There’s a thing on card Twitter where people post a photo of related cards and call it a “Carpet o’ Cards.” Ideally, the picture is taken on a carpet, but that’s not absolutely necessary anymore. And over the past few weeks, I have seen two of the 1959 Topps multi-player card groups shared in my feed; here’s the first:
Collectors should also know that 1959 Topps wasn’t the first to have multiple players featured on a card. 1953 Bowman Color had a Rizzuto/Martin card and a Berra/Bauer/Mantle. 1954 Topps had the O’Brien brother card (though, for some reason, a few collectors don’t include this card since it wasn’t a combination of star players). 1957 Topps was the first to combine stars and had the Yankee’s Power Hitters, and my favorite, the Dodgers’ Sluggers.
1958 Topps had Slugger’s Supreme, World Series Batting Foes, and Rival Fence Busters.
Topps made 107 multi-player cards between 1957 and 1969. These cards are really popular today, but in the early 50s, I’ve read, they were considered a little gimmicky. I also suspect the clever titles went right over the heads of a 9-year-old collector.
Ok, now back to the topic at hand, the 17 1959 Topps baseball combination cards. The 1959 set was the largest Topps had produced at the time, with 572 cards, so a few subsets were included, including this expanded multi-player/coach combination set that Topps grew from the 1958 set. These cards each have a clever name (some with nice alliteration like Batter Bafflers) to describe the players on the card, like Infield Power for Runnels/Gernert/Malzone, Fence Busters for Aaron/Mathews, and Hitters’ Foes for Podres/Labine/Drysdale. Every card in the subset has excellent color, and together, they look incredible. Here’s the second 1959 Topps Multi-Player Carpet o’ Cards:
And here are all 17 of the 1959 Topps Multi-Player/Combination cards individually:
1959 Topps #17 Danny’s All-Stars
1959 Topps #34 Pitchers Beware
1959 Topps #74 Directing the Power
1959 Topps #147 Cubs’ Clubbers
1959 Topps #156 Ace Hurlers
1959 Topps #166 Destruction Crew
1959 Topps #212 Fence Busters
1959 Topps #237 Run Preventers
1959 Topps #262 Hitters’ Foes
1959 Topps #291 Pitching Partners
1959 Topps #317 N.L. Hitting Kings
1959 Topps #346 Batter Bafflers
1959 Topps #383 Words of Wisdom
1959 Topps #408 Keystone Combo
1959 Topps #428 Buc Hill Aces
1959 Topps #519 Infield Power
1959 Topps #543 Corsair Outfield Trio
If you’re interested in completing a set of these 17 cards, the most expensive, from a price guide perspective, are the Fence Busters and Corsair Outfield Trio cards, which feature Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente. From a cost perspective, I suppose we should be thankful none of the cards feature Mickey Mantle! Also, in 1959 Topps, cards 199-286 can be found with white or gray backs, with gray being less common, so you’ll need to find three more combination cards if you are interested in a master set, of which Fence Busters is included. And like any vintage set, a high-grade card (PSA 9 or PSA 10) is going to be disproportionately more expensive than a mid to upper-grade card. But like the images I showed, many of those PSA 6/7 cards have excellent eye appeal and are pretty affordable.
Collectively, the 17 1959 Topps multi-player/combination cards are a great way, over a smaller group of cards, to get a sampling of most of the key players of the late 1950s. So if you’re looking to collect a vintage subset, combo cards, and this grouping, in particular, give you a lot of bang for your buck.
If this is a set you’re looking to tackle, let me know in the comments, and happy collecting!