Roberto Clemente had a big following among North American baseball fans. For most Puerto Ricans, he was a legend and an idol. The lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates player is honored throughout the island. In fact, the stadium in Puerto Rico is named after him.
Clemente was a hero, both on and off the field. His tragic death on a mission of mercy to Nicaraguan earthquake victims on December 31, 1972 shook baseball--and the legions of Clemente fans.
Collectability of Clemente
An entire generation of Latin American players that came after this icon cite him as one of the reasons why they aspired to earning a spot in the big leagues. Roberto Clemente baseball cards and autographs like religious artifacts in the Latin community, but popular with all collectors and investors because of the man himself--and his place as one of the all-time greats.
Clemente's rookie card is the 1955 Topps and it remains his most valuable card. The only PSA 10 (gem mint) copy sold at auction in 2012 for over $400,000. It belonged to former big leaguer Dmitri Young. In February 2016, a PSA 9 (mint) Clemente rookie sold for a record price of 4478,000. Most Clemente rookies can be had for much, much less.
The majority of Clemente’s cards were issued during the second decade of the post-war era. All of his cards are highly sought after but the highest available graded copies represent the best investment opportunities. Rare, high grade regional cards are also good choices. Stick to graded cards if you are investing more than $100.
The increased availability of Clemente’s cards as interest in vintage cards grows is countered by the steadily rising investment demand from the Latin American community in the US and abroad. Buying graded examples from PSA or perhaps SGC or Beckett remains the best move for any investor.
Clemente autographs stand to gain the most in value over the next ten years, relative to his cards. Even though Clemente was an autograph fan favorite, his death dramatically curtailed supply, relative to other Hall of Fame inductees from that era.
Because of his untimely death, there is a small supply of Roberto Clemente autographed memorabilia. A simple, cut signature that has been authenticated will sell for $1,000. Boldly signed bats and baseballs will cost significantly more.
Clemente baseball cards
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1955 Topps #164 – The front of Clemente's rookie card features two images of the player; one an action shot and the other a portrait. Demand is very strong for cards in any grade. Lower grade Clemente rookie cards can still be purchased for under $1,500. The best strategy is to gather the cash needed to buy the best you can afford. They'll be easier to re-sell down the road. Look for a well-centered example with great eye-appeal, regardless of the technical grade.
1956 Topps #33 - When prices for rookie cards soar, collectors often move to the next best thing: a player's second card. In Clemente's case, the 1956 Topps is much like the '55 rookie card. In fact, many believe it's as better looking card, with the background image of a leap at the fence. It's also more affordable.
1957 Topps #76 – This card features an excellent photo of Clemente. Surprisingly, this year is still affordable, even at higher grades. The 1957 Topps set is very popular with collectors. It's also the first year Topps produced cards in the now standard size. A nice looking near mint example can be had for around $1,000.
1958 Topps #52 – The '58 Clemente comes in two versions; one with the team name in white and the other in the much more rare form of yellow. High grade yellow team letter Clemente cards can sell for $1500 and up; the white letter much less.
1959 Topps #478 – This card also displays a portrait of the player, like the 1957. The card appears to be underpriced, relative to comparable players in the set. A PSA 8.5 sold for $585 vs. a Hank Aaron selling for over 50% more from the same set and in the same grade.
1960 Topps #326--Bill Mazeroski's home run gave the Pirates a dramatic World Series upset of the Yankees in 1960 and this card from that memorable year is a favorite. Print dots are common to the 1960 issue so any high grade card is very desirable.
1963 Topps #540 Bob Roberto Clemente ** PSA VG+ 3.5 ** Pirates old baseball card
Time Remaining: 2h 19m
Buy It Now for only: $73.00
1956 Topps #33 Roberto Clemente PSA 1.5 (White Back)
Time Remaining: 6h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $104.99
1973 Topps #50 Roberto Clemente PSA 5.5
$9.68 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 8h 51m
1969 TOPPS DECKLE EDGE #27 ROBERTO CLEMENTE PSA-5 EXCELLENT
Time Remaining: 10h 56m
2016 Topps Archives 228 Roberto Clemente PSA 10 Gem Mint
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1967 Topps Test Pirates Stickers #6 Roberto Clemente SGC 96 MINT
Time Remaining: 18h 34m
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1969 MLB Photostamps Roberto Clemente PSA 9 MINT "UNDERGRADED"
Time Remaining: 1d 3h 15m
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1971 TOPPS BASEBALL #630 ROBERTO CLEMENTE!! PSA 7!!
Time Remaining: 1d 3h 39m
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1961 Topps 388 Roberto Clemente PSA 8 (1913)
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1964 Wheaties Stamps Roberto Clemente PSA/DNA Certified Authentic Signed *6289
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1968 Topps #150 Roberto Clemente PSA 8.5 NM-MT+ Hall of Fame Pirates
Time Remaining: 1d 5h 41m
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1961 TOPPS Baseball #388 ROBERTO CLEMENTE PSA 7 NRMT
Time Remaining: 1d 6h 9m
Buy It Now for only: $135.00