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Starting a Post-War Baseball Card Collection with $400

The other week I built a 1970s Topps Graded Basketball Collection on a $250 budget. Today, I want to do something similar with baseball cards. This time I am raising my budget to $400 and targeting the era between 1948 and 1975.

If the prospect chase, the boom and bust, and gambling like tendencies of modern baseball card collecting aren’t for you or you’re looking for a bit more volume for your graded card dollar, some players with pedigree, proven hobby stability and understood print numbers, consider dabbling into vintage.

Additionally, if you feel priced out of the vintage market, I want to show that you can put together a cool vintage collection, with nothing but Hall-of-Fame players, on a reasonable budget.

Here were my rules:

  1. Budget $400
  2. eBay sold prices as my cost basis
  3. PSA Graded
  4. Every player must be in the HOF
  5. Must include a Mickey Mantle
  6. Eight cards

And here are the cards eight cards I picked.

1968 Topps Mickey Mantle #280 PSA 3 – $142

One of my rules was to include a Mickey Mantle, and I’ve always liked the look of the 1968 Topps variant.

1968 Topps Mickey Mantle #280

1952 Topps Warren Spahn Black Back #33 PSA 1 – $34

A vintage collation wouldn’t be complete without a 1952 Topps Card.

1952 Topps Warren Spahn #33

1959 Topps Hank Aaron All Star #561 PSA 3 – $36

Hank Aaron is a hobby icon, and the 1958 and 1959 All-Star subsets provide good value for the dollar.

1959 Topps Hank Aaron All-Star #561

1973 Topps Roberto Clemente #50 PSA 6 – $53

Roberto Clemente is one of the most popular players in the hobby, and his 1973 Topps card was the last made during his career.

1973 Topps Roberto Clemente #50

1955 Bowman Yogi Berra #168 PSA 4 – $62

Yogi Berra was an icon during his playing days and long after. And I wanted to include a 1948-55 Bowman card.

1955 Bowman Yogi Berra #168

1967 Topps Ernie Banks #215 PSA 4 – $18

1967 Topps has been a popular set, and I was hoping to find a card from that set.

1967 Topps Ernie Banks #215

1971 Topps Frank Robinson #640 PSA 5 – $35

My peak collecting days as a kid were while I lived in Baltimore, so I was looking to include a player from the Orioles.

1971 Topps Frank Robinson #640

1959 Fleer Ted Williams 1941 All Star Hero #18 PSA 7 – $15

Ted Williams is one of the all-time greats, and what’s a vintage collection without a little bit of an oddball set thrown in. I also considered a card from the 1964 Topps Giant set.

1959 Fleer Ted Williams All-Star Hero #18

I was able to squeeze eight cards in by really focusing on mid-grade variants, with a total cost of $395. It’s true, with HOF cards from this era, high-grade examples would go through the bankroll with a single card. However, you can find excellent examples, buying the card, not the grade, if you look mid-tier, and have some patience in the market.

There are so many options and players in the post-war era.

Even if you are focused on modern collecting, dabbling into vintage is a great way to add a little depth to your collection.

What key player, not included above, do you think should be in any collection from this era? Let me know in the comments down below. 

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