How The Metropolitan Museum Of Art Convinced Me To Buy My First 1953 Bowman Card

I’d never been much of a collector of 1950’s cards for much of my life. I could probably write an entire post just on that alone, but it gets summarized down to there being very little overlap between my collecting targets (teams, players, etc.) and the early-to-mid 1950’s.  My interest in these cards has increased somewhat over the past 5 years or so, but there’s still not a lot of specific cards on my wantlists.


OK, so I’m sure many of you are familiar with Jefferson Burdick… He was one of the pioneers of the hobby and later in his life he donated his enormous card collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The Met has scanned many of the cards in the Burdick Collection and have put the images on their website.

A few months ago during my lunch hour at work, I spent some time poking through the images and, for the heck of it, saving a number of images to my laptop for use in my wallpaper slideshow that’s always going on in the background. As these cards would appear on my laptop, I slowly came to realize how nice of a set 1953 Bowman Color is… and while the 1953 Bowman Pee Wee Reese is in a class by itself, most of the card images which lured me in were common cards which featured some fantastic photography… as well as fantastic fake action poses, fantastic uniforms and fantastic ballparks.  In this way I came to realize that 1953 Bowman had an appeal to me which had nothing to do with the players depicted and everything to do with the set providing a snapshot of baseball in the early 1950’s.

When I was getting ready for the card show I went to this past summer, I decided to look for some of the eye-catching commons from that set. Being the first time looking for these cards, I thought I’d limit my purchases to cards which were $2 and under. This turned out to be largely unrealistic, but I did find one card which met my financial goals:

For my purposes, this is the perfect vintage card: this card is in good condition save for the handwritten player name. The writing doesn’t interfere with the photo, but bumps the condition way down so that it falls within my collecting budget.  To be honest, if I had been a kid in 1953, I could see myself writing the player name on the front.  The one complaint I’ve always had about 1953 Bowman set (and the TCMA/SSPC sets inspired by it) is that you have to flip the card over to see who you’re looking at.

Speaking of flipping the card over…

Steve “Bud” Souchock played 8 years in the Majors, mostly with the Tigers.  Bud also earned a Bronze Star while serving three years in the military during World War II.

1953 Bowman will never be anything resembling a top priority for me, but I look forward to adding a number of commons to my collection while becoming more familiar with guys like Hoot Evers, Mickey Grasso and Gerry Staley.


5 thoughts on “How The Metropolitan Museum Of Art Convinced Me To Buy My First 1953 Bowman Card

  1. The Burdick is a dangerous place to be inspired by. Though I’ve also been eyeing some 53 Bowmans because of photography reasons. I still have none.

  2. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this… but the first thing I thought of when I saw that Souchock was TCMA (and not 1953 Bowman). I don’t have any 1953 Bowmans in my collection, but I do have a handful of 1979 TCMA cards I recently won in a contest.

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