15 Most Valuable 1964 Topps Baseball Cards

Most Valuable 1964 Topps Baseball Cards

One of the more overlooked and often underrated sets of the vintage era, the 1964 Topps baseball card set packed plenty of star power and lots of color.

And the enormous team names across the top make its design instantly recognizable...

The size of the team names, though, is precisely the thing that leads to mixed opinions on this set as some feel it distracts from the fantastic player images.

Regardless, it still delivers a great checklist and it's a fun set to collect.

And in this guide, I'll run through the fifteen most valuable.

Let's jump right in!

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1964 Topps #50 Mickey Mantle

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $11,500

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $200

With a lack of superstar rookie cards in its checklist, it's no surprise that Mickey Mantle headlines the 1964 Topps set as its most desirable card.

The bold Yankees team name in red across the top combined with Mantle's look of supreme determination give this card an enormous amount of eye appeal.

Although he was on the back-end of his career by the time the 1964 season rolled around, Mantle still turned in an impressive line of 92 runs scored, 35 home runs, 111 RBI and a .303 batting average.

In fact, that was his third-highest RBI total in the 14 seasons he had spent in the Majors at that point.

Because centering and print issues aren't nearly as troublesome in this set as they are in others of the era, this card is relatively more affordable in higher grades.

1964 Topps #50 Mickey Mantle Baseball Card

1964 Topps #125 Pete Rose

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $6,000

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $165

While Rose made his rookie card debut in the 1963 Topps set, his second-year card featured the coveted "Topps All-Star Rookie" designation.

Topps first introduced the concept of its "All-Star Rookie Team" in its 1960 release.

For years afterward, Topps would either include a symbol of a gold trophy, gold cup or sometimes no symbol at all to mark these special cards.

Batting just .269, Rose fell into a bit of a sophomore slump during the 1964 season and sought to correct things by spending the 1964-1965 offseason playing in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Whatever he did worked as he came roaring back in the 1965 season to finish with a .312 batting average and 209 base hits, making it the first of ten seasons he'd finish with 200+ hits.

1964 Topps #125 Pete Rose all star rookie card

1964 Topps #440 Roberto Clemente

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $2,500

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $95

Clemente cards remain some of the strongest in the vintage segment of the hobby and will likely stay that way for quite some time.

He was beloved both on and off the field and by 1964 he was well on his way to locking himself in as one of the game's biggest legends.

That season Clemente earned his second batting title with a .339 average, was named an All-Star and picked up his fourth straight Gold Glove.

This is just an all-around beautiful card as Clemente sports the old school Pirates sleeveless uniform while the blue team name across the top and red nameplate along the bottom add terrific pop.

1964 Topps #440 Roberto Clemente Baseball Card

1964 Topps #300 Hank Aaron

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $2,000

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $70

It's hard to say with 100% certainty who the greatest hitter of all-time was, but Hank Aaron's name is always near the top of that discussion.

With career totals of 2,297 RBI, a 305 batting average, 755 home runs, and 3,771 hits, there is no questioning "Hammerin' Hank's" ability to use the baseball bat.

Like Mantle, Mays, and Clemente, Hank Aaron is one of the kings of the vintage baseball card market so you'll always find his name near the top of the most desired cards of any set in which he appeared.

At first, the lime green color that Topps used for the team name and nameplate may seem a bit odd but give it time and they start to grow on you.

1964 Topps #300 Hank Aaron Baseball Card

1964 Topps #150 Willie Mays

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $1,500

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $65

It is hard to complain about any of Willie Mays' vintage cards, but I've always thought Topps could have at least picked a better picture to use on this card.

It looks as if the photographer caught him in the middle of talking to a teammate next to him as the Giants players stood lined up as a team.

Mays was as steady as ever during the 1964 season winning the home run title (47), picking up his eight Gold Glove and leading the league in slugging percentage (.607) and OPS (.990).

1964 Topps #150 Willie Mays baseball card

1964 Topps #136 World Series Game 1

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $1,000

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $25

As a Dodgers fan and collector of Sandy Koufax cards, this is probably my favorite card in the entire set as it commemorates his performance in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series.

