Do you think 1955 Topps baseball cards knew the kind of history they were about to make?

Did they know they would be the last Topps set to face direct competition for more than a quarter century?

Did they know they would be the cardboard nail in the coffin of an industry giant, a boyhood staple?

Did they know, for gosh sake, that they were breaking all the rules by being so big and so colorful and so … sideways?

1955 Topps Baseball Cards Wax Pack

Nah … probably not. They were just dead trees, ink, and some sort of adhesive material, after all.

But of course, the set that killed Bowman managed to do all that and more, and they left behind a wad of beautiful cardboard that still amazes collectors all these years later.

And eats our hobby dollars, too.

Here, then are the 12 most valuable 1955 Topps baseball cards, ranked by values for PSA 7 copies as listed in the PSA Sports Market Report (SMR).

1955 Topps Roberto Clemente Rookie Card (#164)

1955 Topps Roberto Clemente

As if Bowman wasn’t already having enough trouble keeping up with Topps after the whippersnappers brought Ted Williams back to the fold in 1954 and generally won the retail and design wars that summer … well, Roberto Clemente.

As in, Topps looked at the youngster whom the Pirates drafted from the Dodgers in November 1954 and decided he was worthy of a card.

Bowman … nah.

And, while Clemente and his .255 average with five home runs in 1955 didn’t beat the world, he had became a bona fide legend by the time of his death on New Year’s Eve in 1972.

It seems fitting that Bowman’s whiff corresponded with their demise, and Clemente’s Topps rookie card stands as a glorious monument to both the Bucs hero and the best in the (card) biz.

Expect to pay $7000+ for a copy in PSA 7.

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1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Card (#123)

1955 Topps Sandy Koufax

You might say that 1955 Topps is the home of legends who spent the 1950s trying to decide whether they wanted to become, well, legendary.

I mean, Clemente turned in some decent seasons in the latter half of the decade but didn’t become an All-Star in 1960 … coincidental that was the Pirates’ championship season?

And then there was Sandy Koufax, who had all the talent and firepower in the world but was as wild as Michael Martin Murphey’s fire.

The enigmatic lefty struck out a ton of hitters from the moment he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in (yes) 1955. But control issues plagued him, and he had the up-and-down records and bloated ERAs to prove it.

It wasn’t until 1961 that Koufax became an All-Star, posting an 18-13 record. Maybe he had been inspired by 1960 Clemente?

Whatever.

Koufax appeared in just 28 games in 1962, but then ripped off four dominant years the likes of which actual mortals just don’t put together. He blew out his elbow in that final 1966 season and was done at age 30 … which may have made his legend even more shiny.

As it stands, the “what could have been” tantalization and “what actually was” actualization is enough to make Koufax’s 1955 Topps rookie card a $2500+ buy in PSA 7.

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1955 Topps Willie Mays (#194)

1955 Topps Willie Mays

Willie Mays, on the other hand, didn’t take too long at all to warm up.

The Say Hey Kid won the 1951 National League Rookie of the Year Award at age 20, after all. And, even after nearly two full seasons of military duty, he stormed back in 1954 with 41 dingers and a Majors-best .345 batting average.

That’s where this classic Mays card comes into the picture, showing the young Hall of Famer just months after that famous 1954 World Series catch of his.

Not a rookie card, this beauty still sells for around $1000 in graded NM condition.

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1955 Topps Hank Aaron (#47)

1955 Topps Hank Aaron

Aaron didn’t start his career on quite the torrid pace that Mays managed, but Hammer did finish fourth in the NL ROY voting in 1954 on the strength of 13 home runs and a .280 batting average.

Of course, collectors could pick up his rookie card in packs that summer, even though no one really knew what an RC was at that point.

A year later, in 1955, Aaron hammered his first 20-homer season and picked up his first of 25 (!) All-Star nods.

While Henry was busy knocking 27 long balls, driving in 106 runs, scoring 105 of his own, and batting .314, his colorful 1955 Topps card was crashing store shelves across the land.

Today, it crashes collections to the tune of $700-1000, or even more, in PSA 7.

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1955 Topps Duke Snider (#210)

1955 Topps Duke Snider

Every year for what must have seemed like centuries to the local faithful, the Brooklyn Dodgers slugged their way to a National League pennant only to lose the World Series to the New York Yankees.

Never mind that the 1951 and 1954 Giants, and the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies might argue with this view of reality.

It’s the way it was, and Next Year was always going to be the year.

But it wasn’t.

And then … in 1955 … it was.

The best player on that Series-winning team, if you believe in things like WAR, or other things like home runs and RBI, was Duke Snider.

Of course, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe, and others, were pretty darn amazing, too, and Campy won his third NL MVP award of the decade.

But Snider cemented his place in the conversation about which of New York’s three center fielders was the best … Willie, Mickey, or the Duke?

In this set, Duke comes in second to Mays, while Mickey Mantle was a Bowman exclusive.

Snider checks in at $700+ in slabbed near mint condition.

