Can you imagine how great it must have been to tear into a pack of 1951 Bowman baseball cards that spring?

I mean, if you were a young baseball fan or collector, how else would you get a look at your favorite players?

By that time, Bowman had been the only game in town for a few years, and, though Topps would soon burst onto the scene, no one knew that yet.

No, for the moment, it was Bowman or nothing — good thing the cards were so beautiful and the checklist so full, at 324 cards.

Now, nearly seven decades later, the set is still a hobby favorite even though early Topps issues have stolen much of the limelight.

These dozen 1951 Bowman baseball cards, especially, maintain a hold on collectors … they’re the most valuable in the set according to PSA 7 values in the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide.

1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie Card (#253)

1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle

So, if you really want a Mickey Mantle rookie card, this is the one you have to chase.

Of course, the 1952 Topps Mantle card is so ingrained in the hobby and public consciousness as the “Mantle Rookie” that that’ll never really change.

But this Bowman beauty was issued a full year before the ’52 Topps. “Beauty” is an operative word, too, because you could make a (really) strong case that the Bowman card is the more attractive of the two.

And there’s no need to weep from 1951 Bowman Mantle because it toils in the shadow of that ’52 Topps card, either

Today, Mantle’s true rookie card carries a price tag of $30,000 or more in PSA 7 condition.

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1951 Bowman Willie Mays Rookie Card (#305)

1951 Bowman Willie Mays

Same story here for Mays as for Mantle …

While most everyone thinks of Mays’ 1952 Topps card as his rookie, his actual RC is this 1951 Bowman.

Now, the 1951 Bowman set features some interesting background illustrations, and this Mays is a good example.

I mean, who doesn’t want to watch their favorite player take his swings in front of a canvas tarp with a farm shed peeking out around the edges?

The rural setting hasn’t diminished card prices any, as this is a $12,000+ buy in slabbed NM condition.

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1951 Bowman Whitey Ford Rookie Card (#1)

1951 Bowman Whitey Ford

Whitey Ford was the most famous rotation member of the 1950s Yankees dynasty, and he got his start right at the beginning of the decade.

Ford served notice as a rookie in 1950 that he’d be a force, going 9-1 with a 2.81 ERA.

That earned him this 1951 Bowman rookie card the next season, even though he’d spend 1951-52 in the military.

The wiley lefty built a Hall of Fame career when he returned to the Bronx, though, and his cards reflect that legend today. In this case, the #1-card status also introduces some condition sensitivity.

All in all, it adds up to an $1800 price tag for a PSA 7 copy of the Ford rookie card.

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1951 Bowman Ted Williams (#165)

1951 Bowman Ted Williams

The long, tall aspect ratio of the 1951 Bowman set fits Williams’ elegant swing to a T, and the bright day and historic Fenway climes in the background don’t hurt any.

Of course, neither does the fact that this is a classic mid-career Williams card — even though the painting is identical to the one Bowman used for their 1950 card of the Splendid Splinter.

The ’51 is a $600 card in PSA 7 condition.

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1951 Bowman Yogi Berra (#2)

1951 Bowman Yogi Berra

This card was issued the first summer that Berra turned in an American League MVP-winning performance (the others came in 1954 and 1955).

The ’51 Bowman presents a young, smiling Yogi just on the cusp of his greatest seasons, and also on the cusp of another dominant run by the Yankees.

This is a $500 buy in PSA 7.

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1951 Bowman Roy Campanella (#31)

1951 Bowman Roy Campanella

While the Berra card features an ambiguous head shot, this Campy leaves no doubt you’re looking at a catcher.

Another catcher headed for Cooperstown, in fact, and another catcher on the verge of winning his first of three MVP awards (the NL version, in 1951, 1953, and 1955).

This action-packed pasteboard pushes $300 in PSA 7.

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1951 Bowman Duke Snider (#32)

1951 Bowman Duke Snider

Before Mays and Mantle joined him in the debate about who was the greatest centerfielder in the game — Willie? Mickey? The Duke? — Snider was already building his legend for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

This card captures a young Snider, along with some fan action in the background, in the dark recesses of Ebbets Field.

It’s about a $300 item in graded NM condition.

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1951 Bowman Nellie Fox Rookie Card (#232)

1951 Bowman Nellie Fox

Nellie Fox made his Major League debut as a 19-year-old in 1947 for the Philadelphia Athletics.

It wasn’t until an October 1949 trade that sent him to the Chicago White Sox for Joe Tipton, though, that things changed for the Hall of Fame second baseman.

In Chicago, Fox finally got regular playing time — starting in 1950 — and his rookie card … this 1951 Bowman.

Today, the Fox RC sells for about $230 in PSA 7.

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1951 Bowman Warren Spahn (#134)

1951 Bowman Warren Spahn

On this 1951 Bowman card, Spahn appears to have found the same sort of barn siding that backed up Mays elsewhere in the issue.

The result is a high-kicking shot of the all-time great lefty against a rustic green screen.

The classic shot of the Boston/Milwaukee Braves can generally be had for a shade under $200 in PSA 7 condition.

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1951 Bowman Phil Rizzuto (#26)

1951 Bowman Phil Rizzuto

Another Yanks great, another valuable 1951 Bowman card.

This one shows scooter in full extension, climbing the ladder to nab a ball while a couple of Bomber teammates watch on from the infield in the background.

It’s an intriguing card that sells for around $175 in PSA 7.

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1951 Bowman Bob Feller (#30)

1951 Bowman Bob Feller

Rapid Robert was all smiles on this 1951 Bowman beauty.

Maybe he knew his Indians were about to flirt with World Series glory in the next few years, or maybe he knew that 1951 would be his last great season.

Either way, Feller remains popular with collectors, and a graded NM copy of his ’51 Bowman will set you back around $175 today.

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1951 Bowman Pee Wee Reese (#80)

1951 Bowman Pee Wee Reese

This Reese card is not as exciting as that of his Yankees counterpart, Rizzuto.

It’s not nearly as iconic as Pee Wee’s own 1953 Bowman card, either.

Still, this is a prime-time card of the Dodgers’ legendary shortstop, so it’s no surprise that PSA 7 copies sell in the neighborhood of $175.

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1951 Bowman Baseball lot of 17 cards

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1951 Bowman 10 card Lot VINTAGE BASEBALL

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LOT THREE 1951 BOWMAN BASEBALL #24 #252 #287 cincinnati

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1951 BOWMAN BASEBALL LOT <65 CARDS> BK $1635 SP’S

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