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1959 Topps Football Cards

1959 Topps Football Cards

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1959  Topps Football was the company's largest to date. With a checklist of 176 cards, measuring the standard 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches, Topps showed they were in the market to stay. The set is anchored by a lengthy list of future Hall of Fame players including Jim Brown (#10), Frank Gifford (#20), Bart Starr (#23) and Johnny Unitas (#1) and Paul Hornung (#82), to name a few. The 1959 Topps Football rookie crop includes Sam Huff (#51), Jim Taylor (#155), Max McGee (#4), Alex Karras (#103), Jerry Kramer (#116), Jim Parker (#132) and Bobby Mitchell (#140).


1959 Topps Football cards feature a colorful design with a player photograph that was usually a head-and-shoulders shot, but sometimes a full-body posed image were also used. The player is then superimposed over a fabric-type, solid-colored background. The background colors vary between pink, green, blue and yellow. A team logo is also placed somewhere inside the picture. The white border joins with the bottom area that houses the player's name, position and team. The player's name alternates between red and blue ink with each letter.

Card backs feature a football icon with the card number and a black box with the player's name, team and position. Below that are two lines of vital statistics. For some players, a box of year and lifetime statistics appears, while others receive a short biographical write-up instead. Most of the back, however, is taken up by a scratch-off trivia question that has part of the answer image visible. Card backs that have had been subjected to the edge of a coin are, obviously, less valuable than those that haven't.

Each NFL team is highlighted with two specialty cards. The first is a team card, which features an oval-shaped background much like they had in 1958 Topps Football. The same fabric-type design of the regular cards is featured as well as the alternating blue-and-red lettering scheme. Backs of the team cards feature a checklist, which doesn't necessarily follow the series the player is a part of. The other team-specific card is a pennant card, which showcases a pennant with the team logo and team name, with a sketched in-game action image underneath.

Printing and Distribution

The 1959 Topps Football set was printed in two, 88-card series. In a change from the usual series format, cards from the first series are slightly more scarce and more valuable than cards from the second as the result of being printed in a smaller quantity. The second series printing sheet consists of 132 cards, laid out in 12 rows of 11 cards. Due to the fact that there were only 88 cards in the this series, several of the cards are double-printed with the cards from the top four rows being duplicated on the bottom four rows. Cards from the set were distributed in one-cent and five-cent wax packs, as well as cello packs and vending boxes.

Errors and Condition Issues

One very noticeable error includes the rookie card of Jim Taylor of the Green Bay Packers. The card identifies the running back, yet shows a different Jim Taylor who played for the Chicago Cardinals.  There are also a number of cards that have discrepancies between the front and the back (some involve names, others involve positions), but none were ever corrected and thus have no added value for being errors. Condition issues common to the set are typical for the period including centering, edge wear and toning of the white border areas.

