1959 Topps Bob Gibson Rookie Card: A Closer Look

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Few pitchers in MLB history were as dominating on the mound as Hall-of-Fame pitcher Bob Gibson.

Gibson’s fastball helped him break records while winning two World Series Championships (1964 & 1967) with the St Louis Cardinals.

Despite Gibson’s dominance over his 17-year career, his 1959 Topps rookie card has been a bit underappreciated by collectors.

However, over the last few years, Gibson’s rookie card has exploded in value, as the hobby has finally recognized his legend.

In this piece, I’ll examine the rarity of Gibson’s rookie card, current values, while providing thoughts on the future investment value for his 1959 Topps card.

Bob Gibson As A Player

When it comes down to hard throwing pitchers that dominated hitters, not many are as prominent as one Bob Gibson.  Gibson was one of the most feared pitchers of his day and his stats show a dominance that few have been able to replicate.

Gibson’s 1968 season was one for the record books; Gibson went 22-9, with a 1.12 ERA, 0.853 WHIP, 13 shutouts and 268 strikeouts, winning the league’s MVP award. Gibson also led the Cardinals to two World Series Championships in 1964 and 1967, winning the World Series MVP in each. Gibson’s 1.12 ERA in 1968 is a record that still stands today

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Gibson was the epitome of clutch; his playoff pitching record is simply put, unbelievable. In the three years the Cardinals played in the World Series (64, 67 and 68) Gibson pitched 81 innings with 92 strikeouts and 1.89 ERA. 


So where does Gibson stand among the all time greats? In Bill James top 100 baseball rankings, Bob Gibson sits as the 46th best player of all time, behind other pitching greats such as Walter Johnson, Satchel Paige, Lefty Grove, Cy Young, Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver and Christy Mathewson. 

Thus, it’s fair to say that Gibson was at the very least one of the ten best pitchers to ever play the game of baseball.

“I was told by Hank Aaron never to mess with Bob Gibson. I was told never to stare at him, or talk to him, or smile at him. And if he hit you with a pitch, I was told never to charge the mound because he would beat your ass.”

Dusty Baker, former player and manager

A Look At The Front And Back Of Gibson’s Rookie Card

The front of the Bob Gibson rookie card features Gibson with a smile on his face (a somewhat rare occurrence). My guess is that Gibson is probably taking a break from striking out some opposing batters.

I personally like the design of the 1959 Topps set (although maybe not the best overall Topps design), and the pink background on the Gibson card certainly makes the card stand out.  

The Gibson rookie card is certainly the highlight of the 59 Topps set, and the most valuable card of the issue. Other rookies from the set include Sparky Anderson, Ford Frick and Felipe Alou


The back of the Gibson rookie card (#514) is mostly standard fare for Topps, with a stat section and short biography. One thing that I learned from the back of Gibson’s rookie card; before he was signed by the Cardinals, Gibson played basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters for one season. 

Oh, also that Gibson’s nickname is ‘Hoot’, named after the old Hollywood cowboy, Hoot Gibson. 


How Much Is A Bob Gibson Rookie Card Worth?

Bob Gibson’s official rookie card is his 1965 Topps #514 card. Only three Gibson rookie cards have garnered a PSA 10 (Gem-Mint) grade; a recent 2021 sale set a record for a Gem-Mint Gibson rookie card, selling for a whopping $324,000 at auction

The good news for collectors without hundreds of thousands to spend; given the high supply of the Gibson rookie card, lower grade copies are fairly affordable. In fact, an Excellent-Mint (PSA 6) copy of Gibson’s rookie card can often be found for under $1000. 

For the budget minded collectors, ungraded copies of Gibson’s rookie card in low grade can usually be found for less than $500. 


What Is The Current Graded Population For Bob Gibson’s Rookie Card?

In total, PSA has graded nearly 5000 copies of Gibson’s rookie card. Note that this number doesn’t even include any graded copies from Beckett or SGC or the existing raw (ungraded population).

As shown in the chart below, PSA has only graded 3 Gem Mint (or PSA 10) copies of Gibson’s rookie card.

PSA 9 Gibson rookies are easier but still a tough find, with less than 40 graded by PSA.  Drop down one grade to PSA 8, and the supply starts to expand with nearly 400 copies graded by PSA. 

It’s the lower grades – PSA 7 and under which have the bulk of the graded supply, with nearly 4500 graded copies.  


How Much Is An Autographed Bob Gibson Rookie Card Worth?

On average, recent sales of autographed Bob Gibson rookie cards have ranged from $1000 (for lower condition, ungraded cards) all the way up to $5,000 for autographs that have been graded or in nicer condition.

Note that Gibson passed away in 2020, so of course, the existing supply isn’t getting any larger. Thus, I do like the investment potential for an autographed Gibson rookie card.


In addition, the premium isn’t all that large – around 15-20%, so in my mind, the premium is well worth it as a long term investment.  

What’s The Investment Potential?

Bob Gibson’s rookie card is not rare by any means, with a graded PSA population of around 5000 cards. Thus when I think in terms of card investments, I always consider the existing supply and how that could impact my ownership in any specific card.

Thus, with such a high population, the recommendation is always to go for the highest grade possible that fits within your specific budget. As noted above as well, if you can get your hands on an autographed Gibson rookie card at a low premium, I’d say that’s a no brainer. 

Ultimately, I expect that Gibson’s rookie card will be a great investment over time, with a better opportunity for higher grades or those that are autographed by Gibson.

Bob Gibson Rookie Cards For Sale on eBay

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One Comment

  1. Can you tell Me if the 59 gibson rc. Paper stock is thicker. Can you see through the card up to a light?

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