1953 Bowman Baseball Cards

1953 Bowman Baseball Cards


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The 1953 Bowman Color Baseball card set is considered by many collectors to be one of the most beautiful trading card sets ever produced. Relying solely on full-color photographs, this was the first time Bowman utilized this medium in a trading card set. Bowman also released the lesser-known Black & White set the same year.

Forgoing traditional aspects of card design, the 1953 Bowman Color fronts lack any writing whatsoever. The unencumbered player image stands alone in vivid color, allowing collectors to examine every detail of the photograph. Measuring  2-1/2" by 3-3/4", this slightly over-sized dimension permits the photography to truly stand out as if each card were a miniature canvas.

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At just 160 total cards, 1953 Bowman Color is one of the smallest sets the company ever made and was printed in two separate series. Card numbers #1-112 constitute the first series or "low numbers" and card numbers #113-160 comprise the second series or "high numbers." Set builders will often find that the high number cards are extremely difficult to find with good centering, making the task of building a high-grade set very costly in time and money.

The 1953 Bowman Color checklist is dotted with Hall of Fame players, including popular cards for Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra. While certainly not his last baseball card, 1953 served as the final appearance of Stan Musial in a Bowman set. Fittingly, it is considered by vintage collectors to be his best looking card of all-time.

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Although the majority of the cards feature single players, the New York Yankees receive an additional focus in 1953 Bowman Color. An intriguing card combines a trio of Yankees stars with Yogi Berra, Hank Bauer and Mickey Mantle. Teammates Billy Martin and Phil Rizzuto are also paired on another combo card in the set.

Interestingly enough, however, Bowman also produced a 64-card set done entirely in black-and-white photography that same year. No explanation is available for the two different and very contrasting sets. It is believed that the Black & White cards were originally intended to be be a third color series, but Bowman instead decided to reduce costs by printing the cards without color and numbering them #1-64. Supporting that theory, the overall card design is virtually identical except for the lack of color.

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While the color set is loaded with household names, the Black & White set consists primarily of lesser-known players. Key Hall of Fame options include Bob Lemon and Casey Stengel. Although not designed or intended to be assembled as a complete set, many treat the entire 1953 Bowman production run as such.

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Key Cards

Key 1953 Bowman Baseball Cards

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#33 Pee Wee Reese

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Set Checklist

1953 Bowman Baseball Set Checklist

1953 Bowman Color Baseball

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 1 Davey Williams
2 Vic Wertz
3 Sam Jethroe
4 Art Houtteman
5 Sid Gordon
6 Joe Ginsberg
7 Harry Chiti RC
8 Al Rosen
9 Phil Rizzuto
10 Richie Ashburn
11 Bobby Shantz
12 Carl Erskine
13 Gus Zernial
14 Billy Loes
15 Jim Busby
16 Bob Friend
17 Jerry Staley
18 Nellie Fox
19 Alvin Dark
20 Don Lenhardt
21 Joe Garagiola
22 Bob Porterfield
23 Herm Wehmeier
24 Jackie Jensen
25 Hoot Evers
26 Roy McMillan
27 Vic Raschi
28 Smoky Burgess
29 Bobby Avila
30 Phil Cavarretta
31 Jimmie Dykes
32 Stan Musial
33 Pee Wee Reese
34 Gil Coan
35 Mickey McDermott
36 Minnie Minoso
37 Jim Wilson
38 Harry Byrd RC
39 Paul Richards
40 Larry Doby
41 Sammy White
42 Tommy Brown
43 Mike Garcia
44 Yogi Berra, Hank Bauer, Mickey Mantle
45 Walt Dropo
46 Roy Campanella
47 Ned Garver
48 Hank Sauer
49 Eddie Stanky
50 Lou Kretlow
51 Monte Irvin
52 Marty Marion
53 Del Rice
54 Chico Carrasquel
55 Leo Durocher
56 Bob Cain
57 Lou Boudreau
58 Willard Marshall
59 Mickey Mantle
60 Granny Hamner
61 George Kell
62 Ted Kluszewski
63 Gil McDougald
64 Curt Simmons
65 Robin Roberts
66 Mel Parnell
67 Mel Clark RC
68 Allie Reynolds
69 Charlie Grimm
70 Clint Courtney RC
71 Paul Minner
72 Ted Gray
73 Billy Pierce
74 Don Mueller
75 Saul Rogovin
76 Jim Hearn
77 Mickey Grasso
78 Carl Furillo
79 Ray Boone
80 Ralph Kiner
 81 Enos Slaughter
82 Joe Astroth
83 Jack Daniels RC
84 Hank Bauer
85 Solly Hemus
86 Harry Simpson
87 Harry Perkowski
88 Joe Dobson
89 Sandy Consuegra
90 Joe Nuxhall
91 Steve Souchock
92 Gil Hodges
93 Billy Martin, Phil Rizzuto
94 Bob Addis
95 Wally Moses
96 Sal Maglie
97 Eddie Mathews
98 Hector Rodriguez RC
99 Warren Spahn
100 Bill Wight
101 Red Schoendienst
102 Jim Hegan
103 Del Ennis
104 Luke Easter
105 Eddie Joost
106 Ken Raffensberger
107 Alex Kellner
108 Bobby Adams
109 Ken Wood
110 Bob Rush
111 Jim Dyck RC
112 Toby Atwell
113 Karl Drews
114 Bob Feller
115 Cloyd Boyer
116 Eddie Yost
117 Duke Snider
118 Billy Martin
119 Dale Mitchell
120 Marlin Stuart
121 Yogi Berra
122 Bill Serena
123 Johnny Lipon
124 Chuck Dressen
125 Fred Hatfield
126 Al Corwin
127 Dick Kryhoski
128 Whitey Lockman
129 Russ Meyer
130 Cass Michaels
131 Connie Ryan
132 Fred Hutchinson
133 Willie Jones
134 Johnny Pesky
135 Bobby Morgan
136 Jim Brideweser RC
137 Sam Dente
138 Bubba Church
139 Pete Runnels
140 Al Brazle
141 Spec Shea
142 Larry Miggins RC
143 Al Lopez
144 Warren Hacker
145 George Shuba
146 Early Wynn
147 Clem Koshorek
148 Billy Goodman
149 Al Corwin
150 Carl Scheib
151 Joe Adcock
152 Clyde Vollmer
153 Whitey Ford
154 Turk Lown
155 Allie Clark
156 Max Surkont
157 Sherm Lollar
158 Howie Fox
159 Mickey Vernon
160 Cal Abrams

