I mentioned the 1951 Bowman Snider in my article about the 1950 Drake’s Cookies Cards, and I showed that the 1951 Bowman and 1950 Drake’s Snider cards shared the same image. Since then, I’ve been trying to get my hands on a copy of the Bowman card, and many other people must be, too, since I’ve been unsuccessful. So I thought I would take a deeper look at the card as its popularity continues to be growing, particularly for well-centered examples.
First, I think it’s important to understand a player’s accomplishments when evaluating any of their cards, and PSA wrote an excellent biography for Snider:
Edwin Donald “Duke” Snider (September 19, 1926 – February 27, 2011) was the hard-hitting centerfielder of the highly power-laden Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1940s and ’50s. Snider was among three Hall of Fame centerfielders of the era alongside New York Giant, Willie Mays, and New York Yankee, Mickey Mantle. Known as “The Duke of Flatbush,” Snider outgunned the rest of the league during the 1950s, hitting more home runs than any other player with 326. Duke was an eight-time All-Star selection, was a member of six National League pennant winners and helped lead the Dodger to two World Series championships (1955 and 1959). Snider player primarily for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers (1947-1962) with one-year stints with the Mets (1963) and the San Francisco Giants (1964) before retiring at the end of the 1964 season. Duke Snider was the last player to hit a home run in historic Ebbet’s Field in 1957 prior to the franchise moving to Los Angeles. Duke Snider retired with 2,116 hits, 1,259 runs, 1,333 RBI 407, home runs and a .295 career batting average. Edwin Donald “Duke” Snider was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.PSA Card
Next, the 1951 Bowman set is extraordinary, it’s known for having Mickey Mantle’s rookie card, but the 324 card set has an incredible number of amazing cards. Some may say the design is “simple,” but how Bowman enhanced recognizable press photographs by painting them in color with the simple player’s name in a caption looks fantastic to me. A common condition detractor was gum and wax staining out of the pack. So finding a clean example from 1951 is really tough. In the Prices by Grade summary below, PSA most commonly grades Snider’s cards as a 4, 5, or 6.
This Snider card isn’t his rookie; that would be the 1949 Bowman copy, but I think it’s gorgeous. And the high-end cards are striking—the lone PSA 10 in the population report sold for almost $16k back in January 2020. The last PSA 9 sold for just over $6k in December 2021, and the previous 3 PSA 8s sold for $816 in October 2021, $865 in August 2021, and $953 in August 2021 as well.
Overall, the card took a jump in the Fall of 2020 into the spring of 2021, but unlike many other cards in the hobby (particularly modern ones), it hasn’t fallen back in price. PSA 4s were selling for between $60-80 in the Fall of 2020, then jumped to $145 in February 2021. And the last PSA 4 sold for $156 in December 2021. The rising realized prices for the PSA 4, 5, and 7 1951 Bowman Snider cards are below.
Ultimately, the 1951 Bowman Duke Snider card is doing what most desirable/hot cards in the hobby do; it’s getting more expensive. I think the demand is from a combination of Snider’s extraordinary career, the card being in a great set, its condition sensitivity, and incredible look. So if anyone has a nicely centered copy, I’m still in the market for one, so please reach out to me on Twitter, and as always, happy collecting!