Yogi Berra (1925-2015) was a World War II Navy gunner who served at D-Day, going on to become a record-holding athlete in the major leagues.
He played 19 seasons in MLB, as an 18-time All-Star who won 10 World Series championships as a player—more than any other player in MLB history. (He also won three as a coach, with both the Mets and his beloved New York Yankees.)
Here’s a roundup with a trio of the best Yogi Berra cards to invest in, from the best rookie options to other vintage releases.
The Best Yogi Berra Cards
Berra signed with the Yankees in 1943, although the war meant that he made his major-league debut at the age of 21 in 1946. His cards began to be released soon after.
3. 1952 Topps Yogi Berra #191 (eBay)
Berra was already a multiple All-Star and World Series champion by the time 1952 rolled around. As such, you might be wondering how and why this card has made its way onto the list compared to earlier options.
For one, 1952 Topps Baseball is considered by many collectors and historians to be the most important post-war card set ever produced within the sport.
Most of the attention is given to the Mickey Mantle RC contained within. There’s no denying that it’s a quality set which uses colourized black-and-white photography to great effect.
There’s no auto, but a facsimile signature taken directly from their player contract with Topps is a decent compromise.
2. 1947 Sports Exchange Mini W602 (Hand Cut) Yogi Berra (eBay)
The 1947 Sports Exchange Mini W602 is one of the earliest cards to feature the clutch hitter, along with his 1947 Tip Top Bread card. (Berra was also included in another bread product set during 1947, the Bond Bread issue.)
They still work, as I now want a sandwich.
As for the 1947 Sports Exchange Mini, they were offered in The Trading Post magazine. Several of the images were used in other common pre-war and early vintage sets.
For example, the same Berra image can be found in the 1948 W603 Sports Exchange release.
1. 1948 Bowman Baseball Yogi Berra RC #6 (eBay)
The 1948 Bowman #6 is the only official Yogi Berra rookie card in the hobby. How does that work, considering the cards released a year before?
Well, it was Bowman’s first foray into baseball, with a collection of simple black and white shots. The set has just 48 cards, 12 of which are short prints.
It’s mostly preferred due to its historical importance, and the continued success of Bowman Baseball in the here and now. It’s also especially rare at higher grades, with 10 PSA 9s and a single gem mint copy.
Yogi Berra Cards: Buyers Guide
Here’s what we think of the current market for Yogi Berra cards.
We’d probably opt for the 1952 Topps Baseball card if you’re looking for a more affordable graded piece. You will have to compete with multiple bidders during an average auction. It’s popular, but that also makes it more saleable long term.
The 1948 Bowman RC is still seen as the king of Berra cards, and it’s another viable investment piece. Once again, we see great potential for values to continue to rise over the next decade or so.
Yogi Berra Cards: Buying/Selling Advice
Yogi Berra is one of the best known players from his era of the sport, to the point where his malapropisms are regularly used 70 years after the fact. After all, it ain’t over till it’s over.
As a rule of thumb, retired legends are one of the safer investments within the hobby, and should serve you well if you’re holding them as a pure investment. (Bear that in mind when compared to the latest hyped rookies.)
For collectors, they’re some of the most important baseball cards in existence, which is why graded versions sell for a premium.
You can’t really go wrong with vintage Berra cards, especially if they’re from the 1940’s or early ‘50s.