Card of the Day: 1948 Bowman Yogi Berra rookie card

berrarcImagine owning a rookie card signed by Yankee great Yogi Berra. Well, this is not one of those, although someone may think it is. What you’re looking at here is an authentic Yogi Berra rookie card, one that carries a value of $800 in good condition. And while there are no creases or paper loss to squash the value of this card, there is someone’s version of Berra’s signature on the face of this card that pretty much destroys its monetary value.

For the record, I knew this was not Berra’s signature when I saw it on eBay. I knew it, and so did the other 10 other people who bid on it. But the fact that someone wrote Berra’s name on the face of this card is precisely the reason why I got it so cheap (less than $20, or less than 3 percent of book value). Many will say it was a waste of money, but what I’ll say that for that price it was a nice addition to my rookie collection, one filled with vintage cards of all sorts of condition.

There is another story about this Berra I’d like to share. I sent the card to Beckett Grading to have encapsulated in an “authentic” case, but it was returned to me with a recommendation that I send it to JSA. For what? So they can tell me that the signature is not real?

This frustrates me because I attached a note to the card, telling the handler that the signature was not real and I’d like it to be slabbed “authentic-altered,” like this 1951 Bowman Ted Williams. (Note how someone cut off the borders.) Instead, they returned it to me in my junky semi-rigid holder with an “Authentic” seal on the back and a note with the recommendation.


I would love to know what the previous owner of this Berra thought he/she wrote Berra’s name in cursive across the card’s face. I’m sure it was not an attempt to pass it off as a true Berra signature. My guess is that the name was written there to mimic some of the cards of that era, such as the 1952 Bowman set.

One Response to “Card of the Day: 1948 Bowman Yogi Berra rookie card”

  1. […] I digress.  So when I got my order back from BGS, I noticed that the Berra was not encased.  Some grader decided that the card needed to be sent to JSA for authentication purposes. I was confused.  I was pissed. I wrote this piece. […]

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