Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mickey Mantle Baseball Cards

Mickey Mantle baseball cards are in more demand than cards from any other player from the post-war vintage era.  Part of the reason was that the New York Yankees were in 14 of the 16 World Series between 1949 and 1964.  This dominance will probably never be matched.  Much of the reason the Yankees were post season regulars every year was because of Mantle.

Mickey’s Rookie card is officially from 1951 Bowman, but the 1952 Topps card is the most famous and has book value of $20,000!  If you can not afford those, you may want to consider some of his reprint cards.  They are very popular with collectors.

Mantle had an exclusive contract with the Bowman Gum Company in 1954 and 1955, so he has no Topps cards for those years.  1956 and 1957 are some of Mantle’s best looking Topps cards, then for some reason Topps decided to issue a run of Mickey Mantle portrait shots from 1958 to 1963.
Mickey Mantle Overstock Sale!

As the vintage set of the week is the 1959 Topps baseball card set, we might as well feature the key card in the set #10 Mickey Mantle.  This is one of the most popular of Mantle cards with a Beckett Book Value of $1000.  Although, cards of “The Mick” are always in demand, we currently have 9 of the 1959 Topps #10 in “Very Good” condition.  We have marked this card down another $50, so with your discount – you can buy this card for $225!

Dean with the 1959 and 1964 Topps Giants Mantles

We also marked down the 1964 Topps Giants Mickey Mantle card in “Near Mint” Condition and #487 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle All Star card in "Excellent" .  The 1958 card was a “triple print”.  Dean’s Cards currently has 13 of the 1964 Topps Giants and 15 of the 1958 Mantle All-Star cards in stock, so we can afford to offer a very nice savings for the holidays. These two cards give the budget collector a chance to own an original Mickey Mantle in nice condition for under $100.  The cards will return to regular prices at the end of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving from Dean’s Cards.

1959 Topps Baseball Card Set

The 1959 Topps Baseball Card Set, with 572 cards, was the largest set that Topps produced up until that time.  The innovative circle design gave the 1959 Topps baseball card set a unique look as has not been duplicated to date.

Because of this design, the 1959 Topps set seemed to feature more than its share of head shots as it was more difficult to fit in the full body shot of the player onto the card.

The best hitter of the 1950’s in the NL, Stan Musial, made his first appearance on a Topps regular card with #150.  The best hitter in the AL, Ted Williams disappeared from Topps and signed a contract with Fleer and would never appear on a contemporary Topps card again.

Card #440 Lew Burdette is shown as a left-handed pitcher.  As the story goes, the spit-ball pitcher and Warren Spahn traded gloves for the Topps photograher as a joke, but only the photo of Burdette was used by Topps.

The 1959 Topps baseball card set was issued in six series.  The first five series (cards #1-506) are fairly common and feature red and green print on the back of the cards.  The sixth series that starts at card #507 is much harder to find and more expensive to buy has distinctive red and black backs.

Dean’s Cards sells quite a few “Low Number” 1959 Topps sets, because of the expense of the sixth series.  This last series contains mostly no name players and All-Star cards.  The sixth series contains only two cards of players that ended up in the Hall-of-Fame: #514 Bob Gibson & #515 Harmon Killebrew

Another interesting characteristic is the back of the cards alternate between using white and grey cardboard.  For example, cards #1 to 110 have white backs and then starts with grey backs on #111, switches back to white backs on card #204, etc.  This trait gives the cards a very unique look when viewed in a set box.  I've never heard a good reason for why the cards are this way.

1959 Topps baseball card set contained almost 100 specialty cards that fall into five main categories:
  1. 16 team cards with checklists on the back.
  2. 17 multi-player cards
  3. 10 Baseball Thrills cards (#461 to 470) tell about great plays or events
  4. 31 Sporting News Rookie Cards numbered from card #116 to 146.  This subset started a trend that remains until today.
  5. 22 Sporting News All-Stars cards numbered #551 to 572.

Each of the subsets featured a unique design on the front and back of the card.  There also 3 special cards of Warren Giles, Ford Frick and Roy Campanella after his accident.

The 1959 Topps Baseball card set facts:
  • 572 cards, issued in 7 series
  • Card Size: 2 ½” x 3 1/2”
  • Innovations: Subsets, Rookie Cards, largest set to date
  • Rookie Cards: 24 (Norm Cash, Felipe Alou & Bill White)
  • 2 Hall-of-Fame Rookie cards: #514 Bob Gibson and #338 Sparky Anderson
  • 35 Cards of Hall-of-Famers
  • Most Expensive Card: #10 Mickey Mantle
  • Hardest to find: #514 Bob Gibson
  • Saddest Card: #550 Roy Campanella
  • HOF Player’s Worst Card: #455 Larry Doby
  • HOF Player’s Best Card: #439 Brooks Robinson

Click Here to buy 1959 Topps Baseball Cards

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

1953 Bowman Baseball Card set

1953 Bowman Color Wax Wrapper
The 1953 Bowman Baseball Card set was Bowman Gum’s answer to Topps Giant Sized cards from 1952.  The 1953 Bowman Baseball Cards, with their beautiful color images are my personal favorite.  No names, captions or team logos – just great pictures.  1953 Bowman cards were a great leap ahead in the evolution of baseball cards and demonstrated the result of a competitive marketplace.

The 1953 Bowman Baseball Cards feature the multi-player cards and the first action shot - #33 Pee Wee Reese.  The Musial card is his last card until 1958.  The notable missing stars are Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, who were under contract to Topps, and Ted Williams, who was flying jets in Korea.

