The 1959 Topps Baseball set has aged well and remains popular with collectors. What had been a few years of competition-free baseball card releases from Topps came to an end in 1959. The Fleer Gum Company released an exclusive 80-card set dedicated entirely to the immortal Ted Williams. Not only did this keep Ted Williams from appearing in the Topps set, but it also re-awakened the possibility of a serious card competing with Topps for baseball card supremacy. Topps had thought the purchase of Bowman a few years back would help them maintain dominance for years to come, but the surprising upstart set from Fleer would put Topps back on alert.
Number of Cards
The 1959 Topps set boasted a massive 572-card lineup. This would be Topps' biggest issue to date. Lack of competition and an increase in business allowed Topps baseball card sets to grow every year since the Bowman buyout.
Size of Cards
Following the standard introduced by the 1957 Topps set, the 1959 issue was again 2 1/2 x 3 1/2" – the same as modern cards.
Easily recognized, the basic card design featured a single color bright background with a player photo in a giant circle on the front. The name was slant printed at top and the team name and logo and position were along the bottom. The backs contained full statistical information and basic biographical information. The backs were printed in green and red (cards 1 – 506) and black and red (cards 507 – 572). Cartoons still made the occasional appearance on the back as well. The large set also featured almost a hundred specialty cards like: team cards, Sporting News rookies, Sporting News All-Star cards and some multi-player cards. There were also special cards for Ford Frick, Warren Giles and a Roy Campanella card celebrating the courage and spirit of the great Dodger catcher who had been in a tragic and career ending car accident the prior year.
The 1959 Topps set was issued in both one cent and five cent wax packs. The cards were again issued in series. This year, Topps broke them down into six series for distribution, but none are particularly scarce and all can be found in near equal numbers.
Not surprisingly, Mickey Mantle remains the key card in this Topps baseball set as he does in practically all of the Topps baseball card sets he appears in during the 1950s. Other key 1959 Topps baseball cards read like a Hall of Fame roster of 50s legends: Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Bob Gibson and Yogi Berra just to name a few. The Commissioner Frick card being the first card in the set and not very desirable by youngsters of the day commands a premium as well.