1975 Topps George Brett Rookie Card: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide

1975 Topps #228 George Brett Rookie CardThe 1975 Topps George Brett rookie card is one of the most sought after cards in the hobby.

The green and purple split borders are instantly recognizable…

So is the nice pose of a young Brett wearing his Kansas City Royals cap standing ready at the bat.

As a mid-70’s card, it’s on the latter side of the vintage baseball card spectrum.

And while many cards from that decade may not fetch huge prices, Brett’s rookie card is an exception.

The exact reasons why, we’ll get into shortly.

It’s a card I’ve always wanted to own and someday hope to cross it off my want list in the near future.

For now, I’ll go over everything you need to know about collecting Brett’s rookie cards.

Ross Uitts

Ross Uitts - Owner

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George Brett Rookie Card Value

The first thing people usually ask is: how much is a George Brett rookie card worth?

The answer may surprise you…

If you find one in top shape then you’re looking at a five figure price tag.

The key is finding one graded by Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA) in PSA 10 Gem Mint condition.

They are considered to be the benchmark in the vintage card industry so collectors put heavy premiums on their graded cards.

According to the PSA SMR current market values are:

PSA 10 GEM MINT: $35,000

PSA 9 MINT: $2,600

PSA 8 NM-MT: $225

But what if your George Brett rookie card isn’t professionally graded?

How do you determine its market value?

Buyers and sellers should focus on several key factors that professional graders look at such as:

  1. Centering – From top to bottom and left to right, how well is the card centered? Centering is probably the biggest concern for most collectors. On the front side, if a card exhibits no worse than 55/45 to 60/40 on the front and 75/25 on the back then it is usually considered a centered card.
  2. Corners – You want to see sharp corners. Ideally “razor sharp” as many auctioneers and sellers like to say. Round corners are signs of heavy use and are eye sores.
  3. Edges – Nice clean edges go a long way to help a card’s eye appeal. Sometimes you’ll see vintage cards that were poorly cut and don’t have nice clean edges. Professional graders (and collectors) will make exceptions for cards with known cut issues. But when possible, you want to see edges free of chipping and notches.
  4. Surface – One of the easiest ways to ruin a card’s value is if it has a crease in it. Other issues like indentation, marking, scratching, and staining can significantly reduce a card’s value.

You can always refer to cards listed for sale online as a reference only. See what a Gem Mint 10 or NM-MT 8 looks like by finding current examples listed for sale.

But please be careful and remember those are only references.

It’s just too tough to notice some condition issues, especially surface and gloss issues, by looking at you card with the naked eye and comparing it to a professionally graded copy online.

Remember: Professional graders use high-tech optical equipment when reviewing them and grading them. They can see errors you can’t.

Here’s a copy of a PSA Gem Mint 10 example that exhibits good centering, sharp corners, clear surface and clean edges. Everything you’d want to see as a high-grade collector.

1975 Topps George Brett Rookie Card Graded in PSA 10 Gem Mint Condition

Key Facts

Distinction: Although this is his recognized mainstream rookie card, there are also Topps Mini and O-Pee-Chee versions of this card as well. We’ll get into those later…

Along with the #223 Robin Yount rookie card, Brett’s is considered to be a key to the set. And it’s easily one of the most highly coveted baseball cards of the 1970’s.

Number: This is card #228 in a set of 660 cards.

Design: The two years prior were thought to lack color so Topps packed a huge punch when it offered a dual-color border design with its 1975 set. Brett’s rookie features green along the top border and purple along the bottom of the vertical layout. The Royals team name in pink at the top of the card rounds out this notoriously colorful design. As with many previous Topps designs, the 1975 set also featured a nice facsimile signature towards the bottom.1985 Topps #181 Roger Clemens Rookie Card

Reverse Side: The reverse side of the card is printed vertically as well and contains his personal information and a brief list of stats. Both his Minor and Major League statistics are covered and Topps also talks about Brett being “one of the A.L.’s fine rookies of 1974” along the bottom.

Topps also included a nice short trivia question about squeeze plays to help educate young kids on the lingo of the game.

1975 Topps George Brett Rookie Card Reverse Side With Stats

Condition Issues: The card can sometimes be off-centered but the colored borders offer the greatest challenge: chipping and wear along the edges and corners. While they make for a nice design, those colors don’t do collectors any favors in trying to prevent wear from showing easily.

The Other George Brett Rookie Cards

The 1975 Topps design was actually shared by two other Brett rookie cards from the same year: the O-Pee-Chee and Topps Mini issues. The front and back imagery are the exact same across all three versions but there are some slight differences to be aware of.

1975 O-Pee-Chee #228

1975 O-Pee-Chee George Brett Rookie Card

Distinction: O-Pee-Chee also released a George Brett rookie for the Canadian market in fewer quantities.

Number: This is card #228 in a set of 660 cards.

Design: The imagery on the front side is the exact same as its Topps counterpart but the card stock itself was of lesser quality. It can therefore be a bit tougher to find in high grades.1985 Topps #181 Roger Clemens Rookie Card

Reverse Side: The reverse side is almost the same as the Topps version except that the trivia question at the top and brief bio of Brett at the bottom have both been translated into French as well. The OPC print designation is also called out along the bottom of the card.

1975 O-Pee-Chee George Brett Rookie Card Reversie Side With Stats

Estimated PSA 9 Value: $1,300

1975 Topps Mini #228

1975 Topps Mini George Brett Rookie Card PSA Gem Mint 10

1975 Topps George Brett Rookie Card Graded in PSA 10 Gem Mint Condition

Distinction: Topps released “Mini” versions of its regular line of baseball cards in the Michigan and West Coast markets in 1975. As you can see in the above comparison, they were smaller than the standard-sized issue and measured 2-1/4” by 3-1/8″. 

Number: This is card #228 in a set of 660 cards.

Design and Reverse Side: Everything is the same as the regular Topps version except for the dimensions.1985 Topps #181 Roger Clemens Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $20,000

George Brett’s Legacy

George Brett goes down in history as one of the game’s best hitters of all-time and arguably the best of his era.

His list of accomplishments is outstanding:

  • Named an All-Star thirteen straight times from 1976 to 1988
  • Three AL batting titles (1976, 1980, 1990)
  • AL MVP in 1980
  • World Series champion in 1985
  • Three Silver Slugger awards (1980, 1985, 1988)
  • Gold Glove in 1985
  • Elected to the MLB Hall of Fame in 1999.

His 3,154 hits ranks 16th overall on the All-Time list and is tops among third basemen.

To say Brett was an amazing hitter is an understatement. The guy could flat get the job done at the plate.

And although he played in a smaller market in Kansas City, his play drove his popularity to extreme heights.

To this day he remains a fan favorite and collectors throughout the hobby continue to chase down his rookie cards.

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