In many ways, Jackie Robinson baseball cards mimic the history of the modern hobby itself.

Debuting with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Robinson is one of baseball’s great pioneers, breaking the color barrier by becoming the first African-American player to suit up for a National League or American League team in the 20th century.

That same year, the fledgling hobby was still reeling from the production restrictions engendered by, first, the Great Depression and then World War II. It would be another year before a nationally distributed set would see the light of day, and another half decade before the modern card scene would really start to take shape.

Still, the first Jackie Robinson baseball cards showing him in Dodger Blue (or sepia, as the case may be) carry a 1947 date, giving us a taste of just how influential the man was, even at a time when controversy and racism followed his every footstep.

By the time Robinson made his solo debut on a Topps card five years later, his run on Bowman baseball cards was over, perhaps a subtle signal of how the battle for hobby supremacy between the two gum-makers would play out over the next few years.

Today, Robinson’s baseball cards are among the most revered and sought after in the entire hobby, and their values just seem to climb ever upward, year after year.

What follows is a rundown of the top ten or so most valuable Jackie Robinson baseball cards, plus a couple that may fall short of those heady price thresholds, but that carry plenty of historical weight. The values shown below are based on recent card sales (as of November 2022) for copies graded PSA 5.

That’s a fairly modest condition point, but it’s also the most common condition that the grading giant (PSA, that is) handles for most of these cards, as per their Population Report. And, as you’ll see, even PSA 5 Jackie Robinson cards are plenty pricey.

So now, hop in my trusty, wax-paper-wrapped time machine, and let’s peruse some fine Jackie Robinson baseball cards.

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1947 Bond Bread Jackie Robinson

1947 Bond Bread Jackie Robinson

When Jackie Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, the modern hobby was still trying to get its feet under it after the lean years of the Great Depression and World War II, pretty much like every corner of American life.

There were scant few baseball cards to be had, in other words, and no major sets to speak of.

One of the few companies who did venture onto the field was Bond Bread, with bakeries in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. That summer, Bond put together a 48-card multi-sport issue featuring 44 baseball players and four boxers (including the great Joe Louis).

But that wasn’t all, because they also decided to devote an entirely separate issue to Jackie Robinson. And, while there is plenty of debate in the hobby about how long these cards were in production and over exactly how many years, there is general agreement that at least some of the 13-card checklist actually did debut in 1947.

So, Bond represents Robinson’s first real, widely distributed baseball cards, and you could make a good case that the true Jackie Robinson rookie card lives here.

These cards are pretty tough to come by in any condition, making even our modest grading standards for this rundown of Robinson issues a pretty expensive proposition.

Value: $10,000-30,000

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1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson Rookie Card (#79)

1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson Rookie Card

This one is usually considered *the* Jackie Robinson rookie card since it was a national issue sold with gum at candy counters – it was fairly widely available, in other words.

That gives it a leg up on the Bond Bread issue, and the 1948 copyright on card backs slot Leaf a year earlier than Bowman … even if most hobby historians think the Leafs weren’t actually released until 1949.

So, “1948-49 Leaf” might be an accurate descriptor.

Either way, this first Leaf set features a number of big-name rookie cards, including Stan Musial, Satchel Paige, and, of course, Jackie Robinson.

The Jackie is easily his most valuable standard issue, and it’s also one of the toughest to come by in any sort of decent condition.

Value: $20,000-30,000

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1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson (#50)

1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson

Given the ambiguity of the actual issue date for 1948 Leaf, Bowman could have claimed the “Home of the Jackie Robinson Rookie Card” title if only they’d actually issued a card of the Dodgers’ legendary second baseman in 1948.

Alas, no dice.

Bowman made up for that oversight in 1949, including Robinson in their first colorized set, which means we get a couple shocks of Dodger Blue popping out of the red background.

Value: $8500-9500

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1950 Bowman Jackie Robinson (#22)

1950 Bowman Jackie Robinson

Bowman dropped the photos from their cards for 1950, opting instead to represent each of the 252 players on their checklist with a piece of artwork.

The result was many stunning cards that fit the era to a T.

This beautiful shot of Jackie in full swing is no exception, and it’s also the last Robinson card that Bowman ever issued.

Value: $5000-6000

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1951 Topps Dodgers Team Card – Jackie Robinson

1951 Topps Dodgers Team Card - Jackie Robinson

Topps dipped their toes into the baseball card market in 1951 with a scattershot selection that included odd-sized Connie Mack All-Stars, odd-sized Major League All-Stars, and red- or blue-backed playing cards with MLB players on front.

Jackie didn’t make it into any of those sets, but his Dodgers did make it into the nine-card, mural-shaped (5-1/4” by 2-1/16”) team cards.

And Robinson, naturally, made it onto that yellow-bordered team card.

Note that there are two versions of this card, one with a year (1950) on front, and one without. The dated version is more scarce and sells toward the upper end of the price range below (if not even higher).

