1952 Topps Baseball Card Set Guide
1952 Topps Card Baseball Set: Game Changer For Collectors
1952 Topps is considered by many collectors to be the most important post-war set produced. It was the first mainstream issue that Topps created. It had to directly compete with Bowman, which was the established brand for baseball cards at the time. Sy Berger, who was in charge of designing the 1952 set, completely changed the card game. Instead of the standard 2-1/16" by 3-1/8" sized cards produced by Bowman, Topps jumbo sized the cards to 2-5/8" by 3-3/4”. High quality artwork was also commissioned for the player images. The release was a hit with kids at the time, and by 1956, Bowman was out of business. This set laid the ground work for what would become the modern sports card. Topps is now synonymous with sports cards and have manufacturing cards for over 70 years.
1952 Topps Set Details
Topps released a large lineup of players for the 1952 set, with 407 cards included on the checklist. The cards feature a fully colorized portrait of each player on the front. The portraits contain vivid images and striking colors, complete with team logos and a facsimile signature. The back also contain stats from the 1951 season, lifetime stats, and a brief player biography. The ink on the backs of cards numbered 1-80 can be either black or red, which red considered to be rarer. Included in the set are 27 Hall of Famers, including some of the most important rookie cards of all time. The crown jewel of course is Mickey Mantle (#311). Besides being a rookie of one of the most beloved Yankees of all time, the card itself has a certain mystique behind it (this will be discussed more later). Willie May's (#261) first year Topps card is also included in the set. Other important cards in the set are Jackie Robinson (#312), Roy Campanella (#314), Eddie Mathews (#407), Yogi Berra (#191), Warren Spahn (#33), Duke Snider (#37), and Bob Feller (#88). Andy Parfko (#1) is not a Hall of Famer but holds significant value since it is the 1st card in the set.
1952 Topps Baseball High Numbers
During the 50s and 60s, Topps would release different series throughout the year. For example, in the spring of 1952, Topps released series 1, which contained the first 80 cards in the set. Subsequent series were released as the year went on. The last series in the set, series 6 (known as the "high number series"), was released in the fall. By this time of the year, football season started and kids started to lose interest in baseball cards. Series 6 did not sell well, and many cases of inventory were returned to Topps. Topps tried to sell the cases for deep discounts but by 1960 there were still some 300-500 cases of series 6 left in their warehouse. Room was needed in the warehouse so executives ordered the cases be disposed of. Cases were loaded onto a barge and dumped into the Hudson River. Included in this "high number" series 6 were many legends including first year Topps cards of Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Ed Matthews, and Roy Campanella! As a result the high numbered cards carry a high premium. Not just the Hall of Famers but commons as well.
1952 Topps Baseball Set Popularity
The first main stream Topps set was successful initially because kids simply preferred the design on the cards more than Bowman's design. The extra large cards with incredibly detailed portrait photos of their favorite players allowed kids to feel closer to their heroes. The 1952 Set has remained popular over the past 70 years thanks to a little luck. Some of the young talent Topps was able to sign became some of the most influential Hall of Famers from the golden age of baseball. This set has it all; beautiful design, rookies, hall of famers, high numbers, and variations. Collectors simply cannot get enough of the 1952 Topps set!