Random Rookie Recap: 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente

1955toppsrobertoclementeA few days back I came across a blog post that asked the hypothetical question: What card(s) do you think will retain their value in the future.

Well, folks, you’re looking at one of them right here. Today I honor the 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente rookie card. It took me several years to get my hands on one of these, but earlier this week my copy finally arrived.

Frandomrookierecapor the last three years — the time in which I really started to add serious vintage rookie cards to my collection — I’ve been waiting and waiting for the right time to pounce on a Clemente rookie. And honestly, there never has been a right time because these things are getting harder to find, thus becoming more expensive. Consider this: This copy probably cost me about 50 percent more than what it would have cost me had I just bit the bullet and bought it in 2005 or 2006. What other rookie card do you know of that has increased in value — and maintained that level for some time — like that?

As it pertains to the hypothetical asked earlier, is there really any way to go wrong with Clemente? Clemente was a fantastic player on the field, and was a excellent human being off the field. Not only is he a baseball icon, but also a national treasure of Puerto Rico. Those are ingredients for cardboard success.

But the Clemente rookie is not the only one that likely will hold its value. In fact, I’ve always been of the opinion that vintage rookies ARE the cards to own in this hobby, and my opinion gets stronger with each passing day thanks to the MLB Network.

For years collectors have been aware of Mantle, Ruth and Mays. They’ve also been accustomed to Clemente and Gehrig. But now they/we are seeing footage of these players on our television sets more often, making them easier to relate to, which ultimately makes us appreciate them more.

I could write all day about my investment beliefs as it pertains to cards, but I’m going to wrap this up — probably revisiting it later — and bring it back to the Clemente.

My copy clearly is not mint. And I’ll be honest, I was a bit disappointed when mine arrived because the scan the auction house used apparently was darkened, which hid the crease that runs vertically (when the card is on its side) between the bio-box and the card number. Nonetheless, I’m happy. Clemente rookies at good prices are drying up, and for good reason. From a collector or investor standpoint, which would you rather have: a 1955 Clemente rookie or a 2005 Ultimate Collection autographed Prince Fielder rookie. My money is on Clemente, literally.


4 Responses to “Random Rookie Recap: 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente”

  1. I agree 100 percent with you. I recently started buying 1955 Topps cards and also invested in a Roberto Clemente rookie. I want to find out how I can be assured that this is indeed an original card and not a fake. I was relieved to see that the offset of the grid on the stats located on the back of your card is exactly how my Clemente card is as well. My Yogi Berra is also printed the same way BUT my Hank Aaron is perfectly aligned. I live in central New Jersey if anyone can point me to a reputable shop to auntenticate my cards.

    • G Hawkins Says:

      Same issue here – my 1955 clemente does not line up and the lines invade the green, on the Aaron it does not and it’s pretty much alligned, though some invasion into green, though not as pronounced on the invasion into green. The Aaron has a star next to “life” in lifetime stats. Go with BVG graded cards – they are reliable, authentic and the holders cannot be tampered with ( unlike PSA holders which have been tampered and also faked ). Hope this helps.

  2. Jim Thompson Says:

    I grew up near Pittsburgh and saw Roberto Clemente play at Forbes Field. In fact, I still have the original program that my grandpa gave me that day when we went to the ball park in 1968. I love this card, because Roberto Clemente was my baseball hero, and I now in my fifties, have appreciated what baseball was, instead of what it is today. Nobody played the game with more tenacity than Roberto, and I will always love his rookie card and he will forever be an immortal in my book. Number 21, it doesn’t get any better than Roberto Clemente!

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