December '94 SMR Article

Top Picks From Leading Card Dealers

There's an old saying that goes: "If you want to collect, buy what you like. If you want to invest, buy what other people like."

Well, what do other people like? SMR asked several of the nation's leading card dealers for their top picks and received some enlightening answers.

St. Louis dealer Bill Goodwin of Goodwin & Co. chose the 1933 Goudey #1 card of Benny Bengough in Near Mint-Mint 8. "It's the toughest card of the set," he said, then continued, "The number one cards were usually on top of the stack, resulting in mishandling and exposure to wear and damage. During the war-era paper drives, most of the surviving cards were thrown in the pile."

Of the cards from the 1950s, Goodwin likes the 1952 Topps Eddie Mathews #407 in Near Mint-Mint 8 or better. "It's a card plagued with problems and a great rarity in top condition," he said.

"Over the past ten years, I've found that certain cards are always on want lists and the last ones located to finish a set," Goodwin said. "For instance, the '59 Topps cards of Billy Pierce, Del Rice and Billy Hunter are really tough in 8 or better."

Kevin Struss of Sportscards Plus found some sleepers in the '53 Bowman set. "The cards of Yogi Berra, Duke Snider, and Whitey Ford are rare in 8 or better. They're ususally off center," he said. Struss is also enthusiastic about the Topps Ted Williams cards of 1955, '57, and '58. "These cards have everything going for them. They're in extremely popular sets, they're condition rarities, they're the #1 or #2 cards of the set, and there's a very small premium for them being Ted Williams cards."

Tim Dumm of Blue Chip Enterprises selected cards that cover an entire era. "I like anything in the pre-1948 cards in Near Mint 7 or better," he said. Asked to pick one favorite card, Dumm chose the '51 Bowman Mickey Mantle in 7 or better.

Greg Bussineau of Superior Sports Card, Inc. gave examples in both baseball and football cards. "The four Babe Ruth cards in the '33 Goudey set are great buys. For $7,000-$8,000 collectors can buy a card that was over $30,000 in 1992."

Bussineau also picked the Topps '58 and '59 Mantle and the 1953 Bowman cards of Snider and Berra. "All my choices are for cards in Near Mint-Mint 8 or better," he said.

In football cards, Bussineau especially liked the '53 Bowman of Frank Gifford and the '58 Topps of Jim Brown.