The 1960s saw the end of the classic era of Yankees dynasties. It had lasted from the mid-1920s to 1964. And it is, therefore, the object of a great deal of nostalgia for fans of the Bronx Bombers. You will find some of baseball's most prominent names among the most expensive New York Yankees cards from the 1960s. So, while the 1960s cards aren't as high-value as their 1950s equivalents, they contain some absolute gems. None of the biggest rookie cards of the decade are Yankees cards. Even the Mets have bigger ones in this decade! And the lower price is also an advantage. You don't have to mortgage your house to get a Mickey Mantle card from 1963, and it's still an incredible piece of baseball history.
We also love the designs of the 1960s cards. They are far more campy and fun than the high-concept art of the previous decade but still maintain more class than those of the 1970s. Between the big names and excellent design choices: the 1960s were a wonderful time for Yankees cards. So let's look at the cards commemorating the final years of the greatest dynasty the spot has ever known. And, spoiler alert: I hope you like Mickey Mantle because there is a lot of him coming.
1967 Topps Stan Bahnsen Rookie Card #93
A PSA 9 sold for $213
Stan Bahnsen had one of the best rookie seasons of any Yankee ever. How good was he? Bahnsen went 17-12 with a 2.05 ERA in 1967. He became the second Yankee ever to receive AL Rookie of the Year to that point. No Yankee has started more than his 34 games in their rookie year since. Though he did not quite live up to that startlingly good rookie year, Bahnsen went on to a fine career. But most of it was spent away from the Bronx. The 1967 Topps Stan Bahnsen Rookie Card #93 card epitomizes the top-rated "double rookie" format and reminds us of one of the Yanks' only truly great rookies in this decade.
1962 Topps Tom Tresh #31
A PSA 9 sold for $316
Tom Tresh was the other Yankee with a great rookie season in the 60s. The switch hitter could play multiple positions and looked like he was on his way to a remarkable career. In 1962, Tom won Rookie of the Year after driving in 97 runs and hitting 20 home runs. He even slugged the winner in game 5 of the 1962 World Series. However, after a few solid years, Tresh's abilities began to decline, and he was traded to the White Sox in 1969. The beautiful 1962 Topps Tom Tresh #31 card, the peeling-off effect, and the rookie star in the corner are a sad reminder of unfulfilled potential.
1961 Topps Phil Rizzuto #471
A PSA 9 sold for $1,826
Phil Rizzuto was a very highly-rated shortstop in his day and the 1950 American League MVP award winner. In 1994, he was selected for the Hall of Fame. However, current stats have not been particularly kind to his legacy. After all, he didn't walk much and had no power. Still, his top-notch fielding and leadership contributed mightily to the 7 World Series championships the Yankees took in the Rizzuto era. Though the shortstop retired in 1956, these throwback inserts celebrating his MVP win are coveted.
1960 Topps Whitey Ford #35
A PSA 9 sold for $2,375
Whitey Ford was the ace who made the all-conquering Yankees team of the 1950s possible. The ten-time All-Star and 1961 Cy Young winner was a Yankees symbol. Whitey was also a New Yorker, born in Manhattan and raised in Queens. Like all the cards in the 1960 Topps Baseball Cards set, the 1960 Topps Whitey Ford #35 is a raving beauty. The double photo and the lettering perfectly represent America in the JFK era.
1964 Topps A.L Bombers #331
A PSA 9 sold for $3,638
While not the most expensive, the 1964 Topps A.L Bombers #331 card is one of the coolest on this list. It shows the four leading power hitters of 1964 at the All-Star game. Some of the best 60s cards are from those All-Star games, showcasing the biggest legends rubbing elbows. And they always seem at their happiest among their own kind. Two of the sluggers pictured, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris are Yankees. They have joined Tigers power hitters Norm Cash and Hall-of-Famer Al Kaline. Between them, these guys had 1,587 Major League home runs.
1961 Topps Roger Maris #2
A PSA 9 sold for $8,495
A card with an incredible amount of historical importance. In 1961 Roger Maris broke the all-time home run per season record. He hit 61 in 1961, which is ingrained in baseball fans' minds forever. Therefore, the 1961 Topps Roger Maris #2 is a crucial addition to the collection of any serious Yankees fan. And just look at Roger's grimly determined face. He knew history was waiting. Meanwhile, the campy 1961 Topps Baseball Card design makes the card even more irresistible.
1962 Topps Yogi Berra #360
A PSA 9 sold for $10,485
Mickey may be the most famous Yankee of the era, but Yogi Berra has him beat for cultural importance. The cartoon character Yogi Bear was clearly named after him. And Berra's famous sayings have earned the phrase "Yogi-isms." My personal favorite is, "You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours." And, of course, Berra is one of the greatest catchers who ever lived. The 1962 Topps Yogi Berra #360 card is particularly important since it's his last as a player.