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Key Cards

Key 1959 Topps Football Cards

Jim Brown #10

1959 Topps Football Cards 1

Johnny Unitas #1

1959 Topps Football Cards 2

Bart Starr #23

1959 Topps Football Cards 3

Paul Hornung #82

1959 Topps Football Cards 4

Sam Huff RC #51

1959 Topps Football Cards 5

1959 Topps Football Cards 6

Set Checklist

1959 Topps Football Set Checklist

Base Set Checklist

Featuring 176 cards

1 Johnny Unitas
 2 Gene Brito
 3 Lions Team
 4 Max McGee RC
 5 Hugh McElhenny
 6 Joe Schmidt
 7 Kyle Rote
 8 Clarence Peaks
 9 Steelers Pennant
 10 Jim Brown
 11 Ray Mathews
 12 Bobby Dillon
 13 Joe Childress
 14 Terry Barr RC
 15 Del Shofner RC
 16 Bob Pellegrini UER
 17 Colts Team
 18 Preston Carpenter
 19 Leo Nomellini
 20 Frank Gifford
 21 Charlie Ane
 22 Jack Butler
 23 Bart Starr
 24 Cardinals Pennant
 25 Bill Barnes
 26 Walt Michaels
 27 Clyde Conner UER
 28 Paige Cothren
 29 Roosevelt Grier
 30 Alan Ameche
 31 Eagles Team
 32 Dick Nolan
 33 R.C. Owens
 34 Dale Dodrill
 35 Gene Gedman
 36 Gene Lipscomb RC
 37 Ray Renfro
 38 Browns Pennant
 39 Bill Forester
 40 Bobby Layne
 41 Pat Summerall
 42 Jerry Mertens RC
 43 Steve Myhra RC
 44 John Henry Johnson
 45 Woodley Lewis UER
 46 Packers Team
 47 Don Owens RC UER
 48 Ed Beatty RC
 49 Don Chandler
 50 Ollie Matson
 51 Sam Huff RC
 52 Tom Miner RC
 53 Giants Pennant
 54 Ken Konz
 55 Raymond Berry
 56 Howard Ferguson UER
 57 Chuck Ulrich
 58 Bob St. Clair
 59 Don Burroughs RC
 60 Lou Groza
 61 49ers Team
 62 Andy Nelson RC
 63 Hal Bradley RC
 64 Dave Hanner
 65 Charley Conerly
 66 Gene Cronin RC
 67 Duane Putnam
 68 Colts Pennant
 69 Ernie Stautner
 70 Jon Arnett
 71 Ken Panfil RC
 72 Matt Hazeltine
 73 Harley Sewell
 74 Mike McCormack
 75 Jim Ringo
 76 Rams Team
 77 Bob Gain RC
 78 Buzz Nutter RC
 79 Jerry Norton
 80 Joe Perry
 81 Carl Brettschneider
 82 Paul Hornung
 83 Eagles Pennant
 84 Les Richter
 85 Howard Cassady
 86 Art Donovan
 87 Jim Patton
 88 Pete Retzlaff
89 Jim Mutscheller
 90 Zeke Bratkowski
 91 Redskins Team
 92 Art Hunter
 93 Gern Nagler
 94 Chuck Weber RC
 95 Lew Carpenter RC
 96 Stan Jones
 97 Ralph Guglielmi UER
 98 Packers Pennant
 99 Ray Wietecha
 100 Lenny Moore
 101 Jim Ray Smith RC UER
 102 Abe Woodson RC
 103 Alex Karras RC
 104 Bears Team
 105 John David Crow RC
 106 Joe Fortunato RC
 107 Babe Parilli
 108 Proverb Jacobs RC
 109 Gino Marchetti
 110 Bill Wade
 111 49ers Pennant
 112 Karl Rubke RC
 113 Dave Middleton UER
 114 Roosevelt Brown
 115 John Olszewski
 116 Jerry Kramer RC
 117 King Hill RC
 118 Cardinals Team
 119 Frank Varrichione
 120 Rick Casares
 121 George Strugar RC
 122 Bill Glass RC
 123 Don Bosseler
 124 John Reger RC
 125 Jim Ninowski RC
 126 Rams Pennant
 127 Will Sherman
 128 Bob Schnelker
 129 Ollie Spencer RC
 130 Y.A. Tittle
 131 Yale Lary
 132 Jim Parker RC
 133 Giants Team
 134 Jim Schrader RC
 135 M.C. Reynolds RC
 136 Mike Sandusky RC
 137 Ed Brown
 138 Al Barry RC
 139 Lions Pennant
 140 Bobby Mitchell RC
 141 Larry Morris
 142 Jim Phillips RC
 143 Jim David
 144 Joe Krupa
 145 Willie Galimore
 146 Steelers Team
 147 Andy Robustelli
 148 Billy Wilson
 149 Leo Sanford
 150 Eddie LeBaron
 151 Bill McColl
 152 Buck Lansford UER
 153 Bears Pennant
 154 Leo Sugar RC
 155 Jim Taylor RC UER
 156 Lindon Crow
 157 Jack McClairen
 158 Vince Costello RC UER
 159 Stan Wallace RC
 160 Mel Triplett RC
 161 Browns Team
 162 Dan Currie RC
 163 L.G. Dupre UER
 164 John Morrow RC UER
 165 Jim Podoley
 166 Bruce Bosley RC
 167 Harlon Hill
 168 Redskins Pennant
 169 Junior Wren RC
 170 Tobin Rote
 171 Art Spinney
 172 Chuck Drazenovich UER
 173 Bobby Joe Conrad RC
 174 Jesse Richardson RC
 175 Sam Baker
 176 Tom Tracy RC

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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.

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