1957 Topps Basketball Set

bill-russell-rookie-card

Front

russell-back

Back

Fast Facts

Year(s) Issued: 1957
Number Cards: 80
Card Size: 2-1/2" x 2-1/2"
Common Card Value (Good Condition): $20
Scarcity Rating: (1 to 10, 10 scarcest):  4

Full 1957 Topps Basketball Checklist


Keys For Collectors

  • The second official full basketball release and the first basketball set ever released by Topps.
  • Features the rookie card of Bill Russell, one of the best big men to ever play the game. 
  • Cards featured full color photos of players, with a mix of action shots and player portraits.
  • .A good portion of the set was double printed with the remainder short-printed.
  •  Every player's card is considered their rookie card due to it being the first major NBA card release.
  • Centering for cards in the set is a big issue, as is a 'snow' sort of print mark on the front of the cards.
  • PSA has graded on average roughly 250 cards of each card  in the 80 card set
     

1957 Topps Basketball Summary + Design


The 1957 Topps Basketball set marked the first official entry for Topps into basketball cards, and it would represent the first major basketball issue since the 1948 Bowman Set.  In addition, Topps would not release another official basketball card set for another twelve years.  


The release of the 1957 Topps basketball set followed a championship win for the Boston Celtics, hence the reason why the Celtics cards are often hotly demanded by vintage collectors.   The key to the entire set is of course Celtics legend Bill Russell, whose rookie card in the set is actually one of the short printed cards.


I should mention that because of the small size of the set (80 cards) and the fact that Topps printed cards on a standard 132 card sheet, it turns out that 31 cards in the set are single prints, and 49 are double prints, with one card - HOF Bob Petit actually quadruple printed.   The Russell rookie card is a short print.  

The design of the 1957 Topps basketball cards features a mixture of action poses (as shown with the Bob Petit card below) and more portrait like poses, such as with the Ed Macauley card below.  The cards are flanked by bright or dark backgrounds, or in some cases, such as with the Cliff Hagan card below have a lightened crowd in the background.

HOF Bob Petit 1957 Topps Basketball

mccauley

Ed McCauley from the 57 Topps set

Cliff Hagan 1957 Topps card

A look at some of the cards in the set and you can truly start to appreciate how a simple design can be so impactful, especially given its place in basketball card history.   The fronts are also supported by colorful yellow name cards, which are connected to a colorful red or blue background flag showcasing the team name. 

The backs of the 1957 Topps cards are simple and creative in their own right--I especially like the height chart of the player on the right hand side of the card, kind of similar to what you might find in the bedroom of a young child.  A brief player biography is posted above a small box showcasing the previous year's stats -- Field Goals, Free Throws, Total Points and Avg. Points Per Game.  The card number is placed in the corner inside a little basketball hoop--small little details but I love it. 

russell-back

Back of a Bill Russell 1957 Topps card

The set is notorious for poor centering, thus nicely centered cards certainly can earn a premium at resale. In addition, because of the way that Topps printed the set, half of the cards in the set were printed with upside down backs; so don't be alarmed if you come across one as such. 

maurice-stokes

A fairly common sight with the 57 Topps set is the centering sort of issues this Stokes card has

1957 Topps Basketball Key Cards


Bill Sharman #5 (RC, HOF)

Although Sharman had a card issued in the 1951 Berk Ross set, most collectors still consider his 1957 Topps card to be his true rookie card.

Paul Arizin #10 (RC, HOF)

The first card for Hall of Famer, Paul Arizin, who was known as having the 'perfect jump shot'.  He was a scoring machine, notching scoring records in two seasons while earning an NBA All Star spot in ten seasons.

arizin-topps

Dolph Schayes #13 (RC, HOF)

This is the first card of Dolph Schayes, who was considered one of the toughest players of his era. Schayes was a born leader, guiding his teams to the playoffs in fifteen of his sixteen seasons.  When he retired, he was the NBA's all time leading scorer. 

schayes-topps

Bob Cousy #17 (RC, HOF)

While he had a Berk Ross issue several years prior, to most this is still considered the rookie card of Bob Cousy and one of the keys to the 1957 Topps set.  Cousy is well known for his dominance as one of the league's premier point guards for the Boston Celtics, winning six championships over his thirteen year stint.  The 'Couz' as he was also affectionally known, was also a successful broadcaster for the Celtics.

cousy-rookie-card

Tommy Heinsohn #19 (RC, HOF)

For younger folks living in the Boston area, many might only know the late Tommy Heinsohn for his antics behind the mic as one of the most successful color commentators in the history of basketball.  Yet during his playing days, Heinsohn was one of the cornerstone pieces to a Celtics franchise that won an amazing eight NBA championships.  Heinsohn was a six time NBA all star and one of history's most intelligent players to hit the hardcourt. 

