Spectacular 1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente Autographed Rookie Card - PSA 3 VG Card Grade; PSA 8 NM-MT AUTO Grade – SOLE PSA 3 (POP 1); Only 2 PSA Examples Graded Higher (Only 11 Total Signed 1955 Clemente's!)
"When I put on my uniform, I feel I am the proudest man on earth"- Roberto Clemente. Such was the motto of the immortal Roberto Clemente who gave his all every time he stepped onto a baseball diamond. Who could have possibly realized that when the great Roberto Clemente roped Jon Matlack's pitch into left-centerfield for his 3,000th hit on September 3, 1972, it would be the final regular-season hit of his spectacular career. After the 1972 playoffs, Clemente would never again step on a baseball diamond, for in one of baseball's saddest events, the great right-fielder would tragically die in a plane crash on December 31, 1972 at the tender age of 38, flying to Nicaragua to assist earthquake victims. Soon thereafter, Clemente would immediately be placed in baseball's Hall of Fame, becoming the first Latin American/Caribbean player to receive that distinguished honor. Clemente's hallowed stature all began in 1955 when he broke into the Major Leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the star right-fielder would play his entire 18-year career in the "Steel City".
Roberto Clemente's legendary status amongst the Hispanic baseball community is synonymous with the magnitude of Jackie Robinson's legacy to all African-Americans. Clemente's accomplishments include a .317 lifetime batting average, 3,000 career hits, the 1966 regular season MVP award, four batting titles, 12 consecutive gold glove awards, and if that isn't enough, in 1971 he won the World Series MVP when he dominated the Baltimore Orioles via his stellar hitting and fielding prowess. Yet, as is the case with the immortal Lou Gehrig, he will always be best remembered for his aforementioned tragic death with his legacy far surpassing most post-WWII Cooperstown inductees. Along with the exalted 1951 Bowman Mantle & Mays issues, no post-1950s rookie card is more valuable than the highly coveted 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente Rookie card, presented here with a breathtaking PSA 8 blue ink signature and extremely rare PSA 3 card assessment. One of only 11 PSA autographed copies, this PSA 3 is the sole specimen at this eye pleasing plateau, with only two examples reflecting a higher card assessment (PSA 3.5 & PSA 4). It is no secret that extremely high-end rookie cards continue to achieve staggering values, with one "Mint 9" Clemente actually fetching an extraordinary $1.1 million earlier this spring. A signed Clemente rookie card is just as scarce as any un-scripted PSA 9 example, and the $125K record-breaking price tag for a scripted Clemente 1955 Topps subject in 2021 is a clear sign of the utmost attention now being applied to esteemed autographed rookie cards.
Interestingly enough, at the time this was written, the PSA population for a "9 Mint" graded subject and autographed example was exactly the same, with both reflecting 11 PSA encapsulated specimens. That said, it is clearly obvious that the value of a signed Clemente rookie ($125K) is immensely undervalued versus a "9 MINT" subject ($1.1 million), with the nearly 90% disparity a vast disproportion we highly expect to diminish over time. Indeed, no end is seemingly in sight for the recent pricing escalation of signed rookie cards, with the 1955 Clemente subject paving the way as one of the hobby's foremost inaugural issues. Regarding its superb condition, a glistening surface includes the legendary portrait and batting poses that both exhibit crystal clear clarity and sparkling hues. Additional highlights include the somewhat right-angled corners reflecting "EX" aesthetics and a super eye pleasing uniformity, the bright white borders, and the lack of any obtrusive surface flaws. Of course, it is the neatly scripted blue ballpoint "Roberto Clemente" "8" signature situated to the right of his left ear that "steals the show", defying 67 years of potential wear. Autograph enthusiasts are well aware of the fact that most pre-1960 Clemente signed cards reflect extremely light scripts; however, this Cooperstown worthy offering truly resides as one of the finest autographed Clemente rookies on the planet. Its ultra-rare "3" assessment and super eye pleasing "8" signature combine to form a powerful "one-two" punch, a bona fide dynamic duo that should certainly assist in reducing the value gap between a PSA 9 MINT '55 Clemente and this momentous signed offering!
MIN BID $25,000