Ennis
224 Bruce Edwards
225 Frank Baumholtz
226 Dave Philley
227 Joe Garagiola
228 Al Brazle
229 Gene Bearden
230 Matt Batts
231 Sam Zoldak
232 Billy Cox
233 Bob Friend RC
234 Steve Souchock RC
235 Walt Dropo
236 Ed Fitz Gerald
237 Jerry Coleman
238 Art Houtteman
239 Rocky Bridges RC
240 Jack Phillips RC
241 Tommy Byrne
242 Tom Poholsky RC
243 Larry Doby
244 Vic Wertz
245 Sherry Robertson
246 George Kell
247 Randy Gumpert
248 Spec Shea
249 Bobby Adams
250 Carl Erskine
251 Chico Carrasquel
252 Vern Bickford
253 Johnny Berardino
254 Joe Dobson
255 Clyde Vollmer
256 Pete Suder
257 Bobby Avila
258 Steve Gromek
259 Bob Addis RC
260 Pete Castiglione
261 Willie Mays
262 Virgil Trucks
263 Harry Brecheen
264 Roy Hartsfield
265 Chuck Diering
266 Murry Dickson
267 Sid Gordon
268 Bob Lemon
269 Willard Nixon
270 Lou Brissie
271 Jim Delsing
272 Mike Garcia
273 Erv Palica
274 Ralph Branca
275 Pat Mullin
276 Jim Wilson RC
277 Earl Wilson
278 Allie Clark
279 Bud Stewart
280 Cloyd Boyer
281 Tommy Brown SP
282 Birdie Tebbetts SP
283 Phil Masi SP
284 Hank Arft SP
285 Cliff Fannin SP
286 Joe DeMaestri RC SP
287 Steve Bilko SP
288 Chet Nichols RC SP
289 Tommy Holmes
290 Joe Astroth SP
291 Gil Coan SP
292 Floyd Baker SP
293 Sibby Sisti SP
294 Walker Cooper SP
295 Phil Cavarretta
296 Red Rolfe
297 Andy Seminick SP
298 Bob Ross RC SP
299 Ray Murray RC SP
300 Barney McCosky SP
301 Bob Porterfield
302 Max Surkont RC
303 Harry Dorish
304 Sam Dente
305 Paul Richards
306 Lou Sleater RC
307 Frank Campos RC
308 Luis Aloma
309 Jim Busby
310 George Metkovich
311 Mickey Mantle
312 Jackie Robinson
313 Bobby Thomson
314 Roy Campanella
315 Leo Durocher
316 Davey Williams RC
317 Connie Marrero
318 Hal Gregg RC
319 Rube Walker RC
320 John Rutherford RC
321 Joe Black RC
322 Randy Jackson RC
323 Bubba Church
324 Warren Hacker
325 Bill Serena
326 George Shuba RC
327 Archie Wilson RC
328 Bob Borkowski RC
329 Ike Delock RC
330 Turk Lown RC
331 Tom Morgan RC
332 Tony Bartirome RC
333 Pee Wee Reese
334 Wilmer Mizell RC
335 Ted Lepcio RC
336 Dave Koslo
337 Jim Hearn
338 Sal Yvars RC
339 Russ Meyer
340 Bob Hooper
341 Hal Jeffcoat
342 Clem Labine RC
343 Dick Gernert RC
344 Ewell Blackwell
345 Sammy White RC
346 George Spencer RC
347 Joe Adcock
348 Bob Kelly RC
349 Bob Cain
350 Cal Abrams
351 Alvin Dark
352 Karl Drews
353 Bobby Del Greco RC
354 Fred Hatfield RC
355 Bobby Morgan
356 Toby Atwell RC
357 Smoky Burgess
358 John Kucab RC
359 Dee Fondy RC
360 George Crowe RC
361 Bill Posedel
362 Ken Heintzelman
363 Dick Rozek RC
364 Clyde Sukeforth RC
365 Cookie Lavagetto
366 Dave Madison RC
367 Bob Thorpe RC
368 Ed Wright RC
369 Dick Groat RC
370 Billy Hoeft RC
371 Bobby Hofman
372 Gil McDougald RC
373 Jim Turner RC
374 Al Benton RC
375 Jack Merson RC
376 Faye Throneberry RC
377 Chuck Dressen MG
378 Les Fusselman RC
379 Joe Rossi RC
380 Clem Koshorek RC
381 Milton Stock RC
382 Sam Jones RC
383 Del Wilber RC
384 Frankie Crosetti
385 Herman Franks RC
386 Eddie Yuhas RC
387 Billy Meyer MG
388 Bob Chipman
389 Ben Wade RC
390 Rocky Nelson RC
391 Ben Chapman
392 Hoyt Wilhelm RC
393 Ebba St. Claire RC
394 Billy Herman
395 Jake Pitler
396 Dick Williams RC
397 Forrest Main RC
398 Hal Rice
399 Jim Fridley RC
400 Bill Dickey
401 Bob Schultz RC
402 Earl Harrist RC
403 Bill Miller RC
404 Dick Brodowski RC
405 Eddie Pellagrini
406 Joe Nuxhall RC
407 Eddie Mathews RC

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User Reviews

  1. Still my favorite set of all-time! The Jackie Robinson and Mantle are especially beautiful.

  2. The 1952 Topps set is the most difficult of all Topps sets to complete, with different levels of scarcity (#1-80, 81-250, 251-310, 311-407). There are a few stars lacking in this set (Kiner, Musial, Williams, among others). Only those lucky few who have deep pockets can afford to complete (or buy) the set.

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