Monday, March 4, 2013

Sports Collectors Digest Features Dean and 1953 Bowman Baseball Cards

Sports Collectors Digest featured Dean’s article about the unique 1953 Bowman baseball card set in its March 8, 2013 issue. The article, also available online, is titled, “Bowman bounces back,”and features Bowman’s “counter attack” to the groundbreaking 1952 Topps set.

The 1953 Bowman set that featured great photography, multi-player cards and “pure color” is still considered one of the most beautiful vintage baseball card sets -- yet it was not a money-maker for Bowman, which had to return to a black and white card set later in 1953.

Dean also produced a video on the 1953 Bowman baseball card set which shows off the beauty of the set and serves as a timeless reminder to a bygone vintage baseball card era.

The story behind the 1953 Bowman baseball card set makes the set even more important for sports card collectors. Bowman had been slowly evolving its bubble gum cards, but that came to a sudden end in the spring of 1952, when the Topps Company aggressively seized its opening and issued a competitive set of baseball cards. Bowman seemed caught off guard, as the company was shocked at how quickly the superior giant-sized 1952 Topps baseball cards snatched the majority of the baseball card market share in just a year’s time.

Bowman was now forced to create a better card. The 1953 set was Bowman’s direct response to the 1952 Topps surprise attack and Bowman spared no expense. The 1953 Bowman cards were much larger than their 1952 cards and roughly matched the size of the Topps cards.
1953 Bowman Mickey Mantle available at Dean's Cards.
When you review the 1953 Bowman cards, you quickly get overwhelmed with the wonderful, bold color photos of the players. And there is no writing on the front of the cards which makes the photography stand out even more.

Without names on the card fronts, it’s sometimes tough to determine who the player is in the photo. The 1953 Bowman set forces you to concentrate on the player’s faces more so than any other set. As you go through the set, you find yourself turning over most of the cards to verify the identity of the player.

The photos were taken during the 1952 season, when color photography was extremely rare due to the high expense of the process. The Philadelphia-based Bowman Gum Company had to act quickly to get all of the photos taken before the 1952 season ended, so the company chose a New York based photographer for the job. That's why almost all of the 1953 Bowman baseball cards were shot in the two classic stadiums that sat across the Harlem River from each other: Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds.
Yogi Berra, Hank Bauer and Mickey Mantle on this 1953 Bowman baseball card from Dean's Cards.
It is fun to look at the cards of the National League players and piece together a panoramic view of the uniquely shaped Polo Grounds. And cards for American League players feature views of Yankee Stadium that most are too young to remember.
1953 Bowman Warren Spahn with Polo Grounds in the background
You can learn more about the 1953 Bowman baseball card set, as well as other vintage card sets from 1948-1955, by purchasing Dean's book at The Bubble Gum Card War: The Great Bowman & Topps Sets from 1948 to 1955.
Dean's vintage baseball card books available at
If you are interested in purchasing the 1953 Bowman baseball card set or individual cards from the set, you can see the cards on the Dean's Cards website. You'll also find vintage baseball cards from every other era, as well, including the important baseball card collecting period of 1948-1959

And if you have vintage cards from 1869-1969 that you'd like to sell, please visit our "sell your baseball cards" page at Deans Cards for more information.

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