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1955 Topps Ted Williams (#2)

1955 Topps Ted Williams

So, it seems Teddy Ballgame had a tenuous relationship with Topps.

I mean, The Old Gum Company managed zero Williams cards from their debut in 1951, on through to 1953. Unless you count the 1951 Red Sox cards, at least.

Then, in 1954, Topps got the Splendid Splinter in the fold and featured him on the first and last cards of their set. It seems to have been an exclusive deal that Bowman didn’t heed at first, leading to a scarce 1954 Bowman Williams at #66 being replaced by Jimmy Piersall in later print runs.

Was that snafu the death knell for Bowman? Certainly didn’t help, and they were gone by 1956.

And then, so was Williams by 1959, defecting to Fleer via another exclusive.

In between, he landed a few more Topps cards, with this 1955 arguably the most classic of all.

Today, it sells well north of $500 in PSA 7 most of the time.

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1955 Topps Harmon Killebrew Rookie Card (#124)

1955 Topps Harmon Killebrew

The 1955 Topps set is back to its true colors here with this Harmon Killebrew rookie card … that is, showcasing young Hall of Famers who took awhile to get going.

In Killer’s case, he didn’t play as many as 50 games until 1959, when he appeared in 153 and led the American League with 42 home runs for the Washington Senators.

By the time the Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961, Killebrew was one of the game’s most feared sluggers and would maintain that status for another ten years or so.

When he wrapped things up with the Kansas City Royals in 1975, Killebrew was white-haired and paunchy, appearing a good bit older than his 39 years.

Here on his 1955 rookie card, though, he’s a fresh-faced teenage Killer who will set you back $500 or more in graded NM condition.

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1955 Topps Jackie Robinson (#50)

1955 Topps Jackie Robinson

A few years ago, I undertook an exercise for no one’s benefit but my own to determine which of Jackie Robinson’s baseball cards is the most iconic.

Easy … it’s the 1953 Topps, featuring a Gerry Dvorak masterpiece.

Or is it the 1952 Topps, Jackie’s first with the company and a coveted high number in that groundbreaking set?

Or, maybe it’s his 1948 Leaf rookie card?

Crap. I don’t know.

But I do know his 1955 Topps card is as beautiful as any of them, and it may even be the most iconic given the mystique around the Dodgers that season.

Whatever the case, this is an all-time classic card that consistently hauls in $600+ in PSA 7.

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1955 Topps Yogi Berra (#198)

1955 Topps Yogi Berra

Berra turned 30 years old in May of 1955, and he already had nine years of hardcore catching on his knees by that point.

But Yogi wasn’t done, as he smacked 27 home runs with 108 RBI as the Yankees won yet another pennant.

It was good enough to secure Berra’s third MVP award since 1951, and good enough to keep his 1955 Topps card chugging along at $400 or more (in PSA 7) all these years later.

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1955 Topps Ernie Banks (#28)

1955 Topps Ernie Banks

In 1955, Banks was in the early stages of helping to redefine what was possible for shortstops, a process he would continue until he moved to first base in 1962.

In his second season (1955), Banks smacked 44 home runs and drove in 117 runs, power unheard of for a middle infielder at the time.

He also loomed large in the hole, standing 6’1″ and tipping the scales at 180 pounds.

And, even though Mr. Cub developed into a more typical slugging corner infielder later in his career, his popularity only grew over the years.

Today, his 1955 Topps second-year card tips the hobby scales at a few hundred bucks in graded NM condition.

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1955 Topps Phil Rizzuto (#189)

1955 Topps Phil Rizzuto

Rizzuto, on the other hand, was made from the classic shortstop mold: 5’6″, 150 pounds, .273 lifetime average, 38 career home runs.

But he was a great fielder and a great leader for the 1950s Yankees dynasties, all enough to make him a legend and reserve his place in Cooperstown (as a 1994 selection by the Veterans Committee).

It all adds up to about a $200 price tag for this late-career card of Scooter.

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1955 Topps Gil Hodges (#187)

1955 Topps Gil Hodges

There are some guys who just “feel” like Hall of Famers and leave you surprised when you find out they’re not enshrined.

And even more surprised when you study their stats and find out they’re not as slam-dunk as you thought.

Gil Hodges is one of those guys for me … and I admit I have trouble with objectivity in his case.

Hodges is a Hoosier, and so am I.

The first baseball book I ever read was one of those grade-school biographies, one focused on Hodges.

He was the first baseman for Dem Bums, who helped to finally get the Dodgers over the hump in 1955.

He was an original Met.

He was the manager for the Miracle Mets who shocked the world to win the 1969 World Series.

He may or may not have helped revolutionize the way rotations are set up.

And, of course, he died suddenly — and way too early — in the spring of 1972.

Does all of that make Gil Hodges a Hall of Famer? Yeah, it kind of does in my book.

But whether Gentleman Gil ever makes the Cooperstown cut or not, his 1955 Topps card remains a hobby favorite that fetches $150+ in PSA 7.

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