Sunday, January 25, 2009

Iconic Cards, Part I: 1968 Nolan Ryan

For most of us collectors, there are some special cards that come to mind as representing the best of baseball card collecting. Nolan Ryan's 1968 Topps rookie card, shared with Jerry Koosman, is undoubtedly one of the most coveted cards of the Topps era. The book value for this card varies by source, but according to the 2009 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, edited by Don Fluckinger, a near mint card is worth $375.

Much has already been written about Nolan Ryan, so I will not repeat his stellar statistical career. I will, however, share a personal story. My wife and I had the opportunity to visit the Nolan Ryan Center in Alvin, Texas a couple years ago. Ryan's museum is one of the very best centers dedicated to a major league ballplayer in the country. I would strongly suggest a visit, if you happen to be in the Houston/Galveston area. For more information, please visit

Finally, like many other Hall of Famers, Topps has produced reprinted versions of this card. In 1999, Topps issued a complete set of 27 reprints, representing Ryan's 27 base cards from 1968 through 1994. Also, Topps issued a modified version of a 1968 reprint with its 2006 Topps "Rookie of the Week" series.

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