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Johnny Bench

1968 Kahn's Wieners

There is no doubt that Bench’s only mainstream rookie card is his 1968 Topps issue. That said, another Bench card was produced that same year. In this case, the card is larger, more colorful, and much tougher to locate than his regular Topps rookie. Kahn’s, the Cincinnati-area meat company, produced small regional sets for many years before Bench came along. These oversized cards measure approximately 2-13/16" by 4-9/16" and each one was designed with an advertising tab that could be removed by hand. They even included a dotted line to help guide the collector. Today, most collectors prefer that the cards remain intact, since the Kahn’s logo adds visual appeal. The blank-backed set only contains 38 subjects, but there are numerous variations throughout. When it comes to Bench, however, there is only one version. The eye-popping card pictures Bench removing his catcher’s mask and the image is draped with a facsimile signature. The 1968 Kahn’s Bench card is a perfect tribute to the man that would become the greatest catcher in baseball history.

Johnny Lee Bench (December 7, 1947-) is considered to be amongst the greatest catchers that Major League Baseball has ever seen and was the team leader that led the Cincinnati Reds "Big Red Machine" to back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. Bench was a smart ballplayer, with an exceptional work ethic, who starred for his high school baseball and basketball teams and was named class valedictorian in his senior year. The Cincinnati Reds then took Johnny with the 36th overall pick of the 1965 MLB Amateur Draft. He spent two seasons with the Buffalo Bisons before getting the call-up to the big leagues. In 1968, Bench hit .275 with 15 home runs and 82 RBI to win the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award and his first All-Star selection while also posting a .991 fielding percentage and a 47% caught stealing percentage to win his first Rawlings Golden Glove. These accolades were early signs of what was to come. He won ten consecutive Gold Gloves behind the plate, second only to Ivan Rodriquez who won 13. In 1969, he set the single season caught stealing percentage record gunning down 57% of the opponent’s would-be base stealers and also posted a .992 fielding percentage. That same year, at the plate, Johnny led the NL with 45 home runs and 148 RBI while batting .293 to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award. Two years later, he would repeat as NL MVP, again leading the National League in home runs (40) and RBI (125) as well as throwing out 56% of the opposition’s base runners – second all-time in single season caught stealing percentage.

Bench led a host of All-Stars and future Hall of Famers like Pete Rose, Dave Concepcion, Ken Griffey, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan and George Foster during the 1970s, helping the Reds reach the World Series four times (1970, 1972, 1975, 1976). The potent, well-oiled offense of Cincinnati earned the moniker "Big Red Machine" and could beat you with power or manufacture runs. The Reds beat the Boston Red Sox four-games-to-three in what is considered one of the greatest World Series in history and then repeated as champions in 1976, sweeping the New York Yankees. The 14-time MLB All-Star was named the 1976 World Series MVP after batting .533 with two homers and six RBI in four games. Johnny Bench was the Cincinnati Reds catcher for 17 seasons (1967-1983) and was formidable hitter at the plate as he posted a .267 career batting average with 389 home runs and 1,376 RBI. Bench also finished his career with a .990 fielding percentage behind the plate, winning 10 Gold Gloves, and gunning down 44% of the would-be base stealers. Johnny Bench popularized the one-handed style of catching that is commonplace in the game today. Johnny Lee Bench was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989. Since retiring, Bench has remained active in sports even attempting a run at the Senior PGA Tour after turning fifty. The Sporting News ranked him #16 on the "100 Greatest Baseball Players" list.

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MINT 9
1 MINT 9
1 MINT 9
2 NM-MT 8 (14)

Prices By Grade


Grade Most Recent Price Average Price PSA Price Population POP Higher
GEM - MT 10
MINT 9 $2,510.40 $2,200.00 3
NM - MT 8 $1,560.00 $1,560.00 $750.00 14 3
NM 7 $1,255.55 $1,255.55 $400.00 9 18
EX - MT 6 $810.00 $275.00 5 29
EX 5 $766.00 $200.00 5 35
VG - EX 4 40
VG 3 40
GOOD 2 1 40
FR 1.5 41
PR 1 41
Auth 1 41

Auction Prices Realized

Date Price Grade Lot # Auction House Auction/Seller Type Cert
08/15/2022 $1,560 8 1526 Robert Edward Auctions 2022 Summer Auction 26551801
10/12/2021 $1,256 7 384428224139 eBay probstein123 Auction 21783535
08/06/2021 $892 6.5 316 Huggins and Scott Auctions August 2021 Auction Auction 53785599
10/13/2020 $2,510 9 1014 Memory Lane, Inc. 20th Anniversary Auction Auction 20002973
06/17/2020 $766 5 143624999600 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 45329183
06/23/2019 $1,025 8 362676705452 eBay partnerone Auction 15709355
09/13/2018 $810 6 142926444335 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 21545136
10/25/2016 $1,001 8 371762749866 eBay probstein123 Auction 26219392
11/14/2014 $270 5.5 422 Love of the Game Auctions Fall, 2014 Premier Auction - Closes November 1, 20 Auction 21207887
05/06/2012 $1,202 9 603 Memory Lane, Inc. HOLY GRAIL AUCTION SPRING 2012 Auction 19958645
11/11/2011 $318 5 887 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XXXVI Auction 04592535
12/13/2009 $686 8 644 Memory Lane, Inc. Hidden Treasures Vintage Rarities Auction Auction 15709355
09/30/2009 $800 8 882 Huggins and Scott Auctions September 2009 Auction Auction 15731973
12/15/2006 $1,391 8 660 Memory Lane, Inc. Holy Grail Auction Auction 07192320
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