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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Ranking Topps Baseball Card Designs (1952-1959)

by Paul Semendinger


As we wait for the season to begin, I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the old Topps baseball card sets and rank the designs. I'll give my opinions and then I hope the readers share theirs as well. This should be fun. Remember, please, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

We'll begin with the 1950s. Here are the deigns year-by-year:










Now comes the difficult part, ranking the designs.

I think it's easiest to list the four I like the least first:

1951 - a good start, but I don't love these

1954 - I don't like the face and cutout action shot

1955 - This was better than 1954, but still not great

1958 - I'm not a fan of the colored background, but I do like the design

The designs I like:

1952 - Classic, simple and nice

1953 - What an effort - paintings of every player!

1955 - Much better than 1955, the actions shots look better with a real background

1957 - I like the simplicity of this design with the real background

1959 - (Ethan's favorite set) I like this, it's a good design, the circle is fun.



  1. 1952

  2. 1953

  3. 1959

  4. 1957

  5. 1956

  6. 1958

  7. 1955

  8. 1954

  9. 1951

How do you rank these designs?


Mike Whiteman
Feb 05

I've always enjoyed the 1957 set, and occasionally pick up one here and there if I can find an affordable card. I don't try to collect the set as the stars cost a bit much. The 1953 set is pretty neat. The Topps Archive 1953 is fun.


Feb 04

I'm with Ethan, '59.


Feb 04

‘52 & ‘53 are tough to beat.


Feb 04

when I was growing up, all the boys in my second-grade class marveled at my Charlie Hemphill baseball card

and they all started smoking Piedmont Cigarettes


Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Feb 04

Poor Yogi, getting stuck on the Foul Ball card.

Topps finally got the basic idea right in '54. I don't like the circle photo in '59, but at least it's a photo of the player with a stadium backdrop. OTOH, I find '57 jarring; it feels like a publicity photo, not a baseball card. I'm not as bothered by the plain color background in '54 and '58. I definitely don't like the ones with paintings/air-brushings in them.

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