Mickey Mantle and Bill Russell Highlight Sirius Radio DJ Topps Collection

Complete Sets, Vintage Cards, and Hall of Famers Collected by a Radio DJ
  • November 09, 2023


A Sirius radio DJ came to the Just Collect store with a vintage card collection he was interested in selling. In classic binders were complete sets from the 1950's including cards from Mickey Mantle and Bill Russell as well as an iconic 1986-87 Fleer basketball set with a Michael Jordan rookie card built from packs! Just Collect has proudly purchased the Sirius Radio DJ Collection.


Bill has been a Sirius radio DJ for more than 20 years. When not entertaining you on the radio, he was collecting sports cards. Going back to his youth, Bill collected sports cards the way we all did; purchasing wax packs filled with childhood joy and a delicious stick of gum! Like you did growing up, he placed all of the sets into 9-pocket pages and into 3-ring binders. You can see Bill's binders in the first slide below; these bring back memories! Back in 1957, Bill purchased pack after pack and collected the 1957 Topps baseball set. Cards today are typically created all the same "standard" size of 2-1/2" x 3-1/2". This 1957 Topps set that you can see in the second slide below paved the way for the standard size. Not only was the 1957 set a pioneer for size, this set features full-color images. From Frank Robinson on the top left to the Dodgers Sluggers on the bottom right, each card captures a moment in time back when players weren't required to wear helmets! Imagine a baseball player today NOT wearing a helmet. This group of cards includes legends like Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, and more. While the complete set of 1957 Topps cards totals 407, Bill was a few cards short; he didn't like the checklist cards! Rather than keeping each checklist and marking off each card he had towards his collection, Bill threw out the checklist cards. As the cards were designed to check off each card you owned, few cards were not just kept but kept unchecked. For that reason, unmarked checklist cards can be valuable.

A 1957 Topps basketball set was completed and placed into a binder. When looking at the order of each card, you can see on the image in slide three below that Bob Cousey, Tom Heinsohn, and Bill Russell are the first three cards placed in the pages. Bill Russell is card #77 in the set. I wondered why Bill placed the Russell in spot three and not in spot one or 77. Turns out that Cousey and Heinsohn went to the same college as our Sirius DJ - Holy Cross. Bill felt a connection to Cousey and Heinsohn so Russell was bumped to spot three! We don't often have the opportunity to purchase a complete 1957 Topps basketball set. There were zero major basketball card sets released after the 1948 Bowman set until this 1957 Topps release. Almost a decade without a card product hitting the shelves; this is unheard of in today's market. The entire set contains just 80 cards and 20 of the players in the set are Hall of Famers. 

In 1960, Bill put together the Fleer set. Each of the 79 cards in the complete set commemorates a Hall of Famer or pastime hero of baseball. You can find legends such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in this set. While the cards do not feature the legends in their playing days, the set is still beautiful, colorful image of each player. The image in slide four has the Babe Ruth card on the bottom right. Ruth looks like he just took a swing; maybe connecting for one of his 714 career home runs in the picture. There are a few 1961 Fleer baseball cards in the collection. Why only a few cards from 1961 when the 1960 set was complete? Bill knew only a few players in the 1961 release were not included in the 1960 release, so he only collected those few players - I love Bill's thinking.

The next complete set is more modern. A full set of 1986-87 Fleer basketball featuring a Michael Jordan rookie card was collected and completed by Bill in 1987. As an avid sports fan, Bill thought Michael Jordan was going to be really good. Great guess, Bill! Michael Jordan became one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. The 1986-87 Fleer set in slide 7 and the Jordan rookie cards in slide 8 are all pack-fresh; Bill remembers pulling each card from the pack and placing each into the pages. 

The condition of the 1986-87 Fleer set is much better than the complete sets of the 1957 Topps baseball cards, the 1957 Topps basketball cards, and the 1960 Fleer set. When you view the vintage sets, you can see the cards are in what I refer to as "collector grade." These vintage cards have rounded corners, creases, and general wear and tear from a collector playing with cards. Perhaps Bill played games of FLIP or put a few cards in his bike spokes so his bicycle sounded cooler. Condition is VERY important when evaluating the value of a card. The condition grade could change the value by thousands of dollars. A card in gem mint condition is flawless, and is hard to come by even when pulled fresh from a pack and stored safely. Even though the vintage cards are in low-grade condition, these complete sets are still valuable. We hope to the Michael Jordan rookie cards and a few of the other pack-fresh 1986-87 Fleer cards to PSA, a professional grading company, and hope for the Gem Mint grade of 10 with their grading scale of 1 to 10. To help you understand the rarity and value of a Gem Mint 10, there are currently about 25,000 Michael Jordan rookie cards that have ben graded by PSA. Of the 25,000, only 322 were graded a perfect 10. There are 2,952 Jordan rookies that have been graded a 9. The value of a 9 is around $16,000, and the value of a10 is around $160,000 - an extra zero on the value.

