Pity the poor 1952 Bowman baseball cards issue … it’s the classic set without an identity!

I mean, the 1952s sort of stole the 1951 Bowman design, removed the little black text box, and replaced it with a facsimile autograph.

That 1951 set hogged all the big-name rookies, too, leaving precious few for the 1952s to claim as their own.

And, even though 1952 Topps should have suffered from the same second-fiddle status, the big, bold design and the events of the following years catapulted that monster of a set to hobby royalty.

1952 Bowman baseball cards unopened wax pack

So we’re left with a great-looking 1952 Bowman set that can’t hold a candle to either its direct contemporary or its own ancestors … not to mention the pure color-burst of the 1953 Bowmans.

All is not lost, though, because we’re still talking about beautiful cards from nearly 70 years ago, a set that’s jam-packed with all-time greats.

Here, then, are the 12 most valuable 1952 Bowman baseball cards, according to PSA 7 listings in the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide.

Play ball!

1952 Bowman Mickey Mantle (#101)

1952 Bowman Mickey  Mantle

So, isn’t it odd that Mantle’s “rookie card” is his 1952 Topps card, and yet his 1952 Bowman is a second-year card?

Yeah, of course that’s a consequence of 1952 Topps’ dominance in general, but still.

And, also but still, this is a pretty nifty looking second-year card of the guy who pretty much catapulted us all into the modern hobby zone all on his own.

No surprise, then, that this is a $5500 card in PSA 7 condition.

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1952 Bowman Willie Mays (#218)

1952 Bowman Willie  Mays

Second verse, same as the first.

Except, of course, that the Mays rookie card — 1952 Topps, that is — isn’t quite as iconic as The Mick’s.

And, also, Mays’ rookie card — 1951 Bowman, that is — isn’t quite as iconic as The Mick’s.

The ’52 Bowman Mays is a pretty gorgeous card, though, even if the Say Hey Kid does look a lot like a slugger-years version of Barry Bonds.

In slabbed NM condition, this is an $1800 card.

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1952 Bowman Yogi Berra (#1)

1952 Bowman Yogi  Berra

Makes sense that Berra would be card #1 in this set, right?

I mean, what with winning the 1951 American League MVP award and leading the New York Yankees to a World Series title?

Yeah, it makes sense, and so does the $600 (or so) price tag for PSA 7 copies of this card.

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1952 Bowman Stan Musial (#196)

1952 Bowman Stan  Musial

Stan Musial, on the other hand didn’t win an MVP in 1951, though he came close.

The St. Louis Cardinals legend finished second that year to Roy Campanella (see below), but Stan the Man got a nifty 1952 Bowman card the next spring as a consolation prize.

That pasteboard, showing Musial in his home whites in front of the Sportsman’s Park grandstand is a $450 item in PSA 7 these days.

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1952 Bowman Roy Campanella (#44)

1952 Bowman Roy  Campanella

Campanella matched Yogi hardware for hardware in 1951, you know, except for that part about winning a pennant and a World Series.

Bobby Thomson and his shot heard ’round the world sort of took care of that.

No matter, though, because Campy appears on this great blue-sky 1952 Bowman card, a $200 buy in PSA 7.

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1952 Bowman Duke Snider (#116)

1952 Bowman Duke  Snider

In 1951, Snider took a step backwards from 31 home runs in 1950 to “just” 29, and from a .321 batting average to .277.

He was still a thumper, though, and the clubhouse leader in all those “Willie, Mickey, and The Duke” discussions that must have dominated smoke-filled New York watering holes that winter.

The 1952 Bowman Snider that followed is a $200 card in graded NM condition today.

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1952 Bowman Warren Spahn (#156)

1952 Bowman Warren  Spahn

Warren Spahn was already 45 years old when he won 22 games for the Boston Braves in 1951.

That’s OK, though, because legend has it that he was 40 when he was born, and he pitched right up through the new millennium.

May still be going, for all I know.

The 1952 Bowman card of the ageless aged one pushes $200 in PSA 7.

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1952 Bowman Bob Feller (#43)

1952 Bowman Bob  Feller

Bob Feller also won 22 games in 1951, for the Cleveland Indians.

The difference between Feller and Spahn, though, is that Feller was just 32 years old but had been in the Major Leagues since he was 17.

Rapid Robert was already on a, um, fast path to Cooperstown by the time this now-$175 card hit collectors’ hands in 1952.

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1952 Bowman Frank Crosetti (#252)

1952 Bowman Frank Crosetti

Crosetti was the Yanks’ regular shortstop for half a decade … in the 1930s.

So … a) what’s he doing in this set, and b) what’s he doing on this list?

Well, Crosetti became a full-time Bomber coach when he retired as a player in 1948, and he won nine rings in that capacity.

Bowman knew they were looking at a Yankees legend, no matter what the batting stats said, and they wisely included him.

These days, it will cost you about $175 to include this Crosetti card in your collection.

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1952 Bowman Phil Rizzuto (#52)

1952 Bowman Phil  Rizzuto

And … Rizzuto was the guy who pushed Crosetti to the bench and started him thinking that maybe his future lay in coaching.

Think there were any tense moments between the two of them? I haven’t specifically heard that, but, you know, human nature and all.

By 1952, Rizzuto was well on his way to wrapping up a Hall of Fame career, which helps explain why this Bowman is a $165 card in PSA 7.

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1952 Bowman Pee Wee Reese (#8)

1952 Bowman Pee  Wee  Reese

We’ve seen the Yankee-for-Dodger tit-for-tat on this list before, and, as in those other cases, Reese the Dodger comes out below Rizzuto the Yankee.

But not by much.

The Brooklyn Hall of Famer checks in at $160 with his PSA 7 Bowman card.

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1952 Bowman Minnie Minoso Rookie Card (#5)

1952 Bowman Minnie  Minoso

The only rookie card on our list belongs to perhaps the most intriguing figure on the list.

Minoso was just 21 years old when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, and Minnie made his debut with the Indians in 1949, at 23.

He did spend a few seasons in the Negro Leagues, though, so his MLB numbers might have been better than his already excellent .298 with 186 homer, 1000+ RBI, and 205 stolen bases.

Then, of course, Minoso just kept coming back later in his life to ensure that he got an at-bat in the 1970s … and the 1980s … and there was some talk that he’d make it into a game in the 1990s, but that never materialized.

All the stuff Minoso did do, though, was cool enough to build this into a $125 RC in slabbed NM condition.

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Mickey Mantle 1952 Bowman BASEBALL card #101 New York Yankees / REPRINT

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1952 BOWMAN BASEBALL # 168 PREACHER ROE PSA 5 EX BROOKLYN DODGERS

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1952 Bowman Baseball 28 Card Lot (Low Grade)-S

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1952 Bowman #189 Jim Piersall VG/VGEX Red Sox 102177

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1952 Bowman Set Break # 96 Ralph Branca EX-EXMINT *GMCARDS*

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