1963 Topps Baseball Set: Top Ten Cards

October 9, 2021

The 1963 Topps baseball set has been quite popular with collectors over the years.  The vivid colors and design pattern are reminiscent of the 1953 Topps set, discussed on our site here Top Ten Cards from the 1953 Topps Set – CardLines.com.

The key rookie cards of Pete Rose and Willie Stargell are complemented by the cards of iconic players such as Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron.

This is a popular set. Indeed, PSA and SGC have graded a quarter-million 1963 Topps cards (about 223,000 for PSA and 21,000 for SGC).  All-Vintage Cards rates this issue as the best Topps set of the 1960s. So, let’s take a deeper dive into the Topps 1963 Set cards.

The History of the 1963 Topps Set

After battling Bowman in their early years for market share, Topps was a virtual monopoly by the start of the1960’s. The company celebrated by releasing the 1963 Topps release with an appealing and widely popular design.

The pattern is similar to its 1953 design, featuring crisp player images accented by a small circle in the bottom corner, which houses a small black and white image with a colored background.  The main difference is that these were based on photos, not paintings as 1953 was.

The card backs feature a layout of black ink on a yellow background.  The printing itself tallies career major league statistics on a season-by-season basis.  Along with these statistics, the back of the cards features relevant biological information and a small cartoon (as was the Topps style) with a short blurb about the player.

The 1963 design is similar to the 1953 design, seen here (look for 1953 Topps lots The Ten Most Valuable Topps 1963 Set Cards

The 1963 series of 576 cards contains several valuable cards, including two key rookie cards of Pete Rose and long-time Pittsburgh Pirates Hall-of-Famer Willie Stargell. However, the set is also desirable for its artwork, and many collectors want a complete set. That fact places a premium on the tough-to-find high-grade cards with low populations.

  • 1963 Topps #537 Pete Rose – Rookie Card

Unquestionably the key card in the 1963 Topps set is the rookie card of Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hit king.  While Rose shares this card with three other rookies, the card still leads the pack for the 1963 issue.  It is the most valuable card in the set.  Counterfeit copies of the card exist but usually have a black line added around Rose’s hat. So beware!

The most recent price for a PSA 8 of this card is $11,215 on eBay on August 16, 2021.

  • 1963 Topps #200 Mickey Mantle

While not nearly as hyped as Mantle’s 1952 Topps issue, this card is still one of the most important cards of the 1963 issue.  Mantle cards always command a premium, and this specimen is no exception.

The most recent price for a PSA 8 of this card is $4,813 on eBay on August 15, 2021.

Mantle cards are always popular (get 1963 Topps Mantle’s on eBay).
  • 1963 Topps #300 Willie Mays

One of the greatest baseball players of all time, Willie Mays, was coming off a season where he won his sixth straight Gold Glove award.  He would go on to win the award for 12 consecutive years.

A PSA 8 went for $2,025 on August 16, 2021, on eBay.

  • 1963 Topps #540 Roberto Clemente

A Hall-of-Famer who amassed exactly 3,000 hits, Clemente’s career was cut short at 38. He died while conducting a humanitarian mission to deliver aid to the victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua.

Interest in Clemente cards has increased recently, as has the price of his cards – including the 1963 example.  Therefore, all his early cards are excellent investments.

A PSA 8 of this card recently sold for $1,790 on eBay on August 7, 2021.

The iconic status of Roberto Clemente in the hobby has only increased in recent years (look for #540 Clemente cards on eBay).
  • 1963 Topps #390 Hank Aaron

When this card was printed, Aaron had just gone to his eighth straight All-star game. It was just one along the way to an unbelievable 21 consecutive selections to the mid-summer classic.  Pictured in his Milwaukee Braves uniform, Hank’s glaze seems aimed right at the owner of the card.

The most recent PSA 8 sold on September 26, 2021, for $1,475 on eBay.

