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Below are some tidbits on baseball and sportscard collecting. Visit our web site for more info on vintage baseball, football, basketball, hockey, sports and non-sport cards and card collecting.
Baseball
Q6: What are some additional useful to know baseball card collecting terms ?

(part 2)
Error Card - essentially, a card with a wrong player photo, inaccurate bio, or any characteristic that separates it from correctivity. Baseball card history is rich with such mutations. Anything from the 1957 Topps "reversed negative" picturing Hank Aaron in his opposite batting stance, to the infamous 1983 Fleer Billy Ripken "obscenity" card which depicted a not-so-politically correct 4-letter word at the end of his bat handle.

Extended Set - Also frequently called Update Set or Traded Set.
defined as a set issued after a company’s original release to "update" the regular set and include players traded to another team and shown in their current uniform, or rookie cards of players featured in a single-photo.

Facsimile Autograph - a simulated autograph printed on a card designed to show what the player’s actual signature looks like. These are NOT the player’s "real" autograph.

Factory Set - a complete set in a special box and wrapped with a protective covering produced by the manufacturer, usually with a unique seal and sold directly to dealers or card shop owners and not available through the usual retail outlets.

Grade - the physical condition assigned to a card, either by a price guide, or through the assessment made by sellers.

Graded Card - a card which has been assessed for condition by an independent source and given a ranking, with 10 being the best. The card is then placed in a hermetically-sealed plastic holder with the grade designation and player name, card company, card number, and serial number printed on the encasement.

Baseball
The vintage issue below featured elsewhere on this website:

1956 Topps Baseball Cards
Checklist & Values


1956 Topps Wax Box 1956 Topps Wax Pack My fondness for 1956 Topps started way back in 1964 when I first started collecting as an 11 year old. My friends and I wandered nearby neighborhoods in search of "old cards". Back then, the oldest cards we ever found in dealing with other kids were 1957 Topps.

Eventually I saw my first 1956 Topps card - I was hooked. It was larger, thicker, fluffier making it look much, much older compared to a 1-year old 1957. "Ancient" we thought.

I changed neighborhoods in 1966 leaving my childhood friends behind. Before I left, except for a small cigar box of my favorites, I "donated" all my cards to the neighborhood - and stopped collecting. I had a great 3 year run but sure wish I would have been collecting in 1966 and 1967 with those tough high numbers. I would have loved to have had a cigar box full of them in place of my hoard of 1964 Topps Felix Mantilla and Gary Peters cards.

The regular 1956 Topps baseball card set is one of my favorites. Topps again went with a slightly larger (3-3/4" by 2 5/8") horizontal card design, similar to their 1955 Topps cards. Several of the portraits are even the same used on 1955 Topps cards some even back to 1954 Topps. 1956 was Topps first issue to feature team cards and checklists. A much moire boring addition was the addition of the 2 league presidents.

With Bowman gone, Topps could again make cards of Mickey Mantle missing from Topps issues since 1953. After Mickey Mantle, it is a fun and simple set to complete with no high numbers or extremely expensive rookies with Hall-of-Famer Luis Aparicio being the top rookie.

With over 200 variations, things are much more difficult for master set collectors. Most deal with card stock (gray or white backs).
Cards #1-100 gray backs scarcer with slight premium
Cards #101-180 white backs much scarcer with larger premium
... rumor has it gray outnumbers white about 9-to-1 in the above run.

There are also several cards with color line variations on front. For example: Ted Williams' card has either no line over his name or a thin green, red, blue, or yellow line between the white border for a total of 5 variations. Whitey Ford and Early Wynn also have no line or a thin red or yellow lines. In addition, many team cards had 3 different variations with team name either on the Left, Center or Right.

1956 Topps Hank Aaron 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle
There are a few uncorrected errors, the most famous being card #31 Hank Aaron which actually pictures Willie Mays sliding home ! Card #135 Mickey Mantle is also an interesting card. Exciting card pictures Mantle leaping high into the stands trying to catch a home run ball. The artist did a great job and Mantle makes the catch !!! An awesome play to put on this great card - right ? Only problem is that on the real play, Mantle missed the ball. 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle Catch
And as always for vintage Topps sets, take a quick look at Don Mossi and his famous ears !