Value: $500-1500

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1952 Berk Ross Jackie Robinson

1952 Berk Ross Jackie Robinson

Berk Ross baseball cards are something of an unsolved mystery in the hobby.

In 1951, there was a 72-card set consisting of 40 baseball players and 32 athletes from other sports, issued in two-card panels with a line of perforation separating them and allowing collectors to pull them apart.

Then, in 1952, Berk Ross dropped the perforated-panel idea as well as the multi-sport theme and just went with 72 baseball players.

But who or what Berk Ross was remains unclear.

Some hobby veterans claim he was a Bowman photographer, while others are confident “he” was a popcorn manufacturer taken to court by a group of New York Giants players to stop using their images without payment and on unauthorized cards to sell products.

Whatever the case, Jackie Robinson appeared in the 1952 Berk Ross set, jumping for a ball somewhere up above us, somewhere in right-centerfield at Ebbets Field.

Value: $3000-4000

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1952 Topps Jackie Robinson (#312)

1952 Topps Jackie Robinson

This is Robinson’s first Topps card, and as the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays cards (among others), many collectors consider this the “Jackie Robinson rookie card” … even though it’s not an RC.

Still, there’s no arguing the historical significance of this one, marrying The Real One with one of baseball’s most important players ever for the first time. The card is also big and bold, with bright colors, glittering gold stars, and a huge image of Robinson’s head and shoulders.

Jackie looks like a movie star, and this card is hobby royalty (even if it *was* double-printed).

Value: $15,000-25,000

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1953 Topps Jackie Robinson (#1)

1953 Topps Jackie Robinson

Bowman and Topps unwittingly pulled off a bit of a joint switcheroo in 1953.

To wit, Bowman moved away from artwork-based cards for the first time since 1949, issuing two sets featuring large photographs: a black-and-white set of 64 and a downright stunning color set of 160 cards.

Meanwhile, Topps dropped any pretense of photos on their big 1953 cards, opting instead for the amazing artwork of Gerry Dvorak (which was itself based on photos of the players).

Topps also fully embraced Jackie Robinson, inserting him on card #1 in their 1953 set. As you probably know, drawing the first or last number in those early Topps sets (and in most Topps sets) was both an honor and a recipe for poor card condition down the line.

So, not only is this a classic Robinson card, it’s also pretty tough to find in top condition.

Value: $3500-4200

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1954 Topps Jackie Robinson (#10)

1954 Topps Jackie Robinson

Topps unveiled their two-image format for the first time in 1954, and they’d stick with it for three straight years before moving on.

In this initial iteration of the design, cards maintained the portrait orientation Topps used in 1952 and 1953, but featured a large color headshot of each player against a solid background. That was all complemented by a black-and-white figurine shot of the player in action and a facsimile autograph, plus the team logo and some identifying text up top.

Like pretty much every Jackie Robinson card of the era, this bright yellow beauty is instantly recognizable and stands as a hobby favorite for generations of collectors.

Value: $800-1000

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1955 Topps Jackie Robinson (#50)

1955 Topps Jackie Robinson

For their second go-round with two player images per card, Topps flipped the whole shebang on its side, landscape-style, then shrank the headshot, enlarged the action shot, graduated the background, and rendered it all in Saturday-morning-cartoon color.

It’s a great looking set, and the Robinson card more than holds its own against the best cards in the set. Every 1955 Topps Brooklyn Dodgers card feels extra special, too, since that’s the year Dem Bums finally took down the mighty New York Yankees in the World Series.

Value: $800-1000

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1956 Topps Jackie Robinson (#30)

1956 Topps Jackie Robinson

Topps went to the two-image well one final time (for awhile, at least) in 1956. They also issued a card of Jackie Robinson as an active player for that last time.

If that big headshot of Jackie on his ‘56 card looks familiar, it’s because it’s a recycle of the 1955 shot, same as Topps did for a lot of the guys on both years’ checklists.

But, hey, at least they changed up the action shot and gave us Robinson scoring on a slide.

Topps was also the only game in town, Jackie-wise, as they had been since 1952, so this is yet another hobby favorite that makes old collectors everywhere a bit more misty-eyed than normal.

Value: $800-900

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1957 Topps Dodgers Team Card – Jackie Robinson (#324)

1957 Topps Dodgers Team Card - Jackie Robinson

Topps exited the Jackie Robinson Baseball Card Production business in 1957 exactly where they had entered it in 1951 – with a Brooklyn Dodgers team card.

Unlike the scarce 1951 issue, though, the 1957 Topps Dodgers card was part of a widely distributed full Topps set, at a time when they were the undisputed champion of cardboard. By then, after all, Bowman had been dead and buried for more than a year.

So this one’s really not all that hard to come by, at least using our modest grading standards, so it’s a relatively affordable way to grab a Jackie Robinson baseball card … even if he is a bit tough to make out.

And, hey – this is about as close as you’ll get to a Robinson career-capper.

Value: $50-75

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Jackie Robinson Assorted Baseball Card Singles

$1.50
End Date: Wednesday 03/06/2024 19:00:08 EST
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