Bob Gibson (1935-2020) was a pitcher who starred for the St. Louis Cardinals over 17 seasons. A nine-time All-Star and a World Series Champion in 1964 and 1967, here’s everything you need to know about the elusive 1959 Topps Bob Gibson rookie card.
There’s no doubt that the 1959 Topps Bob Gibson RC is his most valuable card by a wide margin. It’s his only rookie release, over 60 years on from when he first made his debut. The Hall of Famer was known for his competitive nature, intimidating batters with his sheer presence while pitching.
1959 Topps Bob Gibson Rookie Card: In-Depth
Here’s everything you need to know about the rare 1959 Topps Bob Gibson rookie card.
The Set: 1959 Topps Baseball
1959 Topps Baseball modernized designs, adding everything from subsets to a facsimile copy of the player’s signature which is found towards the bottom of the encircled image. The player image is set against a colored background, while low numbered cards (such as Gibson’s RC) were printed in smaller numbers. However, card numbers 507-572 are the rarest overall.
The Player: Bob Gibson
Gibson was assigned to the Cardinals’ big league roster in 1959, delaying his initial contract with the team in 1957 after playing basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters for a season. Despite being misused at the start of his baseball career due to racial prejudice, he was moved into the starting pitching rotation full-time by 1961. He went on to become a nine-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion, and earned the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award in 1968.
The Card: 1959 Topps Bob Gibson Rookie Card #73 (eBay)
The most striking thing about the 1959 Topps Baseball Bob Gibson RC is probably the bubble-gum-colored background, which is a crisp pink that helps it to stand out from others released during the era. It’s notable that the pitcher is pictured with a wide grin on his face, which is a world away from his stern reputation at the mound. In this case, the facsimile auto is placed across his chest.
The reverse features his name, hometown, and further biographical info, and also has a vintage look and feel.
In terms of criteria for grading and the overall condition, PSA notes:
“The Gibson rookie is not terribly difficult in high grade, but finding a well-centered copy that [lacks] print defects in the light-colored background may be somewhat challenging.”
Check prices of 1959 Topps Bob Gibson Rookie Card #73 on eBay
1959 Topps Bob Gibson Rookie Card: Values
With only three PSA 10 graded copies on the market, it’s one of the rarest cards on the planet if you’re looking for pristine versions. The most recent sale price for a PSA 10 Bob Gibson RC was a flat $324,000 back in February 2021. The high-ticket item sold through Heritage Auctions. As for something more affordable, a PSA 6 copy sold for $1,131 in the beginning of 2023. In any case, it’s easy to see why it’s so valuable.
Gibson is a true legend, who sadly passed away in 2020. A bonafide Hall of Famer and one of the more important players from his era, his 1959 rookie card is tough to locate, and you’ll have to pay at least three figures if you want an ungraded version for your personal collection. Supply exceeds demand in this case, and it’s not like there are any alternative options to look for. The pink background makes it iconic, and flawless copies will sell for six figures.