Archive for Vinatge baseball cards

Rookie Card Showcase: 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , , on December 10, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

This is the part 15 of an ongoing series. To see other parts in this series, click here.

I’ve written about this Clemente card before (link), but the purpose of this particular post is to discuss condition. As you can see, this Clemente card is graded a 1 (Poor) by Beckett Grading. Upon learning the grade, one collector foolishly said the card was now worthless. Yeah, hardly.

It may be worth less, but hardly worthless. When it comes to vintage, condition means a lot, but it is not the end-all, be-all. We’d all like to be Mr. Mint and have collections of crisp cards that are five decades old. But fact of the matter is 90 percent of us are basic collector and can’t chase the high-end cards. Sometimes just owning an authentic copy of a legendary card — like this Clemente rookie — is enough.

Having said that, not all poor condition cards are equal, if you know what I mean. Cards that have creases, rips, stains, tears or ink are typically graded poor. This Clemente may be one of the nicest “poor” condition cards I’ve ever seen. It’s not mint, but the card is gorgeous. There is a crease that runs through the back, but can’t be seen from the front. The corners are rounded, but still visible, and there is no paper loss, which is common among vintage cards because of the way collectors used to store them.

Clemente is one of the most popular players in the history of the game, and his rookie cards do not come cheap. You could probably get a really bad shape one (with writing, rips, etc.) for about $150, but one that looks like this will cost you no less than $250, maybe more. That’s hardly worthless.