Back in the 1950s, there was no such thing as a video response … but 1953 Bowman baseball cards served essentially the same purpose.

See, after enjoying about half a decade of market dominance in the hobby, Bowman ran smack-dab into a mammoth 1952 Topps set that changed everything.

Eschewing the ongoing standard of small cards and small checklists, Topps instead blasted young collectors with 407 cards of huge, full-color photos of their favorite stars.

So … Bowman pretty much had to respond.

And they did, twice.

First, there was a 1953 black-and-white set that was issued for … what? Extra market exposure? To be annoying?

Maybe.

The big news, though, was the other 1953 Bowman issue — big, bold cards that featured full-color photos and not much else on their expansive 2-1/2″ x 3-3/4″ card fronts.

It was a striking departure from the painted/drawn, 2-1/16″ x 3-1/8″ cards Bowman had offered up in 1952.

But would it be enough to save Bowman from the Topps onslaught?

Maybe for a year or two.

It sure was enough to keep collectors interested all these years later, though, as evidenced by this list of the most valuable 1953 Bowman baseball cards.

(Ranking based on PSA 7 prices in the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide)

Let’s dig in!

1953 Bowman Mickey Mantle (#59)

1953 Bowman Mickey Mantle

Mantle is the top dog in terms of card value in just about every set where you find him, and no one can touch The Mick here.

From almost the moment he set foot on a Major League diamond, Mantle inspired the imagination with thoughts about all the things he might one day accomplish in the game.

The 1953 Bowman Mantle plays right into those daydreams with its misty blue sky and Mick’s wistful, muscular swing.

Anything is possible … for a $3000 price tag (PSA 7), that is.

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1953 Bowman Yogi Berra (#121)

1953 Bowman Yogi Berra

I’ll warn you now — if you don’t like the Yankees, the top of this list is going to be tough for you.

Because, sandwiched between a couple of his teammates is probably the greatest catcher of the 1950s (with a possible argument from one of the guys below).

Yogi was behind the plate for all six of New York’s championships during the decade (plus one in 1949 and their two 1950s losses).

He still holds some World Series records today and won three American League Most Valuable Player awards (1951, 1954, 1955) along the way.

This shot of Berra leaning against the duguout wall is an $850 card in PSA 7.

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1953 Bowman Whitey Ford (#153)

1953 Bowman Whitey Ford

When this card was issued, Ford had played just part of one season (1950) before embarking on a two-year stint in the military.

He picked up right where he left off, though, nailing down 18 victories with an even 3.00 ERA, garnering some MVP votes in the process.

The Yankees lefty would go on to become the ace of the staff and, in 1974, a Hall of Famer.

Ford’s 1953 Bowman sells for $700+ these days.

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1953 Bowman Pee Wee Reese (#33)

1953 Bowman Pee Wee Reese

Like his 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, Reese storms in here to break up the Yankees’ party.

The Dodgers shortstop played a key role in their string of National League pennants during the 1950s, and in that 1955 World Series title.

Before Dem Bums could finally find “next year,” though, collectors found this exciting Reese card.

It’s one of the hobby’s all-time classics, and you have to think it alone staved off elimination for Bowman for a couple of years.

Today, the high-flying Reese brings in about $700 in graded NM condition.

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1953 Bowman Bob Feller (#114)

1953 Bowman Bob Feller

Feller had an off year in 1952 (9-13, 4.74 ERA), and there had to be at least some concern that he was nearing the end of the line.

He rebounded a bit in 1953, though, before putting together a final superstar season (13-3) in 1954 as the Indians made it to the World Series.

This ’53 Bowman, showing Feller in his follow-through, is a $700 card in PSA 7.

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1953 Bowman Bauer/Berra/Mantle (#44)

1953 Bowman Bauer-Berra-Mantle

Just in case collectors weren’t getting enough of the Yankees, Bowman went ahead and slipped in another card, this one featuring Berra, Mantle, and rightfielder Hank Bauer.

In 1957, after they bought out their competitor, Topps would repeat this card, except they cut out Bauer and title it “Yankees’ Power Hitters.”

To the winners go the spoils, I suppose.

And, to collectors willing to pay about $650 for the privilege, go PSA 7 copies of this superstar combo.

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1953 Bowman Duke Snider (#117)

1953 Bowman Duke Snider

Snider began a streak of four straight 40-homer seasons in 1953 and moved firmly into the “Willie, Mickey, or the Duke?” conversation.

While the Dodgers centerfielder would ultimately fall short of the lofty standards that Mantle and Willie Mays set, he nevertheless was a superstar for Brooklyn (and Los Angeles) throughout the 50s.

Today, Snider’s 1953 Bowman is a $600 card in PSA 7.

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1953 Bowman Stan Musial (#32)

1953 Bowman Stan Musial

When this card started popping out of wax packs, Musial was nearing the end of a prolonged peak that would last another couple of years, until he was 36.

In 1953 specifically, Stan the Man smashed a career-high 53 doubles to go with his .337 batting average and 30 home runs.

It was just business as usual for the Cardinals legend, who stands among the top tier of all Cooperstown enshrinees.

Musial’s 1953 Bowman card pushes $600 in PSA 7.

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1953 Bowman Billy Martin (#118)

1953 Bowman Billy Martin

Martin was no superstar as a player, but he was one of Mantle’s best buddies and a lively part of those great 1950s squads.

He also happened to have one of his best seasons in 1953, smacking 15 home runs and driving in 75 as the Bombers won another title.

And, of course, Billy was a superstar (if controversial) manager later in his life.

For all that, his first Bowman card is a $400 buy in slabbed NM condition.

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1953 Bowman Eddie Mathews (#97)

1953 Bowman Eddie Mathews

As a rookie in 1952, Mathews hit 25 home runs for the Boston Braves and established himself as one of the game’s rising stars at age 20.

And, when the team moved to Milwaukee for 1953, Mathews upped the ante, smashing a league-leading 47 home runs a driving in 135.

Over the next several seasons, Eddie would team with Hank Aaron to form one of the most devastating power duos in Major League history, and the Hall of Fame third baseman ended up with 512 home runs of his own.

Mathews’ first Bowman lands in the $400 range here (PSA 7).

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1953 Bowman Warren Spahn (#99)

1953 Bowman Warren Spahn

Mathews’ teammate, Warren Spahn, on the other hand, was already well down the road toward Cooperstown by the spring of 1953.

He would add to that resume in ’53 with another 23 victories (his fifth 20-win season) and a tiny 2.10 ERA.

When he finally retired in 1965, Spahn was one of the greatest lefties of all-time, and he remains a hobby favorite.

His ’53 Bowman approaches $400 in PSA 7 today.

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1953 Bowman Roy Campanella (#46)

1953 Bowman Roy Campanella

Campanella matched Berra hardware-for-hardware in the first half of the 1950s, picking up National League MVP awards in 1951, 1953, and 1955.

That last trophy-winning effort was expended in the service of the Brooklyn Dodgers team that finally broke their World Series trance and won a championship.

Campy remains about as popular today as ever, and his 1953 Bowman lines up at $350 or so in graded NM condition.

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LOT OF (13) ASSORTED 1953 BOWMAN B&W BASEBALL CARDS (POOR) *GMCARDS*

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1953 Bowman Color Baseball Card - #33 Pee Wee Reese RC, Fair

$79.00
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