10 Most Valuable 1956 Topps Baseball Cards

10 Most Valuable 1956 Topps Baseball Cards

Just by glancing at the image above you quickly get a feel for how much star power was packed into the 1956 Topps baseball card set.

Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson...with names like that how can you go wrong?

In fact, 10% of the 340-card checklist belongs to Hall of Famers as 34 cards in the set featured future inductees.

The only slight knock on this iconic set is its lack of much rookie card pop as only Walt Alston and Luis Aparicio are the only Hall of Famers whose mainstream rookie cards appear in the checklist.

Regardless, there is no questioning that this set is among the favorite vintage sets of many collectors throughout the hobby.

And in this guide, I run through the ten most valuable and, man, are they expensive.

Let's jump right in!

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1956 Topps #135 Mickey Mantle

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $36,500

The 1956 season was Mickey Mantle's personal finest and one of the greatest the sport has ever season.

After leading the American League in home runs (52), RBI (130) and batting average (.353), Mantle would earn both the Triple Crown and MVP honors.

Oh, and he also led the league in runs scored (132) and picked up a World Series ring.

And his 1956 Topps issue was every bit as impressive as his on-field performance that year...

The headshot of Mantle with a beaming smile atop a background in which he's making a leaping catch at the wall make for an absolutely gorgeous baseball card.

Because of his accolades that year and its beautiful design, his 1956 Topps issue is the key to the set and one of the most coveted Mantle baseball cards in the hobby.

1956 Topps #135 Mickey Mantle Baseball Card

1956 Topps #33 Roberto Clemente

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $20,000

Clemente's second year issue is next on our list and like the Mantle card, it features a great head shot alongside an image of Clemente making a leaping catch.

The head shot is actually the same as the one Topps used for Clemente's rookie card the year before.

For the first five years of Clemente's career he was still kind of getting off to a slow start, at least in comparison to what he would do later in his career and he would not make his first All-Star appearance until 1960.

That doesn't keep this card, or any of his cards from the 1950's for that matter, from fetching big bucks in high grade, though. 

1956 Topps #33 Roberto Clemente Baseball Card

1956 Topps #30 Jackie Robinson

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $15,000

Jackie Robinson's 1956 Topps issue is a bitter sweet baseball card...

On one hand, the card is absolutely beautiful and features a fantastic image of him stealing home while legendary Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres watches in the batter's box.

I've always thought it was funny how closely Podres was standing to the action in front of him.

On the other other hand, it's Robinson's last baseball card as he would retire from Major League Baseball after the 1956 season.

Many collectors consider this card to be Jackie's best-looking card which is hard to argue.

1956 Topps #30 Jackie Robinson Baseball Card

1956 Topps #31 Hank Aaron

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $10,500

One of my favorite things about this baseball card is how that is not Hank Aaron sliding into home plate, it's actually Willie Mays...

How or why Topps made the error is a mystery to me but clearly that is the Say Hey Kid barreling down on home plate in a Milwaukee Braves uniform.

Can you imagine if those two had actually played on the same team?

By accident, you're actually getting two of the best baseball players who ever lived on this card but regardless of the error, it's still one of my favorite Hank Aaron cards.

The 1956 season may not have been Aaron's personal best but he still led the league in batting average (.328), hits (200) and doubles (34) on his way to finishing third in MVP voting.

1956 Topps #31 Hank Aaron Baseball Card

1956 Topps #5 Ted Williams

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $10,000

Next on the list is none other than the Splendid Splinter.

There are so many great hitters on this list but Williams' card is the only one to show him at the plate.

And what a great image it is: Williams looks to be watching one of his towering drives as it explodes off the bat.

We'll unfortunately never know what a 1952 Topps or 1953 Topps Ted Williams may have looked like but at least we still have other beautiful Topps cards from the 1950's such as this to marvel at.

1956 Topps #5 Ted Williams Baseball Card

1956 Topps #130 Willie Mays

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $8,500

Here is another great image of Willie Mays sliding into home, this time on his own card rather than Aaron's.

The 1956 season saw Mays steal a personal single season best 40 bases although the one on this card was one of his 24 from the season before.

Arguably the game's most well-rounded player who ever lived, Mays is always one of the keys to any set in which he appears.

Given who he is, it's tough to imagine him so "far" down this list but there is some pretty tough company in this set.

1956 Topps #130 Willie Mays Baseball Card

1956 Topps #15 Ernie Banks

 Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $7,500

Next on our list is "Mr. Cub", Ernie Banks.

You know you have to have been pretty good to earn the nickname "Mr." followed by any team name.

Although the action shot on Banks' card is not as lively as others on this list showing leaping catches, towering shots, or slides into home plate it still adds a nice touch.

Banks slugged 512 home runs over his career and here we see him touching them all as teamates Gene Baker and Ted Tappe wait to congratulate him.

1956 Topps #15 Ernie Banks Baseball Card

1956 Topps #79 Sandy Koufax

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $6,000

Many players who appeared in the 1955 Topps set saw the same head shot image from that set used on their 1956 Topps card as well.

Interestingly, and for reasons unknown to me, Koufax was not one of those players.

The image from his rookie card would have looked pretty weird on this card, however, so maybe Topps made the change based on that alone.

Koufax was one of those guys who took time to develop into the star we know today as the first half of his career was nowhere near as dominant as the second half.

Regardless, his second-year issue depicts him doing what he did best: hurling what was likely a blazing fastball.

1956 Topps #79 Sandy Koufax Baseball Card

1956 Topps #1 William Harridge

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $4,500

The 1956 Topps set was the first to feature presidents of both the American League and the National League.

William Harridge became the third-ever president of the American Leauge in 1931 and for 28 years made many contributions to the game, perhaps most notably his involvement in creating the All-Star game.

Had Harridge appeared anywhere else in the set sequence, his card would not be as valuable.

But because his was card #1, it's incrementally tougher to find in top grade as many kids used to place his card on top of their stacks therefore exposing it to more damage and wear.

By comparison, the card of National League president Warren Giles, #2 in the set, can be found for a third as much as Harridge's card in top condition.

1956 Topps #1 William Harridge Baseball Card

1956 Topps #292 Luis Aparicio Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $4,000

One of the most notable things about the 1956 Topps set is its lack of many rookie cards of Hall of Famers.

In fact, there are only two in this set: Luis Aparicio and Walt Alston.

Aparicio was Rookie of the Year in 1956 and would also go on to be a 13-time All-Star and 9-time Gold Glove winner over his storied career.

A young Aparicio is shown on this card leaping into the air with a huge smile on his face making for a fantastic rookie card with strong eye appeal.

1956 Topps #292 Luis Aparicio Rookie Card

1956 Topps Baseball Cards In Review

So, there's a look at the ten most valuable 1956 Topps cards.

I really can't say enough about this terrific set as the 3-3/4" by 2-5/8" horizontal design, dual-image artwork, strong group of stars, and the introduction of checklists and president cards make it a sheer joy to collect.

Also interesting is the large quantity of variations in the set which make completing the whole thing quite a challenge for master set collectors.

The most notable variations are that cards #1-180 can be found with both white and gray backs with the gray variations being more scarce.

You'd think that would result in a price premium between the two, but really I can't spot much of a difference in value between them.

Regardless of variations and price points, this set is simply just a lot of fun to pursue which is the whole point of baseball card collecting anyway.

Ross Uitts
 

Ross is the founder of Old Sports Cards and has been collecting sports cards for over 30 years. He also loves to write about the hobby and has written for Beckett, Topps, SABR and of course, this website. Need help buying or selling cards or have a general question about the hobby? Contact him at [email protected]

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