1960 Topps Roger Maris #377
A PSA 10 sold for $11,881
Roger's card from the year before he made baseball history. By all accounts, Maris was a wonderful guy. But in his pictures, the slugger always looks like he is about to beat you up and take your lunch money. The 1960 Topps Roger Maris #377 is no exception. The player looks like he graduated as the high school bully and joined the US Marines. The design is iconic, and the cheesy 1960s aesthetic is in full glorious display. A beauty of a card with super low population numbers. The PSA 10 is, as you can see, very high for a non-Hall-of-Famer. That is because there are only 2 gems in the entire universe. Both are in the Milky Way if you were wondering.
1966 Topps Mickey Mantle #50
A PSA 9 sold for $23,500
Did I mention that Mickey Mantle would be on this list? He dominates Yankees baseball cards in the 60s and the most valuable baseball card charts for decades. The 1966 Topps Mickey Mantle #50 is the most valuable card in the whole set. That is an impressive feat for a veteran with 16 years in the league. It is also a testament to the poor crop of rookies in the league that year. But as we will see, veteran Mantle cards beat out even illustrious rookies in terms of value. The man is an American icon.
1961 Topps Mickey Mantle #300
A PSA 9 sold for $39,352
1961 is a late year in Mantle's career. However, it is one of his best remembered. That was the year he went toe-to-toe with teammate Roger Maris in pursuit of Babe Ruth's all-time home run record of 60. He lost out and only got 54. But what people don't remember is that it was perhaps the most productive season of an illustrious career. Mickey drove in 128 runs and hit .317. Modern sabermetrics heads, not that because he also walked a league-leading 122 times; his .486 on-base percentage was among the highest in modern baseball history. So, the 1961 Topps Mickey Mantle #300 commemorates something special. We also love the veteran determination on his chiseled face in this one. If you can find one of the two PSA 10s of this, you are in for a significant payday.
1960 Topps Mickey Mantle All-Star #563
A PSA 10 sold for $61,200
There weren't a lot of inserts in early 1960s Topps releases. So, unlike today where there is a plethora of inserts for each star, there are only a handful of Mantle's. Therefore, the 1960 Topps Mickey Mantle All-Star #563 is a desirable and worthwhile card. The design is unremarkable and manages to obscure the photogenic and beloved Mantle's remarkable visage. It looks like a school project cardboard cutout. Still, the meager pop count also helps keep the value up. There are only 4 PSA 10s and 74 PSA 9s out there. So a good grade on this one goes a LONG way.
1960 Topps Mickey Mantle #350
A PSA 9 sold for $64,102
Mickey had lost that boyish sheen from those priceless early cards by 1960. Today we know he was dealing with some darkness. Chronic pain due to knee ailments was taking its toll. He had to wrap his knees in bandages, and swinging a bat caused him incredible pain. "The Mick" was also developing chronic alcoholism. But Mantle played through these issues like a champ and put together some of the best numbers in baseball history.
The best testament to the collecting power of Mantle is that the 1960 Topps Mickey Mantle #350 is the most valuable card in the set. When you consider that he was almost a decade into an MLB career and that 1960 Topps included a Carl Yastrzemski and Willie McCovey rookie, that is an incredible fact.
1963 Topps #537 Pedro Gonzalez Rookie Card (More commonly known as the Pete Rose Rookie Card
A PSA 10 sold for $717,000
Yes, we know. This card isn't ridiculously expensive because of anything to do with the Yankees. On the contrary, this is the only genuine Pete Rose rookie card, and as one of his generation's best (and most infamous) players, it is worth a ton. But nonetheless, the 1963 Topps #537 card is technically a Yankees card and, therefore, the second most expensive 1960s card for the team ever sold.
We all know Pete Rose and his story. But today, we care about New York Yankees rookie Pedro Gonzalez. The second baseman earned the racially questionable nickname "Speedy Gonzalez," named after the since-canceled Warner Brothers cartoon character. His career was unspectacular, as his .244 batting average will attest. Unfortunately, Pedro didn't last long in pinstripes and was traded to the Indians in 1965. Two years later, he was out of the game altogether. But he has been immortalized in that classic and expensive card.
1969 Topps Mickey Mantle #500 (White Letters)
A PSA 10 sold for $933,483
What a way to end the decade. 1969 would be the last time Mickey Mantle had a regular base card for Topps. That is an essential milestone since, let's face it, Mickey's cards were the cornerstone of that company's existence. The card shows the iconic centerfielder posing with the bat. We now know that just holding that hunk of wood caused him great pain at this point in Mantle's career. So, the card is a testament to his triumph over adversity, as Mantle put off some of the best numbers in baseball history. Today it is widely understood that Mickey would have been the best offensive player if he had been healthier.
The 1969 Topps Mickey Mantle #500 (White Letters) is the rarest version of the card. The more common variety has his last name in yellow letters. There is only one PSA 10 in existence and a mere 4 PSA 9s for an overall population of 1,152 cards. Compare that to 8,480 for the standard variety, and you can see why this historic card sold for so much.
Final Word On The Most expensive New York Yankees Cards From The 1960s
The 1960s were the equivalent of the waning days of the Roman Empire for the Yanks. The old emperors were still around, and their cards were worth a ton. But a couple of exciting rookies the team brought up could not sustain quality in the long term. So it is no wonder the team needed a total rebuild by the end of the decade. But those early 60s cards are gorgeous and allow a more affordable entry point into Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Mickey Mantle.