Bob Petit #24 (RC, HOF)

This is the rookie card of Hall-of-Fame great Bob Pettit. Pettit was a unbelievable scorer and one of the league's first big men.  He earned rookie of the year in 1955 and went to eleven straight all star games winning two MVP awards.  When Pettit retired in 1965, he was the league's highest scorer (20,880) and second highest rebounder (12,849).

Maurice Stokes #42 (RC)

The Maurice Stokes story is rather unknown but a sad one and a case of 'what might have been'.  Stokes came into the NBA in 1955 following a very successful collegiate career.   He was the #2 pick in the draft and ended up winning rookie of the year in his first NBA season.  During his first three seasons in the NBA, he amassed more rebounds than any other player and was second to Bob Cousy in assists.  In the last game of the 1957-58 season Stokes was knocked unconscious after driving to the hoop and falling to the floor.   The injury led to Stokes being permanently paralyzed. 

maurice-stokes

A fairly common sight with the 57 Topps set is the centering sort of issues this Stokes card has

Jack Twyman #71 (RC, HOF)

"A street-wise basketball gym rat, Red Holzman was the coaching genius behind the magic the New York Knicks brought to the NBA during the 1970s.  Holzman was named one of the Top Ten Coaches in NBA History in 1996." (source)

twyman

Bill Russell #77 (RC, HOF)

The Bill Russell rookie card is one of the most coveted in the hobby. And for more reasons than one. First off, it features Bill Russell who is arguably one of the top five best players in the history of basketball.  Secondly, it is also a short print in the set, making what is already a tough condition issue, even harder to find in really nice shape.  The cool thing about the Russell card is that it actually IS a true rookie card, meaning that he was drafted the year prior by the Celtics.  Note that all other cards in the set are considered rookies only because it was really the first and only set issued during the era. 

bill-russell-rookie-card

1957 Topps Basketball Checklist

DP = Double Print 

1 Nat Clifton - Detroit Pistons  DP
2 George Yardley - Detroit Pistons DP, HOF
3 Neil Johnston - Philadelphia Warriors DP, HOF
4 Carl Braun - New York Knicks  DP, HOF
5 Bill Sharman - Boston Celtics  DP, HOF
6 George King - Cincinnati Royals  DP
7 Kenny Sears - New York Knicks DP
8 Dick Ricketts - Cincinnati Royals  DP
9 Jack Nichols - Boston Celtics DP
10 Paul Arizin - Philadelphia Warriors DP, HOF
11 Chuck Noble - Detroit Pistons DP
12 Slater Martin - St. Louis Hawks  DP, HOF
13 Dolph Schayes - Syracuse Nationals DP, HOF
14 Dick Atha - Detroit Pistons DP
15 Frank Ramsey - Boston Celtics DP
16 Dick McGuire - Detroit Pistons  DP, HOF
17 Bob Cousy - Boston Celtics  DP, HOF
18 Larry Foust - Minneapolis Lakers DP
19 Tom Heinsohn - Boston Celtics HOF
20 Bill Thieben - Detroit Pistons
21 Don Meineke - Cincinnati Royals DP
22 Tom Marshall - Cincinnati Royals
23 Dick Garmaker - Minneapolis Lakers
24 Bob Pettit - St. Louis Hawks  QUADRUPLE PRINT, HOF
25 Jim Krebs - Minneapolis Lakers DP
26 Gene Shue - Detroit Pistons DP
27 Ed Macauley - St. Louis Hawks DP
28 Vern Mikkelsen - Minneapolis Lakers HOF
29 Willie Naulls - New York Knicks 
30 Walter Dukes - Detroit Pistons DP
31 Dave Piontek - Cincinnati Royals DP
32 John Kerr - Syracuse Nationals
33 Larry Costello - Syracuse Nationals DP
34 Woody Sauldsberry - Philadelphia Warriors  DP
35 Ray Felix - New York Knicks
36 Ernie Beck - Philadelphia Warriors
37 Cliff Hagan - St. Louis Hawks
38 Guy Sparrow - New York Knicks DP
39 Jim Loscutoff - Boston Celtics
40 Arnie Risen - Boston Celtics DP

