Rookie Card Year: N/A
Investment Rating: 10.0 (Exceptional)
Walter Johnson, nicknamed "The Big Train," was as dominant a pitcher as the game has ever seen. As such, his vintage baseball cards and autographed memorabilia command huge sums of money on the secondary market.
Johnson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 as part of its inaugural class. His resume and statistics are jaw-dropping and reflect the reason why he is still revered in the hobby today. He retired with 417 wins, 531 complete games, 110 shutouts, a staggering 2.17 ERA and 3,508 career strikeouts. In addition to this impressive list of statistics, Johnson is a World Series champion (1924), two-time AL MVP (1913,1924) and three-time pitching Triple Crown winner (1913, 1918, 1924). Johnson played his entire 21-year career with the Washington Senators.
Early Walter Johnson Cards
As one might expect, Johnson has numerous trading cards issued through traditional means of the time period. These include tobacco, candy, caramel and strip cards. Johnson's first three cataloged cards are actually postcards: 1901 Weiser Wonder, 1907 Novelty Cutlery and 1908 Rose. The most recognizable early Walter Johnson cards are found in 1909 T204 Ramly and 1909 T206, in which he has 23 different cards. While Johnson has both a pitching and portrait card in the set, the remaining cards are all back variations used to advertise one of several tobacco brands.
Among collectors of the dead-ball era, there has been debate about the specific year of origin of this postcard. While most attribute it as being from 1901, many believe it was specific to 1907. The standard-sized postcard shows a full framed photograph of a young Walter Johnson in a slight sepia tone coloring.
Top Walter Johnson Cards
Designated as T204 in the American Card Catalog, this early tobacco series measures 2" by 2 1/2". There is a total of 127 cards in the set. All of the cards feature the pictured oval framed design with the gold border and leafing.
Walter Johnson has a total of two different images in the 1909 T206 set. Number 235 pictures him with a glove and is often referred to as the Pitching versions. Number 236 is called the Portrait version. When you factor in back variations, Johnson has 23 total cards in the set. Backs include: American Beauty, Broad Leaf, Cycle, Black Lenox, Brown Lenox, Brown Hindu, Drum, Old Mill, El Principe de Gales, Sweet Caporal, Piedmont, Factory 42, Red Hindu, Polar Bear, UZIT, Sovereign and Tolstoi. There are a total of 524 different numbered cards in the T206 set, each measuring 1 7/16" by 2-5/8".
Considered by many vintage collectors to be the most beautiful baseball card set of all time, the 1910 Turkey Red cabinet cards feature stunning artwork with vibrant colors. Designated as T3's in the American Card Catalog, these over-sized pieces measure 5 3/4" by 8". The set has 131 cards.
While the T205 set has always played second fiddle to it's T206 cousin, there is no denying that the Gold Border cards are one of the most attractive traditional tobacco-sized baseball cards sets ever produced. The player portrait is inset in a diamond against the red background. Combined with the evergreen and gold coloring, they form truly stunning pieces of miniaturized art.
1914 Cracker Jack is one of the few cards that depicts Walter Johnson in an action pose. The bright red background is instantly recognizable to collectors and has always been a vintage favorite. The cards measure 2 1/4" by 3".
1999 SP Legendary Cuts Cut Signatures Walter Johnson #W 1/1
1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Legendary Cuts Walter Johnson #WJ 1/1
Walter Johnson's first modern cut signature, autograph cards, were released in two products manufactured by Upper Deck in 1999. Each of the above cards listed are 1-of-1's.
2011 Prime Cuts Baseball Walter Johnson
2011 Prime Cuts Baseball features the first Walter Johnson memorabilia cards. The product has four different cards that come with a small piece of ball leather alleged to have been used by Johnson in an official game. To date, Walter Johnson has never had a uniform-based relic or memorabilia card included in a set.
As a follow-up to their 2011 Prime Cuts offering, 2012 Panini National Treasures has nine different Walter Johnson memorabilia cards. They all feature a piece of leather from a game-used ball. None have print runs higher than five. Combining the print runs of all the cards, there is a total of 20 Walter Johnson memorabilia cards in 2012 Panini National Treasures Baseball.
Walter Johnson Autograph Guide
When looking to purchase authentic autographed memorabilia from legendary and long deceased players like Walter Johnson, great caution is urged. The Cardboard Connection only recommends buying authenticated Walter Johnson signature autographs from one of the reputable authenticationservices in the industry, PSA or JSA. The most common items found to be authentically signed by Walter Johnson include checks and personal documents. Cut signature trading cards from manufactures like Topps, Leaf, Tristar and Upper Deck should also be considered legitimate.
Walter Johnson Signature Autograph Pricing
For additional information on Walter Johnson, including playing statistics and life off the field, be sure to visit: