The most valuable baseball cards from the ‘60s are heaped in nostalgia. Everything from detailed illustrations to improved printing techniques saw a marked rise in the overall quality of collectibles, but that has also led to high prices when compared to options from the ‘70s and beyond.
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Here is a list with 10 of the most valuable baseball cards from the ‘60s, with lots of info about the players, and how they managed to become so popular with collectors.
The Most Expensive Baseball Cards from the 1960s
Given the age of the cards, we’d advise looking for graded options whenever possible. This will also eliminate the prospect of any forgeries making their way into your personal collection, as the practice was rampant during the 1980s.
The cards are listed in chronological order, and we’re starting off with one of the biggest names in the history of the sport.
1960 Mickey Mantle Topps #350 (buy on eBay)
Mickey Mantle was undoubtedly the biggest star of the era, and his 1960 Topps card is priced accordingly. ‘The Mick’ is well remembered for his offensive skills, as well as holding World Series records for the most home runs (18), RBIs (40), extra-base hits (26), runs (42), walks (43), and total bases (123).
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Mantle’s 1960 Topps is a horizontal card that has been split into three parts. There’s a black and white image of the player set against a red backdrop on the left, and a color image of Mantle on the right. The bottom is yellow, with black and red text for his name.
1960 Willie McCovey Topps RC #316 (buy on eBay)
Next up is another 1960 Topps card featuring Willie McCovey. He was a six-time All-Star and three-time home run champion who passed away following an infection in 2018, but that doesn’t really do justice to a powerful left-handed hitter who ranked second only to Babe Ruth when he retired.
As with the card above, McCovey’s 1960 Topps has a landscape design, and it’s been split in half. An image of McCovey with bat in hand is found on the left, while the right has a text bubble and a small statue which notes that he was ‘Selected by the Youth of America’ as the Topps All-Star Rookie first base.
1960 Carl Yastrzemski Topps RC #148 (buy on eBay)
Carl Yastrzemski spent his entire 23-year career with the Red Sox. He’s an 18-time All-Star, while he’s second on the all-time list for games played, and third for total at-bats. Yaz is undoubtedly a Red Sox legend and holds all-time records with the franchise for career RBIs, runs, hits, singles, doubles, total bases, and games played.
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His 1960 Topps is an RC, and an option that really manages to catch the eye. It notes that he’s the Sport Magazine ‘1960 Rookie Star’, with a deep orange background set against red and black text. There’s a large illustration of the player on the right, making it feel like a vintage ‘50s option.
There’s only one copy that has managed to achieve a gem mint grade, selling for roughly $83,000 way back in 2012. Given current trends, it must be worth significantly more now.
1961 Hank Aaron Topps #415 (buy on eBay)
With MLB records for the most career RBI (2,297), extra-base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856), Hank Aaron is one of the greatest ever. For an example of his legacy, you only need to look at the Hank Aaron Award, which was created to celebrate each league’s most effective hitter in 1999.
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His 1961 Topps card is nowhere near as valuable as his RC, but it features a good posed image of the player with a baseball held in one hand. His name and team info is located in a pair of smaller green/yellow blocks at the bottom, and it has a thick black borderline. Having doubled in price over the past decade, it’s still one of the more affordable cards overall when looking at higher grades.
1963 Pete Rose Topps RC #537 (buy on eBay)
Pete Rose is another legendary player, and the current all-time MLB leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053), singles (3,215), and outs (10,328). He’s a 17-time All-Star who won three World Series’, although a betting scandal ruined his coaching career.
This unique card features Pedro Gonzalez, Ken McMullen, Rose, and Al Weis, with the quartet making up the ‘1963 Rookie Stars’. Their floating heads have been added to red circles, with a bright yellow background, and a blue section at the top.
The sole gem mint version sold for $717,000 in a 2016 auction, giving some indication of just how coveted this card is. It’s Rose’s only recognised RC, and there were a number of forgeries in the 1980’s.
1963 Mickey Mantle Topps #200 (buy on eBay)
Mantle is back at it again, and this time we’re looking at his 1963 Topps card. It features a close-up shot of the hitter, with a further black and white image found in a blue circle at the bottom.
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The bottom section is entirely green, with yellow and white text. The green corners lead to a number of issues relating to the condition, and PSA has only given two copies a gem mint grade. It’s not the greatest design, but the rarity makes it one of the more valuable options from the era.
1964 Willie Mays Topps #150 (buy on eBay)
Arguably the greatest center fielder in MLB history, Willie Mays is a Giants legend. He was a 24-time All-Star, a 12-time Gold Glove winner, the 1951 NL Rookie of the Year, a two-time NL MVP (1954, 1965) and a World Series champion in 1954.
Mays’ 1964 Topps has a great design, showing a candid close up of the player as he glances down towards the ground. Large text at the top notes he’s a Giants outfielder, and his name is listed in a yellow tab at the bottom. The value of a PSA 10 grade has more than doubled since 2017, making it a great investment piece.
1966 Mickey Mantle Topps #50 (buy on eBay)
The 1966 Topps Mantle features another iconic image of the phenom, as he holds a batting stance while looking off-camera. There’s a small red stripe to note his team at the top, while his name is found at the bottom. Only a handful have managed to achieve mint grades over the years, and there’s a marked drop off when looking at PSA 8’s and below.
1968 Nolan Ryan Topps RC #177 (buy on eBay)
Nolan Ryan is a former pitcher who is best known for a record 27-year career, playing for the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers respectively. An eight-time All-Star, he won the ‘69 World Series with the Mets.
We’re looking at his Topps card from a year before, widely seen as Nolan’s RC. It’s a landscape card that he shares with Jerry Koosman, who was also a rookie pitcher at the time. There are identical releases from Milton Bradley, O-Pee-Chee, and Venezuelan Topps, but this is the most valuable version overall.
1969 Mickey Mantle Topps LAST NAME IN WHITE #500 (buy on eBay)
As Mantle’s final Topps issue, this card is interesting for a number of reasons. The 1969 Topps ‘White Letter’ Mantle was produced in limited quantities, along with several other players in the set. It earns the name due to the fact that the card lists his name in white, rather than yellow like the base version. It also has all of Mantle’s career stats, located on the reverse.
The card features a close-up posed shot of the Yankees star with a bat clutched in both hands, while his name is found in a red circle on the top left corner. To this day, we still haven’t found out exactly why there’s a variation, but it’s valued by collectors and it’s worth a fair amount at higher grades.
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