There were 160 cards in the 1953 Bowman set and rumor has it that the company spent too much money producing the cards.  In response, the last 64 cards were issued in the form of the 1953 Bowman Black & White Baseball Card set.  Because of the lack of stars and color, the Black & White set is the far less popular of the two sets.

The 1953 Bowman baseball card set was the most innovative card of it's day.  The photography is beautiful and so well staged.  The pictures seem to fit the players' persona.  Examples include: #9 Rizzuto bunting, #81 Country Slaughter leaning on his bats, #32 Musial in the dugout, #59 the graceful swing of the Mick, #121 Berra with his glove and mask, #62 the Muscles of Big Klu, and the multi-player shots #93 of Martin & Rizzuto and #44 Berra, Bauer & Mantle.

Also unique about these cards is that you do not see the images used in other years, as was the case of many of the Topps Cards of the 1950’s and 1960’s.  This is my favorite set of all-time.  Please vote for your favorite card and let us know what you think.

In addition to the original cards, both the 1953 Bowman Baseball Card Reprint set and 1953 Bowman Black & White Baseball Card Reprint set are available online at Dean’s Cards.

Dean's Cards Featured in the Business Courier

A business he loves is in the cards

Imagine surrounding yourself with baseball cards all day. Tons of cards. Hundreds upon thousands.

That’s the life of Dean Hanley.

Dean Hanley
Dean Hanley has more than 850,000
baseball cards available through his online store.
He left his job in 2000 after 10 years in the software industry. Tech firms were cutting like crazy, and he had to find something else.

A collector since childhood, Hanley was searching online for cards to fill out a season’s set. Not finding many, he started Dean’s Cards – just him and his dog in his basement.

His company, which now has seven employees, has moved twice and operates out of a 3,000-square-foot space in Oakley. But it isn’t a typical baseball card shop.

There’s no walk-in retail business. The office, in a light industrial area, has no real card displays, just a few cards on the walls.

But behind the facade is a treasure trove. Hanley has more than 850,000 cards indexed and for sale at

Being a tech guy, using a Web site to sell was a natural. Hanley figures he has the largest vintage-card inventory online. “The Internet is the great middleman,” he said.

Taking an actual middleman out of the equation and avoiding the costs of a retail shop allow him to save money so he can buy and sell at better prices than others can.

Starting a business is a daunting task

“You have to have a product that’s better, faster or cheaper than the next guy,” Hanley said. “I knew marketing, and I knew baseball cards.”

At first, friends were skeptical.

“I was the laughingstock of our little village,” the Mariemont resident said. “People would say, ‘He’s selling baseball cards, for God’s sake.’”

It didn’t seem like much at first for a guy with an MBA. His wife, who also has an MBA, gave him two years to be able to support the family. They had small children, and she planned to stay home after that.

Hanley made it by first taking a modest income out of the business. Sales have surged 40 percent a year until this year.

Revenue is down about 25 percent this year, but he’s not disheartened. “Hopefully, this is a little bump in the road,” he said.

Industry insiders: probably is just a bump

Baseball card collecting has slowed overall. But the vintage part of the market – mainly pre-1980s cards – in which Hanley does most of his business is holding up, said T.S. O’Connell, editor of Iola, Wis.-based trade publication Sports Collectors Digest.

“The vintage end appears to have withstood a slowdown in the economy,” O’Connell said. “The last 18 months, we haven’t noticed the huge softness you would have expected.”

Hanley focuses on the customer, who mainly wants orders shipped correctly and quickly. He ships them out the same day the orders come in, tens of thousands of cards a month.

The cards in his shop are almost unfathomable. The oldest is an 1887 tobacco card, which is how baseball cards were delivered back then. The most valuable is a 1909 Ty Cobb card worth $5,000. He has 1933 Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig cards.

Then there are the other memorabilia. Cards make up about 85 percent of sales. But Hanley also has every issue, ever, of Sports Illustrated. He has a batch of old issues of The Sporting News. Stacks of “Who’s Who in Baseball” guides. He has media guides, yearbooks and old sports magazines.


Johnny Bench Baseball Cards

62070-004-62D5E304Johnny Bench was the greatest catcher of the 1970's and possibly of all-time. When you look back, Bench was the best hitting, best fielding, best running, best throwing and hit with the most power for his position for the entire decade.  How many players can you think of that dominated any position like that?  Bench gets my vote for the MVP of the 1970's.  I would love to hear your comments.

As far as the  Johnny Bench Rookie Card from 1968 goes, it leaves much to be desired, but was typical of cards from that era. Not that I have anything against Ron Tompkins, but it is hard for collectors to get excited about this card.

I think that Johnny Bench baseball cards are one of the best bargains - when you consider how great of a player that he was.  Bench is not as popular of a person as many stars and seems to be overshadowed by the personalities of Pete Rose, Tony Perez and Joe Morgan.

The 1969 Topps, 1970 Topps and 1975 Topps cards of Johnny Bench are nice posed catcher position shots. The 1969 Topps Bench Card photo was taken in spring training one year before he made the team and shows him wearing #55.  Also be sure to check out the action shots in the 1972 through 1974 years at Dean's Cards. Bench may have the best Topps Baseball Cards of anyone of the decade. His cards in the 1980’s were fairly boring portraits.

To see Dean’s Cards inventory of Johnny Bench Baseball Cards and Magazines, please click here.