Monday, July 30, 2012

The 1951 Bowman Baseball Card Set: Bigger, Better and More of them.

 Although the 1951 Bowman baseball card set increased in both card size and number of cards, it ultimately maintained the attractive design of the 1950 set. The only real design difference between the two sets are that the player names were now located on the card fronts. There are 324 cards in total, each measuring 2-1/16” by 3-1/8.” Cards from the 1951 set can also be identified by the distinctive coloring of the words on the back. The text is printed in blue ink except for the word “baseball,” which is printed in red ink at the bottom of the card.

 Bowman used the same printing technique in 1951 that they had used in the previous set. They had artists colorize black-and-white photographs.There is one card with original artwork: #195 Paul Richards, the White Sox manager who was hired after Bowman had already started production on the set.

Many collectors feel that the 1951 Bowman baseball card was the company’s best effort. Bowman had the good fortune of printing the rookie cards of two of the biggest stars of the decade in its 1951 set: Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.

Furthermore, both of these cards are part of the high number series (#253-324), making them even harder to find and more expensive to collect. Lastly, its operations became so smooth that aside from a few mistakes spelling last names, there are very few pricy error cards.

This article is taken from Dean’s upcoming book “The Gum Card War and the Great Bowman & Topps Baseball Card Sets of 1948-1955”, which is now available for sale at 

 Dean Hanley is an authority on vintage sports cards and has written numerous articles on the topic. 
 Mr. Hanley is the founder, and with well-over one million vintage cards in inventory, is the largest seller of vintage cards on the web. Dean has also published “Before there was Bubble Gum: Our Favorite Pre-World War I Baseball Cards”, which is also available in eBook form at and has just released a T207 reprint set. For more information, please visit

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