Along with the complete sets above, Bill had other vintage cards in his collection. In slides 5 and 6 are 1957 Topps football cards. Like their baseball release, Topps created the football set in the "standard size" in 1957. The cards feature a portrait and an action pose side by side. In this set are rookie cards of Bart Starr, Johnny Unitas, and Paul Hornung. Starr and Hornung led the Packers to a victory in Super Bowl I, and Unitas followed with a victory in Super Bowl V. This trio of Hall of Famers combined for five MVP awards. Many cards from the 1952 Topps baseball set are in the collection. While there is no Mickey Mantle rookie card in the 1952 Topps cards Bill brought in to Just Collect, there is another Mantle card in the 1958 Topps baseball cards in the collection. While the sets are not complete, vintage Topps cards from the 1950's are desirable, especially from the inaugural 1952 release. Did you know that many of the "high number" cards from the 1952 Topps baseball set were thrown into the ocean? Topps released their cards in six different series. For example, Series 1 has cards numbered 1-80. During the baseball season, Topps would release the next series of cards until all 407 cards were released. The idea was to keep kids purchasing their cards all year and not completing the set in the beginning of the season then never buying another pack of cards. Unfortunately for Topps, by the Fall, kids were more interested in football, and the sixth series baseball cards sat on shelves. Eventually Topps dumped the cards into the Ocean! In the sixth series is - you guessed it - Mickey Mantle's rookie card at number 311. We are always buying 1952 Topps baseball complete sets and Mickey Mantle rookie cards. Our most recent Mickey Mantle rookie card purchase is from a collector in Tampa that you can read about here. Just Collect purchased a complete 1952 Topps baseball set among many other vintage sets that you can see in our Black Box Collection.









Bill chose to bring his cards to the Just Collect store. I provided a FREE appraisal, carefully reviewing the collection. Your local card shop is generally not well equipped to appraise or purchase vintage cards or collections like this. The retail stores are focused on selling modern products and simply don't have the time or the knowledge to carefully evaluate vintage collections. This is where I am happy to help you! If you're unable to come to the Just Collect store, I can arrange to travel to you, meet at a convention, or have you ship your collection. My name is Leighton, owner of Just Collect, and professional sports card treasure hunter! If you're interested in selling your collection, reach out directly to Leighton@JustCollect.com. 

After making an offer to Bill that he accepted, I wanted to give him a piece of the collection back! The very first issue of Sports Illustrated was released on August 16h, 1954. Bill's father gave him the magazine and this copy with the cards still inside, stayed with Bill all of these years. I happily gave the issue back to Bill for a keepsake.

When you choose to sell your collection to Just Collect, I'll pay you how you want to be paid. Whether you'd prefer to be paid in cash, company check, or wire transfer, I'm ready to make a deal. I thought about offering Bill my DJ services and fill-in on his Sirius radio show for a day, but he opted for cash; DJ L-Train will be put on hold for another day.


Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we 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.

We always offer a FREE APPRAISAL for your collection here at the Just Collect site. Just click here:


We offer may ways to evaluate your cards other than or using our website, too.

  • Travel to Us

If you can make the trip here like the son from my hometown did for this collection- we can make a deal at the office. We once met a father-son duo that drove eight hours from Virginia to meet us to sell a Michael Jordan rookie card stored in Tupperware since 1986 - great read here

  • Come to convention

We keep a LIST of card shows we'll be attending.  Come stop by the Just Collect table and chat.

  • Meet in-person

If you have a valuable collection and want us to come to you, we'll hop on the next plane out.

  • Meet in New York City

We have another location in New York you can meet us at; read all the information here.

  • SHIP your collection 

If you choose to mail your cards for an appraisal, we will evaluate your cards for FREE still. If you choose not to sell the cards, we'll ship them back shipping fees paid by us!  We can offer our FedEx account with 2-day shipping, fully insured, all covered by us. Simply contact the office to set up this option.


We'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, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, we 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, we're not happy.


Whether you have vintage cards or modern wax you want to sell, you can reach out to us any time! 


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