  • 1963 Topps #210 Sandy Koufax

In 1962, Sandy Koufax registered an ERA of 2.54 and won the ERA title.  His year of impressive statistics is recorded on the back of his cards.  Even more impressive is that in each of the following four years, Koufax recorded a lower ERA on the way to five consecutive league-leading figures.

The most recent PSA 8 sale of a Koufax 1963 card was at eBay on September 28, 2021, for $1,180.

Koufax can be seen here about to launch the best stretch of seasons by any pitcher (get 1963 Koufax cards from eBay).
  • 1963 Topps #553 Willie Stargell – Rookie Card

Overshadowed by the Rose rookie card, Stargell’s 1963 card is just beginning to get its rightful due. The two-time home run champ and future National League MVP shares his rookie card with three other players. As with Rose, this detracts from its value.

A PSA 8 sold for $1,153 on eBay on October 3, 2021.

  • 1963 Topps #340 Yogi Berra

Markedly fewer of Yogi’s cards have been graded than the other cards in this list. As a result, prime examples in near-perfect shape are tough to find. The relatively rare card shows Berra gripping the bat as he stars back, almost right through you holding the card.

One of his PSA 8’s most recently sold for $961 on eBay on July 6, 2021.

  • 1963 Topps #415 Bob Gibson

Bob Gibson was one of the fiercest competitors in baseball history and dominated the mound.  The determined look on Bob’s face in his 1963 card shows that he was all business.  His card can be picked up at an affordable price compared to most others on this list.

A PSA 8 last went for $428 on PWCC on July 13, 2021.

We think this is one of the coolest Bob Gibson cards ever (get your Gibson 1963 card on eBay).
  • 1963 Topps #500 Harmon Killebrew

Fittingly, this member of the 500 Home Run Club was given card #500.  Looking at the back of Harmon’s card, he hit 48 home runs and knocked in 126. Both marks led the league.

Though Killebrew’s card prices haven’t fully lived up to his remarkable Hall of Fame career, he still makes the list.

A PSA 8 recently sold for $365 on eBay on August 25, 2021.

What Are The Population Reports For Topps 1963 Set Cards?

Because of the brightly colored panels at the bottom of the card, the proportion of cards designated in very high grades is relatively low. As a result, the corners of the colored panels easily show even the slightest bit of wear or damage.

Card7 PSA8 PSA9 PSA10 PSATotal
Pete Rose9444213014,541
Mickey Mantle8873724025,274
Roberto Clemente6343913522,387
Willie Stargell5923833422,260
Hank Aaron5913333612,350
Yogi Berra2179450904
Sandy Koufax5812632002,474
Willie Mays5293303812,313
Harmon Killebrew3001851401,025
Bob Gibson3171891311,050

What Inserts Were In The 1963 Topps Set Cards?

Topps released the 1963 baseball set over time in seven series.  The composition of the set has a lot of interesting subsets.  These include ten League Leaders cards to start the set off.  There are also cards depicting highlights from the World series and several interesting multi-player cards.

Additionally, there are rookie cards (including the Rose and Stargell cards) which seem to be inserted randomly throughout the set. Finally, as was usual, Topps also featured team cards, manager cards, and checklist cards to comprise additional subsets.

The Cardlines Pick Of The 1963 Topps Set

It’s hard to go wrong with Pete Rose’s first card.  Although there are other contenders, Rose set an important record that may never be broken.  His exclusion from baseball’s Hall of Fame is the source of great debate within the sport, but it has not detracted from the value of his card.  It’s still the card to have from the 1963 Topps set.

The 1963 Rookie Stars card includes all-time hits leader Pete Rose (get your 1963 Rose rookie on eBay).

Bottomline On Topps 1963 Set Cards

Interest in sets like the 1963 Topps set is strong and has remained consistently appealing in investment terms. It includes two great rookie cards and an extensive lineup of some of the best players ever. As a result, it will continue to be a desirable complete set, and its value should appreciate in the long term.

Other classic Topps sets

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