What more can be said about 1952 Topps baseball cards that hasn’t been written a thousand times over the years?

I mean, these are the babies that changed the card market forever — they were big, bold, colorful, and based on real photos (though finished with painting-tinting).

The card selection was huge, featuring 407 players that included pretty much every big name of the day, plus the more “common” guys who filled out Major League rosters.

1952-Topps-baseball-cards-wax-pack-wrapper

It was a combination that Bowman found hard to combat, and the appearance of the 1952 Topps issue on the hobby scene spelled the beginning of the end for their more established rival.

Today, there is a strong market for every 1952 Topps card, and the presence of legendary rookie cards and tough, tough high numbers has driven prices for pasteboards across every series.

With that in mind, here are the 12 most valuable 1952 Topps baseball cards, as listed for PSA 7 copies in the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide.

A warning, though — just looking at these prices is likely to make your wallet hurt.

1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (#311)

1952 Topps Mickey Mantle

This is not a Mickey Mantle rookie card, and it’s certainly not *the* Mickey Mantle rookie card.

That honor belongs to the 1951 Bowman issue of The Mick.

But … yeah, that’s all technicality.

The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle “rookie card” is the big kahuna among post-war cards, neck-and-neck with the T206 Honus Wagner as the most important baseball card of all time.

You’ve heard it all before, but just know that the modern hobby wouldn’t exist — not like it does today — without this legendary hunk of cardboard.

If you can find it in PSA 7, you’ll have to part with a six-figure sum to make it your own.

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1952 Topps Eddie Mathews (#407)

1952 Topps Eddie Mathews

In the early-to-mid 1950s, if someone had told you a member of the Boston or Milwaukee Braves would someday surpass Babe Ruth as the all-time home run king, Eddie Mathews would have been your first thought.

Even though Mathews fell behind teammate Hank Aaron in that quest, the slugger remains one of the game’s greatest third baseman, and a Hall of Famer with more than 500 home runs to his name.

Add to that the fact that Mathews’ rookie card is the last card in the fabled 1952 Topps set — and the condition scarcity that comes with that honor — and you’re looking at a close to $20,000 buy in PSA 7.

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1952 Topps Willie Mays (#261)

1952 Topps Willie Mays

Like Mantle, Mays’ true rookie card came at collectors from the confines of the 1951 Bowman set.

Also like Mantle, that doesn’t matter in the real-world glare of high-roller baseball cards.

In that world, the 1952 Topps is Mays’ RC, and it’s about a $10,000 buy in PSA 7.

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1952 Topps Andy Pafko (#1)

1952 Topps Andy Pafko

Andy Pafko was a solid power source from third base and the outfield for the Chicago Cubs through most of the 1940s.

All that changed when the Cubbies traded him to the Brooklyn Dodgers in June of 1951 — along with Johnny Schmitz, Wayne Terwilliger, and Rube Walker— in exchange for Bruce Edwards, Joe Hatten, Gene Hermanski, and Eddie Miksis.

Well, not all of it changed, because Pafko smacked 18 dingers for the Dodgers in a little more than half a season that summer.

That earned him the #1 card in Topps’ breakout set, and all the condition issues that come with it.

As such, Pafko has been a tough buy in top grades forever, and today he pushes $10,000 in graded NM condition.

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1952 Topps Jackie Robinson (#312)

1952 Topps Jackie Robinson

Was there any more popular player in the game than Jackie Robinson as 1952 dawned?

After all, the man who broke baseball’s color barrier had won the 1947 Rookie of the Year Award, the 1949 National League Most Valuable Player award, and the hearts of millions of fans.

He was also a perennial top-10 MVP candidate and an ambassador for the game everywhere he went.

Little wonder, then, that Robinson’s first-ever Topps card, and a high-number to boot, brings around $7500 in PSA 7.

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1952 Topps Roy Campanella (#314)

1952 Topps Roy Campanella

Like Robinson, Campanella was a Brooklyn Dodgers hero who made his Topps debut in 1952.

The Hall of Fame catcher won the NL MVP award in 1951 and would add two more, in 1953 and 1955 (sort of like the early-day Bret Saberhagen of position players).

Also a high-number, Campy’s first Topps card checks in around $1900 in PSA 7 condition.

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1952 Topps John Rutherford (#320)

1952 Topps John Rutherford

So, why does a guy like Johnny Rutherford, who played in all of one Major League season and appeared in 22 games for the 1952 Brookly Dodgers, make this list at all?

Why, because he’s a high number who scarcely shows up at all, let alone in nice graded condition.

The 1952 Topps “rookie card” of Rutherford (who is not the race car driver of the same name, by the way), sells for around $1700 in slabbed NM condition.

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1952 Topps Pee Wee Reese (#333)

1952 Topps Pee Wee Reese

Another Brooklyn Dodger who eventually made his way to Cooperstown, Reese also appears in the elusive high-number series (#s 311-407) of this classic Topps set.

Like most others on this list, Reese also makes his Topps debut here, and the combination of all those factors contribute to this card’s $1250 price tag in PSA 7.

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1952 Topps Yogi Berra (#191)

1952 Topps Yogi Berra

In most meaningful baseball ways, Berra was the American League equivalent of Campanella.

A perennial All-Star catcher for the powerful New York Yankees teams of the 1940s and 1950s, Berra would win three MVP awards of his own — in 1951, 1954, and 1955.

One of the few cards on this list that’s not a high number, Berra nonetheless checks in around $1200 in PSA 7 condition.

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1952 Topps Bill Dickey (#400)

1952 Topps Bill Dickey

It’s sort of surreal to find Dickey in uniform on a card issued this late.

After all, this man played with Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Tony Lazzeri, Herb Pennock, Joe DiMaggio, Miller Huggins, and all the other legends from the first great Yankees teams in the 1920s and 1930s.

But, after retiring as a player in 1946, the Hall of Fame catcher returned to the Bronx as a coach, and that’s how we find him lined up here next to his successor (Berra) on our list.

A high number, this Dickey lines up at about the same price ($1200) as Berra, too.

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1952 Topps Pete Runnels (#2)

1952 Topps Pete Runnels

You don’t hear much about Pete Runnels these days, but he was one of the best high-average men in the American League during the early 1960s.

After beginning his career with a successful run with the Washington Senators, Runnels stepped up his game after a January 1958 trade that sent him to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Albie Pearson and Norm Zauchin.

Batting titles with the BoSox in 1960 and 1962 cemented Runnels as a minor New England legend, which helps prop his 1952 Topps card north of $1000 today in PSA 7 condition.

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1952 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm (#392)

1952 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm

Who was the first relief pitcher to be elected to the baseball Hall of Fame?

Well, if you read the header above, you’ve probably guessed — or already knew — that it was Hoyt Wilhelm (in 1985).

It all started in 1952, when the 29-year-old rookie (!) led all MLB pitchers with a whopping 71 appearances, en route to a 15-3, 2.43 ERA mark with the World Series-bound New York Giants.

Wilhelm would ride his knuckleball to another 73 seasons and 101,493 innings in the Big Leagues, though those numbers are somewhat open to interpretation.

What’s not much in debate is that his 1952 Topps rookie card, a high number, is one of the most valuable cards in the set at around a grand in graded NM condition.

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1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle New York Yankees Rookie Card Reprint RC Mint

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