Sunday 20 September 2009

1952 Bowman

Only a short while ago I obtained some 1952 Bowman cards. Four cards to be exact and their condition was fair to poor. I was happy because I had some 1952 Bowman cards in my collection. I wasn't sure why I was able to grab these cards when I realised that 1952 was the first year of the Topps brand. Topps were bigger and there was more to collect. I discovered an interesting article describing the '52 Bowman cards as the 'forgotten set' because it is overshadowed by the '52 Topps.

There is however some of the bigger names in baseball included in the Bowman set such as: Mickey Mantle #101, Willie Mays #218, Stan Musial #196 (there wasn't a Musial card in 1952 Topps)and Duke Snider #116, to name but a few and what would it be like to be a player collector of Ebba St. Claire #172, Hoot Evers #249, Enos Slaughter #232 or Eddie Stanky #160. Perhaps they did it on purpose but Mickey Mantle #101 is between Sibby Sisti #100 and Peanuts Lowrey #102.
So why is the '52 Bowman set not as popular with today's collectors as the '52 Topps?
Size? Perhaps. Bowman stuck with the 2-1/16 X 3-1/8 cards that had served them well in previous years and Topps on the other hand went bigger with 2-5/8 X 3-3/4 inch.
Set size? Bowman 252, Topps 407.
Information? The bigger Topps card allowed for more statistical information to be printed including past years records. One third of the back of the Bowman card is an advertisment for the Bowman Gum Company.
Picture? Both used the same process of colourised black and white photographs of the players. Bowman provided a background, usually a stadium, while many of the Topps cards had plain mono-colour backgrounds. Was Bowman an inferior card?
Lack of Rookies? Only 3 notables in Bowman. Every card could be considered a 'Rookie' in the Topps set.
Kudos? Last of the small Bowman sets. First of the 'Modern' bigger Topps era.

The upshot is, I was able to pick up seven more of the 1952 Bowman set, including three Boston Red Sox cards. There was no interest in the auction, I won all of them with 1 bid. I added:

#117 Bill Wright Red Sox
#120 Al Corwin Giants
#127 Dick Sisler Reds
#129 Gus Niarhos Red Sox
#137 Stan Rojek Browns
#139 Jerry Priddy Tigers
#140 Ray Scarborough Red Sox.

These could all be considered to be in fair condition, but I won't quibble about condition. I may be the only person around that likes these more than '52 Topps. Then again I do not own any '52 Topps so that could sway it in favour of '52 Bowman.


Matt Runyon said...

The Bowmans were great cards. The 48 and 49 cards don't do much for me, but the others are cool. The oldest card I own is a '54 Bowman Bob Feller.

Captain Canuck said...

awesome find! always sweet to add some true vintage.

my oldest baseball cards are 5 1953 Topps Braves

AdamE said...

You are not the only one that likes the Bowman better. I hate 52 Topps and love the small Bowman cards.