41 Joe Graboski - Philadelphia Warriors
42 Maurice Stokes - Cincinnati Royals DP
43 Rod Hundley - Minneapolis Lakers DP
44 Tom Gola - Philadelphia Warriors DP, HOF
45 Med Park - St. Louis Hawks
46 Mel Hutchins - New York Knicks DP
47 Larry Friend - New York Knicks DP
48 Lennie Rosenbluth - Philadelphia Warriors DP
49 Walt Davis - Philadelphia Warriors
50 Richie Regan - Cincinnati Royals
51 Frank Selvy - St. Louis Hawks RC DP
52 Art Spoelstra - Minneapolis Lakers DP
53 Bob Hopkins - Syracuse Nationals
54 Earl Lloyd - Syracuse Nationals
55 Phil Jordon - New York Knicks
56 Bob Houbregs - Detroit Pistons  DP, HOF
57 Lou Tsioropoulos - Boston Celtics DP
58 Ed Conlin - Syracuse Nationals
59 Al Bianchi - Syracuse Nationals
60 George Dempsey - Philadelphia Warriors
61 Chuck Share - St. Louis Hawks
62 Harry Gallatin - Detroit Pistons DP
63 Bob Harrison - Syracuse Nationals
64 Bob Burrow - Minneapolis Lakers DP
65 Win Wilfong - St. Louis Hawks DP
66 Jack McMahon - St. Louis Hawks DP
67 Jack George - Philadelphia Warriors
68 Charlie Tyra - New York Knicks DP
69 Ron Sobie - New York Knicks
70 Jack Coleman - St. Louis Hawks
71 Jack Twyman - Cincinnati Royals DP, HOF
72 Paul Seymour - Syracuse Nationals
73 Jim Paxson - Cincinnati Royals
74 Bob Leonard - Minneapolis Lakers
75 Andy Phillip - Boston Celtics
76 Joe Holup - Syracuse Nationals
77 Bill Russell - Boston Celtics HOF
78 Clyde Lovellette - Cincinnati Royals DP, HOF
79 Ed Fleming - Minneapolis Lakers DP
80 Dick Schnittker - Minneapolis Lakers 

1957 Topps Basketball Cards for Sale on eBay

1957 Topps Basketball #77 Bill Russell PSA 6

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1957 58 Topps Basketball #19 Tommy Heinsohn PSA 5 - RC HOF Celtics Holy Cross

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1957 Topps Basketball 17 (R) Bob Cousy PSA 7 (3250) Rookie

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1957 Topps Basketball #77 Bill Russell Rookie Card RC Graded PSA Ex MINT 6 (MC)

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1957 Topps Basketball #17 Bob Cousy Rookie Card RC PSA Graded VG EX 4 Celtics

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1957 Topps Basketball # 77 Bill Russell RC Rookie HOF PSA 7 oc " LOOKS NM-MT "

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1957 TOPPS #19 TOM HEINSOHN RC CELTICS HOF SGC 7 Basketball CENTERED PSA BGS

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1957 TOPPS BASKETBALL SIGNED #54 EARL LLOYD CARD - HOF 2003

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1957 Topps Basketball #33 LARRY COSTELLO RC SGC 96 9! POP 1! MINT! vs 6 PSA 9!

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Bill Russell 1957 Topps Rookie #77 ** BVG 5.5 ** Top 5 Basketball Card - Invest!

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1957-58 Topps Basketball Complete Set 1-80,SGC A Bill Russell RC,38 Graded Cards

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1957 Topps Basketball 24 BOB PETTIT RC PSA 6 Rookie Card

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