Rookie Card Year: 1949
Investment Rating: 6.0
One Tough Player, One Tough Card
Andy Pafko was a solid player in his day. Maybe not a superstar, but dependable. But Pafko does have a major claim to fame within the hobby, playing a key role in one of the most important sets produced. As a result, Andy Pafko cards have a special place with many collectors.
The five-time All-Star's career spanned 17 seasons. During that time he player for three teams: the Chicago Cubs (1943-1951), the Brooklyn Dodgers (1951-1952) and the Milwaukee Braves (1953-1959). He was a member of the Braves' World Series Championship winning team in 1957. Well liked by fans and teammates, Pafko's hard-nosed play and blue-collar work ethic helped ensure a lengthy career. He finished with a .285 lifetime batting average, 213 home runs and 976 runs batted in. Andy Pafko passed away October 8, 2013, at the age of 92.
Andy Pafko's place in hobby lore isn't centered on his career statistics. Instead, Pafko has the distinction of having one of the most difficult cards from the 1950s to find in high-grade condition. He is card #1 in 1952 Topps Baseball. It has caused vintage set builders and set registry participants to go on extended wild goose chases trying to track it down in decent shape. While the first card from all vintage sets of the 1950s and 1960s can be a challenge to find in high-grade condition, the 1952 Topps Andy Pafko card tops the list.
Long before anyone thought of baseball cards as being a collectible investment, they were keepsakes, borderlining on being toys for children. They suffered from being shoved in pockets, haphazardly held together with a rubber band. As a result, many of the first and last cards in these vintage sets suffer from significant creasing. Why the 1952 Topps Baseball Andy Pafko suffered from this more than others is anybody's guess. What we do know is that of all the cards submitted to PSA for grading, less than 12% of the entire population report grades out higher than a 5.5 or above. The entire PSA Population Report for 1952 Topps Baseball - Andy Pafko looks like this (as of October, 2013):
Total Cards Submitted: 907
- 10 - 0
- 9 - 0
- 9Q - 0
- 8.5 - 0
- 8 - 4
- 8Q - 3
- 7.5 - 0
- 7 - 31
- 7Q - 4
- 6.5 - 0
- 6 - 59
- 6Q - 4
- 5.5 - 2
- 5 - 143
- 5Q - 4
- 4.5 - 9
- 4 - 153
- 4Q - 9
- 3.5 - 8
- 3 - 157
- 3Q - 8
- 2.5 - 17
- 2 - 151
- 2Q - 10
- 1.5 - 19
- 1 - 96
- 1Q - 7
- Authentic - 8
Numbers don't lie. So when you mention 1952 Topps to a vintage dealer or set collector, they may not think Mickey Mantle right away. Instead, it could be, "The #&^% Andy Pafko card." While there may be some frustration from some, it's a sign of respect.
You can click on the tabs above, for information on Andy Pafko rookie cards, view a cardboard career gallery as well as learning about his signature habits and pricing.
Andy Pafko Rookie Card
Andy Pafko's rookie card hails from 1948-49 Leaf Baseball. Not too many players can say they are part of vintage set checklists that included Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle but Pafko is an exception. His Leaf card #125 is available in two versions. Besides the regular versions, there is a color variation that most likely was the result of a printing press running out of ink.
Andy Pafko Autograph Guide
Andy Pafko's autograph managed to stay fairly consistent over his career, both on the diamond and on the autograph circuit. Popular with fans and collectors, Pafko was one of the only surviving members of the last Chicago Cubs team to appear in a World Series (1945). As such, he was a tremendously popular autograph nationally, but at Chicago area shows in particular. Very affordable, authentic Andy Pafko signed items can be found for under $50.
Below you will find an example of what an authentic Andy Pafko autograph 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 for authenticated Andy Pafko autographs include the following companies: PSA, JSA, Upper Deck, Jim & Steves and Mounted Memories. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Cut Signature Exemplar
Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Andy Pafko signature has several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:
- The over-sized letter "A" in Andy flows right in the remaining letters
- The letter "n" is unique, almost resembling two letter "e's"
- The letter "d" flows into the letter "y" which connects to the last name
- The letter"P" has a nice closed loop flourish
- The letters "a" and "f" are completely legible
- The letter "k" flows out of the letter "f"
- The letter "o" is typically open