In a complete game 5-2 victory, Koufax mowed down an incredible 15 batters in a New York Yankees lineup that featured the 1963 MVP, Elston Howard, and former MVPs Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

Koufax's 15 strikeouts in a single World Series game were a record until Bob Gibson struck out 17 Detroit Tigers in the 1968 World Series.

In Game 4, Koufax turned in another impressive performance on his way to a 2-1 victory which sealed the sweep for the Dodgers.

For his efforts, Koufax was crowned the MVP of the 1963 Series.

1964 Topps #136 World Series Game One Baseball Card

1964 Topps #1 N.L. ERA Leaders

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $1,000

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $25

We just discussed how incredible Koufax was during the 1963 World Series but he pitched at that level during the entire 1963 season, too.

In fact, that was the year he won both the Cy Young and MVP award, making it just the second time in MLB history that a pitcher had been named MVP (Don Newcombe did it in 1956).

At season's end, he had turned in an ERA of 1.88 while Dick Ellsworth and Bob Friend finished with ERAs of 2.11 and 2.34, respectively.

Koufax's incredible year mixed with the fact that this card is tough to find in high grade make it so expensive.

As card #1 in the set, it was more susceptible to damage given its location on the printing sheet as well as bearing the brunt of the impact from rubber bands that held kids' numerically-organized stacks together.

Centering is a challenge with all of the "Leaders" cards in this set, too.

1964 Topps #1 N.L. ERA Leaders Sandy Koufax Baseball Card

1964 Topps #473 Baltimore Orioles Team

Estimated PSA 8 NM-MT Value: $1,000

Estimated PSA 5 EX-MT Value: $12

The Baltimore Orioles posted the third-best record in the American League on the 1964 season with 97 wins and 65 losses.

So, you may be wondering why this card finds itself this high on the list and why it's worth around $1,000 in mint condition?

The answer is a simple case of supply and demand as this card has only achieved PSA 9 status three times as of the time of this writing.

That leads to big price tags when set builders looking to piece together the finest sets imaginable go toe to toe when bidding on an otherwise unremarkable card like this.

1964 Topps #473 Baltimore Orioles Team Baseball Card

1964 Topps #331 A.L. Bombers

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $950

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $75

I love the old multi-player cards that Topps came up with to pay tribute to some of the game's biggest stars of the day.

The "Tops In N.L." card that featured Willie Mays and Hank Aaron is another great one in this set.

But, I've always wondered at how Topps arrived at this particular quartet for this card.

Mantle broke his foot in 1963 and played in only 65 games while Maris played in only 90 games that year.

Neither one cracked the 25 home run mark in 1963.

Kaline and Cash finished among the bottom of the top 10 in home runs during the 1963 season with 27 and 26 home runs, respectively.

Harmon Killebrew (45), Dick Stuart (42), Bob Allison (35), and Jimmie Hall (33) were the top four home run leaders that year but let's face it, those names don't quite match up and market as well as the four guys who were selected.

Or, maybe Topps was banking on these guys having a massive 1964 season and, based on their resumes to that point, why wouldn't they?

Or, maybe they were just able to conveniently get four of the game's biggest power hitters together all at once before a Yankees versus Tigers game that Spring?

Who knows? It's a fantastic card...

1964 Topps #331 A.L. Bombers Mantle Kaline Cash Maris Baseball Card

1964 Topps #55 Ernie Banks

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $950

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $30

"Mr. Cub" has many great cards to his name but this one has a certain aura to it that makes it seem almost more than just a baseball card.

The headshot of Banks looking off into the distance with the "Cubs" team name in bold across the top provide some imagery that seems meant to be plastered on a wall at Wrigley somewhere to honor their beloved hero.

Banks had a quality season in 1964 as he went on to hit 23 home runs and drove in 95 runs but Orlando Cepeda and Bill White beat him out to represent the National League at first base in the All-Star game that year.

1964 Topps #55 Ernie Banks Baseball Card

1964 Topps #3 N.L. Pitching Leaders

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $900

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $15

Of the three "Leaders" cards there are in this set featuring National League pitchers and their performances in the 1963 season, Koufax headlines all three of them.

Card #1 (which we saw earlier) saw him with a league-best ERA of 1.88, this card represents his 25 wins (Marichal had 25, too), and card #5 commemorates his 306 strikeouts which were 41 more than Jim Maloney's second-best mark of 265 that year.