1953 Bowman Black & White Baseball

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 1 Gus Bell
2 Willard Nixon
3 Bill Rigney
4 Pat Mullin
5 Dee Fondy
6 Ray Murray
7 Andy Seminick
8 Pete Suder
9 Walt Masterson
10 Dick Sisler
11 Dick Gernert
12 Randy Jackson
13 Joe Tipton
14 Bill Nicholson
15 Johnny Mize
16 Stu Miller RC
17 Virgil Trucks
18 Billy Hoeft
19 Paul LaPalme
20 Eddie Robinson
21 Bud Podbielan
22 Matt Batts
23 Wilmer Mizell
24 Del Wilber
25 Johnny Sain
26 Preacher Roe
27 Bob Lemon
28 Hoyt Wilhelm
29 Sid Hudson
30 Walker Cooper
31 Gene Woodling
32 Rocky Bridges
33 Bob Kuzava
 34 Ebba St. Claire
35 Johnny Wyrostek
36 Jim Piersall
37 Hal Jeffcoat
38 Dave Cole
39 Casey Stengel
40 Larry Jansen
41 Bob Ramazzotti
42 Howie Judson
43 Hal Bevan RC - 1930 Birth Year
43 Hal Bevan RC - 1950 Birth Year
44 Jim Delsing
45 Irv Noren
46 Bucky Harris
47 Jack Lohrke
48 Steve Ridzik RC
49 Floyd Baker
50 Dutch Leonard
51 Lew Burdette
52 Ralph Branca
53 Morrie Martin
54 Bill Miller
55 Don Johnson
56 Roy Smalley
57 Andy Pafko
58 Jim Konstanty
59 Duane Pillette
60 Billy Cox
61 Tom Gorman RC
62 Keith Thomas RC
63 Steve Gromek
64 Andy Hansen

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Rob Bertrand
Rob is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff and co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio.He is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby.

User Reviews

  1. This set ranks right up there with T206, ’52 Topps, ’33 Goudey and ’57 Topps for design and overall visual appeal. When I was a kid I was a little put off it because I didn’t know the merely good players by sight (Allie Reynolds? How am I supposed to know THAT?). Time and practice (and years of reading and collecting) eased up that one minor critique. For pure visual appeal I’d rank the “color” set #2 all time behind the T206s.

  2. as a professional photographer, this is my all time favorite set. the portraits and action shots both are done so well. I wonder who the photographer(s) were, interesting

  3. The 1953 Bowman baseball card set consists of 2 different sets: the 1953 color set (#1-160) and the 1953 B&W set (#1-64). I think the 1953 color set is one of the most beautiful bubble gum card sets ever produced. It certainly was revolutionary for its time, as it was the first time that full-color photos were used in baseball cards, instead of just drawings or colorized b&w photos. The 1953 color set is a very difficult set to complete. Only those collectors with deep pockets can afford to buy or put together the 1953 complete color set. I was never crazy about the B&W set, so for many years, I did not buy any cards from the 1953 B&W set. The 1953 B&W set is even more difficult to complete than the color set. I don’t know if I will eventually complete the 1953 color set, as I am missing just 15 cards. Most of those 15 cards I am missing are quite expensive: Mantle, Reese, Musial, Snider, Feller, Ford, Berra, Mathews, etc.

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