Collectors of 1956 Topps likely love Topps side issue '1956 Topps Pins' which used the same portrait photos as the cards. Seems collectors preferred cards to pins and Topps cut the 1956 Topps Pin set from a planned 90 pins to just 60.
Click for complete 1956 Topps PINS Checklist and Prices

Click for complete 1956 Topps Baseball card checklist, values and prices.
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Baseball
The vintage issue below featured elsewhere on this website:

1953 Topps Baseball Cards
Checklist & Values


The 1953 Topps set is a collection of gorgeous portraits drawn by the leading sports artists of the day. Key cards in the 1953 Topps set include: Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays & Satchel Paige. Satchel Paige had his name spelled incorrectly (2 'L') on the card front.

As with all Topps sets from the 1950's & 1960's, 1953 Topps was issued in series, (#1-85, #86-165, #166-220 & #221-280) with the final series "High Numbers" the least produced, least available and thus the most costly. Topps and Bowman still at war likely accounts for the 6 missing #'s from the High Number series.

Click for complete 1953 Topps Baseball card checklist, values and prices.
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Baseball
The vintage issue below featured elsewhere on this website:

1952 Topps Baseball Cards
Checklist & Values


1952 is often thought of as Topps 1st baseball card set, but it was not.
Topps issued the following baseball card sets prior to their huge 1952 set:
• 1948 Topps Magic Photos
• 1951 Topps Red Backs
• 1951 Topps Blue Backs
• 1951 Topps Connie Mack's All-Stars
• 1951 Topps Major League All-Stars

The 1951 Red & Blue Back issues (52 cards each) were similar to a deck of cards and could be used to play a baseball card game. The sets left out all the game's stars and were not fan favorites keeping Bowman far ahead in the baseball card market.

In response, Topps issued their "BIGGER is BETTER" 1952 Topps set they described as: "GIANT IN BOTH SIZE and NUMBER of CARDS" (407).

Series one cards (#1-80) can be found with black or red backs. The key card in the 1952 Topps set is card #311 MICKEY MANTLE. It is often called Mickey Mantle's Rookie card but it is not. The honor goes to his 1951 Bowman card. The 1952 Topps set also featured my favorite and THE greatest player of all-time, WILLIE MAYS !!! Again, this is sometimes called Willie Mays' Rookie card but it is not. That honor also goes to his 1951 Bowman card. Another 1952 Topps card of note is card #1 Andy Pafko. Pafko, a fine player, is basically just a "Common card" and should be worth no more than any other "Common" in the 1952 Topps set - But SURPRIZE !!! It's worth TONS more because it's card #1 and absorbed much more damage than most cards from rubber bands and other damage, thus high grade cards are very, very tough to find accounting for the super high values.
BUT --- That should not account for the super high asking prices on lower grade copies. THose prices do not make sense (supply and demand).

The 6th (last) series, starts with #311 Mickey Mantle and ends with #407 Braves Hall-of-Famer Eddie Mathews. These "High Numbers" are significantly scarcer and can almost be called rare. In addition to Mickey Mantle, other star High Numbers included #312 Jackie Robinson and #314 Roy Campanella.

The most common explanation for their scarcity is as follows.
This HUGE set was released in series weeks apart. When it came to the last series the baseball season was winding down and football was starting. Most candy store owners had boxes of baseball cards leftover from earlier in the year so most eliminated their orders for the 6th series of 1952 Topps thus creating the scarcity.

To add interest to the story, it is often said that the unsold 6th series cards (including THOUSANDS of 1952 Topps MICKEY MANTLEs !!!) were disposed of by Topps, dumped offshore into the Atlantic Ocean like most of New York's trash in those days.

Click for complete 1952 Topps Baseball card checklist, values and prices.
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