Not enough can be said about Koufax's 1963 season as it was simply one of the best seasons for a pitcher in the history of the game.

Centering plagues this card and is the primary factor that keeps more examples of this card from achieving PSA 9 status.

1964 Topps #3 N.L. Pitching Leaders Sandy Koufax Baseball Card

1964 Topps #200 Sandy Koufax

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $900

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $70

Coming off a season in which Koufax won the Cy Young, regular and post-season MVPs, and the Triple Crown, expectations for his 1964 season were sky-high.

Early on, Koufax picked up right where he had left off and even tossed his third career no-hitter on June 4 against the Phillies.

However, injuries began to take a toll on Koufax and after his 19th win of the season, he couldn't even straighten his arm.

After careful examination, Dodgers' team physician, Robert Kerlan, diagnosed him with arthritis and it was then that Koufax's long-term prospects began to look bleak.

Although his season may have ended on a disappointing note, this card is anything but as the bright colors and his beaming smile fit together perfectly. 

1964 Topps #200 Sandy Koufax baseball card

1964 Topps #4 A.L. Pitching Leaders

Estimated With Apostrophe PSA 9 Mint Value: $900

Estimated With Apostrophe PSA 6 EX Value: $30

Estimated Without Apostrophe PSA 9 Mint Value: $750

Estimated Without Apostrophe PSA 6 EX Value: $15

This card is an example of how subtle printing differences can influence baseball card values.

If you look at the back of this card in the images below, you'll notice that one contains an apostrophe after the word "pitching" at the top and the other one doesn't.

So, this means you can find this card in two different versions.

The one with the apostrophe is a bit more rare and valuable than the other one, although neither is cheap in high grade.

1964 Topps #4 A.L. Pitching Leaders Baseball Card

With Apostrophe After "Pitching"

1964 Topps A.L. Pitching Leaders Baseball Card Reverse Side With Apostrophe Variation

Without Apostrophe After "Pitching"

1964 Topps A.L. Pitching Leaders Baseball Card Reverse Side Without Apostrophe Variation

1964 Topps #177 Harmon Killebrew

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $750

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $30

While Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle get a lot of attention for their infamous 1961 season in which they chased Babe Ruth's single-season home run record, Harmon Killebrew was quietly becoming the biggest bomber of the 1960s.

His total of 393 home runs over the decade put him ahead of the next closest slugger, Hank Aaron, by 18.

Judging by the look on Killebrew's face and his stance on this card, it must have been quite intimidating for opposing pitchers when they saw him in the batter's box.

Had he played for a bigger market team, Killebrew would have undoubtedly received more attention for his accolades but he still goes down as one of the best power hitters who ever played.

1964 Topps #177 Harmon Killebrew Baseball Card

1964 Topps #541 Phil Niekro Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $700

Estimated PSA 6 EX Value: $60

In baseball, Phil Niekro is nearly synonymous with the knuckleball pitch as he went on to be known simply as "Knucksie."

His 318 career wins are the most by any knuckleballer and he would've had even more had he not started his career as a reliever, often splitting time between the Majors and Minors.

Niekro's career didn't begin to take its Hall of Fame shape until the 1967 season when he finished with 11 wins and ended up leading the league with a stingy 1.87 ERA.

His rookie card debut saw him split the space with teammate, Phil Roof, as the Braves' "Rookie Stars" and it goes down as the key rookie card in the set to own.

1964 Topps #541 Phil Niekro Rookie Card

1964 Topps Baseball Cards In Review

Most collectors would probably not say the 1964 Topps set is their favorite in terms of design, but many would agree it is one of the more affordable of the vintage era.

Higher printing quality and the absence of any blockbuster rookie cards make it a little easier on the wallet.

And it certainly contains all of the biggest names of the era giving hobbyists plenty of Hall of Famers and stars to collect.

Within the 587-card checklist, there were also several different subsets, including:

  • League Leaders (#1-12)
  • World Series Highlights (#136-140)
  • All-Stars
  • Rookie Stars
  • Team Cards
  • Multi-Player Cards
  • Checklists

Overall, there's a lot to love about this set and completing it can be quite a joy.

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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