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Our Top 10 Roberto Clemente Cards

Our Top 10 Roberto Clemente Cards

by John Roman

A month ago


Overview

Roberto Clemente was a legendary baseball player and humanitarian from Puerto Rico. He played his entire 18-season Major League Baseball (MLB) career with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 to 1972.

Beyond his baseball accomplishments, Clemente was widely admired for his humanitarian efforts and dedication to helping others. He died tragically in a plane crash on December 31, 1972, while attempting to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Roberto Clemente's legacy as a baseball icon and compassionate humanitarian continues to inspire generations, making him one of the most revered figures in the sport's history.

Our Top 10 Roberto Clemente Cards

1. 1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente Rookie

Description: The 1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente Rookie is considered one of the most iconic and valuable baseball cards in the hobby. The double image of the young Clemente atop the green background makes this an all-around beautiful card. 

2. 1956 Topps #33 Roberto Clemente

Description: The 1956 Topps #33 Roberto Clemente is another of Clemente's most expensive cards is his second-year issue from the 1956 Topps set. It features the same headshot from the card of the year before making a comeback but Topps mixed in a nice action shot of Clemente making a leaping catch. The backs also come in two different versions, either grey or white. 

3. 1958 Topps #52 Roberto Clemente

Description: The bright yellow background makes the image of Clemente at-bat really pop in 1958 Topps #52 Roberto Clemente. This card comes in one of two variations with the team name in white letters or in yellow letters. The yellow letter cards are more scarce therefore making them more valuable.

4. 1957 Topps #76 Roberto Clemente

Description: The 1957 Topps #76 Roberto Clemente features Clemente's headshot, smiling and looking off into the distance giving this card strong eye appeal. It was the first time Topps used full-color photos, standard card dimensions, and full career stats on the backs.

5. 1963 Topps #540 Roberto Clemente

Description: The 1963 Topps #540 Roberto Clemente has the imagery and color scheme that Topps went with for this card. The bottom of the card features Clemente in a batting stance, wearing the Pittsburgh Pirates uniform with a red background. "Bob Clemente" is printed in white letters against a blue bottom border. This card isn't the key to the set but it's one of the must-haves.

6. 1960 Topps #326 Roberto Clemente 

Description: The 1960 Topps #326 Roberto Clemente featured a horizontal layout but the way Topps broke the cards up into sections is really neat. A black and white image of Clemente at the plate is shown on the left side with another larger full-color picture of him along the right.

7. 1962 Topps #10 Roberto Clemente

Description:  The 1962 Topps #10 Roberto Clemente shows a nice upper shot of Clemente waiting confidently in his batting stance gives this card a lot of character. There are condition issues back with the 1962 Topps set in terms of centering and chipping showing along the woodgrain borders. 

8. 1965 Topps #160 Roberto Clemente

Description:  The pink border and bright yellow pennant with the Pirates team name on it make the 1965 Topps #160 Roberto Clemente card very sharp. A full headshot of Clemente with a serious look on his face completes a very nice overall look. 

9. 1961 Topps #388 Roberto Clemente 

Description: The imagery of the 1961 Topps #388 Roberto Clemente card is great as a young Clemente stares off into the distance with a determined look on his face. 

10. 1973 Topps #50 Roberto Clemente 

Description:  In the 1973 Topps #50 Roberto Clemente shot, we see Clemente from the side, holding his bat as he stands in the batter’s box, awaiting the next pitch from an unknown pitcher for the New York Mets. Topps released the card after he was tragically killed in a plane crash during the off-season on his way to provide aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. 

The Market Value of Roberto Clemente Cards

The market value of Roberto Clemente's baseball cards is driven by several factors, including condition, scarcity, demand, and historical significance. As one of the most iconic and beloved players in baseball history, Clemente's cards are highly sought after by collectors, contributing to their substantial market value.

Pricing as of 5/22/2024:

PSA
SGC
SGC & RAW

POP Report as of 5/22/2024:

Conclusion

Significance: Roberto Clemente's baseball cards hold a special place in the hearts of collectors and fans alike. As a pioneering Puerto Rican player and one of the greatest talents in the game, Clemente's cards represent not only his remarkable skills but also his impact on the sport and his legacy as a humanitarian.

Factors Affecting Value:

  • Condition: The condition of the card is the primary factor determining its value. Higher-graded examples command significantly higher prices.
  • Scarcity: Clemente's cards, especially his rookie card, are relatively scarce, contributing to their high value.
  • Demand: Clemente's iconic status and enduring popularity among collectors drive the demand for his cards, further increasing their value.
  • Grading and Authentication: Professional grading and authentication by reputable companies like PSA or SGC can significantly impact the market value of Clemente's cards.

Legacy: Clemente's baseball cards serve as tangible reminders of his incredible talent, dedication, and impact on the game. They are not only valuable collectibles but also symbols of his enduring legacy as a trailblazer and humanitarian. Clemente's cards continue to inspire collectors and fans alike, ensuring that his memory and achievements are celebrated for generations to come.

In summary, Roberto Clemente's baseball cards are highly prized by collectors due to their historical significance, scarcity, and the legendary status of the player himself, commanding substantial market values, especially for high-grade examples.