1951 Bowman Baseball Highlights Vintage Baseball and Football Complete Sets Purchase

Man with No Cell Phone sells 1940's and 1950's Sets with Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays Rookies, and More!
  • June 25, 2021

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Complete sets of vintage sports cards that includes a 1951 Bowman baseball set with rookie cards of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays made their way to Just Collect but not without an assist from a friend and memories of the days before cell phones!


A collector reached out to me for a FREE appraisal on the Just Collect website.  The e-mail was very simple with the man stating he had "complete sets of baseball and football cards" and listed dates from 1949 - 1955.  I responded personally to the appraisal e-mail and we spoke shortly after on the phone.  After learning more about the entire collection, the customer did a few things that floored me: First, he told me exactly what he wanted for his collection and it was fairly valued. Most customers will not tell me how much they want or are asking for their collection.  One reason a collector may not provide their asking price is that they simply aren't sure what their collection is worth (which is why I'm always happy to provide a free appraisal!). Another reason is that some collectors aren't up-to-date (market fluctuation) with current values.  Did you know the market has fluctuated so much in the last 12 to 18 months that the record for most expensive card was broken FIVE times?  When a collector's asking price is the amount I was going to offer, the deal is just too easy, right?  Or is it...  

The Caveat

After agreeing on a price to buy the collection, the gentleman mentioned he didn't want to SHIP his collection to Just Collect.   While many customers prefer shipping their collections to me as I can offer my personal, fully-insured, two-day FedEx account to ensure your collections arrive safely, I am happy to travel to you for a really big collection if you are not comfortable shipping.  If you choose not to ship your cards, and you can't meet me at the next show we'll be attending, I'll meet you!  On a Tuesday afternoon, when working on a scheduled day and location to make the purchase, the collector said I needed to pick up the collection by Thursday or he was going to sell it to someone else who was ready to buy it on Thursday…he said because I agreed to buy it first at his asking price I would have until Thursday to finalize the transaction and pick everything up!

Oh boy.  The afternoon of the call, I was literally packing to head out to the Chantilly, VA. card show. When trying to figure out a way to meet make my way to the collector by Thursday, I thought about meeting him at an airport. If I could meet the customer at the airport, I'd make a quick 180 back onto a bird and still make Chantilly. However, when discussing this option, the man told me the second thing that floored mehe didn't have a cell phone!  

Briefly I took a trip back to the 90's, before I had a cell phone.  I lived without technology; I made it all the way through Rutgers college with an road map, a pencil, and a keen sense of sniffing out a fun time.  I could do it!  Then reality hit and I remembered I could barely find the gas station a half mile from my house without a phone. If I met the customer at the airport and couldn't actually find him in such a large, public place, I would not be able to buy the collection and I may even miss the flight out back to the Chantilly show!  My solution shows you that even when I can't make it in-person to buy a collection from you, I'll still make the deal happen no matter what it takes!


A long-time friend of mine that knows the hobby well, Jason, was happy to help!  I explained the situation to the customer and he was comfortable with me sending Jason out to his house on my behalf.  Thank you very much, Jason!

Since the customer wanted to be paid in cash, that's how Jason paid. If you choose to be paid in cash, I'll bring the wallet.  Check? I remember how to write those out.  Bitcoin? Done.  Imagine if you could go back in time when there were no cell phones and explain that form of payment to your younger self ... "it's called digital money..." 



COMPLETE baseball and football sets from the 1940's and 1950's that includes highlights such as:

  • 1951 Bowman Baseball
    • Mickey Mantle rookie card
    • Willie Mays rookie card
    • Dozens of stars like Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Warren Spahn and Ted Williams

You may be more familiar with the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card, but Bowman was first to picture the great Mickey Mantle on a card for you. You can read more about this beautiful, 324-card set, one of my absolute favorites, HERE

Vintage Mickey Mantle cards are some of my favorite to buy!  In fact, just last month I bought a collection that contained a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card from a collector in Canada that had the card stored under jars of pickles!  Check out the "pickle" Mantle story HERE.

  • 1954 Red Heart Baseball
    • Red Heart = dog food
    • Cards given for mailing in labels of the dog food
    • 33 cards with stars like Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, and Warren Spahn 

If you thought I took you back in time with meeting up without the use of a cell phone, how about traveling back to when you could mail in labels for a prize!  Mailing in dog food labels to snag a Hall of Famer like Stan "The Man" Musial’s only card from 1954 would have been pretty fun to chase back in the fifties.  Musial didn't appear on Topps or Bowman card in 1954 so you most likely needed a family dog to own a Musial.

  • 1955 Bowman Baseball
    • Second-year card of Hank Aaron
    • TV set boarder
    • 320 cards

The '55 Bowman set is very special to me.  During the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, I was on stage with my sister company, Vintage Beaks where I was fortunate enough to open a sealed 1955 Bowman baseball cello pack for customers that purchased a spot in the pack.  Every person in the break was guaranteed a pack-fresh '55 Bowman, but to the surprise of everyone in the building - we pulled a MICKEY MANTLE.  Watch the video of our stunning pull HERE.

  • 1955 Topps All-American Football
    • Features Heisman Trophy winners and Hall of Famers
    • Rookie card of The Four Horseman, the famed Notre Dame backfield of the 1920's
    • 100 Cards

Topps was sneaky with this set due to a lack of rights to produce cards of professional football players.  As a kid in 1955, you'd certainly love to get a football card of the stars your dad talked about every Saturday when Notre Dame was on TV.  Nothing like sharing that fun with pops.  Amazingly, this 100-card set has 73 rookie cards in it! You can read more about the set HERE.

This collection is so incredible that I could chat all day with you about it.  How often can you just almost overlook a 1949 Bowman baseball set with a lovely Jackie Robinson or Satchel Paige rookie?  There is a 1955 Bowman football set with the legendary coach Tom Landry from his playing days with the Giants. Many great, complete vintage sets!  Instead, I'll just SHOW you what I am now proud to own:








I mentioned how the collector already floored me twice - once by telling me the asking price for his collection, and the second time by telling me he doesn't own a cell phone.  Number three was so great.  After I returned to the Just Collect Office in New Jersey, from the Chantilly show I had a letter waiting for me.  The collector wrote me an actual, hand-written letter telling me that Jason forgot one a card from the 1951 Bowman set.  He wanted to make the deal right and make sure he sold me the entire set because that's what we agreed upon.




A real throwback, and a pleasure to see that there are still kind people like this in the world.



Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. Your collection doesn't have to be all vintage like this collection either!  I recently bought a graded card collection of more modern cards that was filled with rookie cards of Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, and even Hulk Hogan that you can see here.

If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact me today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and I would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace. Check out the Just Collect buy list blog here


I've run into a wide range of people and collections over the last 25 years. Although Just Collect is known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage baseball cards, I am also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

Every collection and every collector is different and I treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. I understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, understand the feelings that you're going through and will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, I'm not happy.


Whether you have complete vintage sets, single cards of players like Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays, or even cards of select modern stars, I'd love to hear from you!  You can reach out any time!  


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