1958 was an exciting year in America. President Eisenhower signed legislation that created NASA. The microchip was invented. Nelson Rockefeller was elected Governor of New York. The Hula Hoop was first brought to market, and Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers sat atop the billboard charts.
In the pro football world, there was a lot of excitement as well. The Detroit Lions had defeated the Cleveland Browns in the 1957 NFL Championship game. But Cleveland's star rookie, Jim Brown, won the MVP --- and showed flashes of pure greatness.
Football's popularity was beginning to really take off. It was now rivaling baseball as the official game of the people. Support continued to swell leading up to the 1958 NFL Championship Game. That instant classic between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts would later become known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played."
For those and other reasons, cards from this era remain highly desirable and collectable.
The 1958 Topps Football card set's major claim to fame is the rookie card of the legendary Jim Brown (#62). The only other significant rookie in the set belongs to Sonny Jurgenson (#90). Other players making their debut include Gene Filipski (#1), Milt Plum (#5), Jon Arnett (#20) and Willie Galimore (#114). A number of Hall of Fame players anchor the set, such as Bobby Layne (#2), Bart Starr (#66) and Johnny Unitas (#22). The checklist contains 132 standard-sized trading cards, measuring 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches. Some new design elements are incorporated into the set and a few things were restored after being left out in 1957 Topps Football.
1958 Topps Football offers a distinctive design. For the first time since taking over the professional football monopoly from Bowman, Topps included a natural background behind players. They are shown inside an oval-shaped picture. It gives the illusion that the collector is "taking a peek behind the curtain," so to speak. A solid color runs around the oval, which was dependent on the player's team (however, there were some exceptions, due to trades and other factors). In the case of a white background, a black box was placed at the bottom. The player's name, position and team appeared below the photo in a color scheme that was also dependent upon the team.
The card backs feature a bisected design similar to the 1957 format. The left side begins with a card number inside a circle, with the player's name beside it. Underneath is the player's position and team, with a couple lines of vital statistics. A short biography follows, with some players also getting a year/life stat box added at the bottom. The right side has a trivia question that has been designed to be scratched off with the edge of a coin to find the answer. Of course, cards that have not been subjected to the scratching are worth more than those that were.
After a one-year hiatus, team cards return to Topps football. Each of the team photographs is set inside an oval frame like the rest of the cards in the set, but unlike the 1956 team cards, the players are not named due to space constraints. Additionally, there is a send-in wrapper redemption offer for felt initials. The card is unnumbered and is required to make a complete set, but it is often collected. Unlike the 1957 Set, there is not a checklist card.
While Jim Brown is the key rookie card, the set does not suffer from the absence of other stars. In addition to the rookie card of arguably the greatest running back ever, Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen appears on his first card. Several second year cards of football immortals also appear in this set, highlighted by legendary quarterbacks Johnny Unitas and Bart Starr, appearing on their sophomore releases. Others players making their second appearance include Hall of Famers Ray Berry and Tommy McDonald.
The 1958 Topps Set offers some great value as Hall of Famers are sprinkled throughout the issue. Aside from those already mentioned, HOF collectors can also find the following Canton inductees: Bobby Layne, Joe Schmidt, Lenny Moore, Andy Robustelli, Gino Marchetti, Yale Lary, Chuck Bednarik, Dick Stanfel, Emlen Tunnell, Lou Groza, Mike McCormack, Jack Christiansen, John H. Johnson, Jack Butler, Lou Creekmur, Y.A. Tittle, Leo Nomellini, Joe Perry, Rosevelt Brown, Jim Ringo, Les Richter, Art Donovan, Bill George, Hugh, McElhenny and George Blanda.
Printing and Distribution
1958 Topps Football was released in a single series. As a result, all of the cards were printed in equal numbers. There are no short prints.
Here's a look at a sealed box of 1958 Topps Football cards.
Here's a PSA-graded 1958 Topps Football cello pack. Watch us open one on the Vintage Breaks YouTube channel.
As of January 1, 2019, more than 32,900 1958 Topps cards had been graded by PSA based upon their Population Report. Of these cards, only 6 have garnered the PSA 10 GEM MINT with Bart Starr being the most notable. Only 5 Jim Brown cards have even managed a PSA 9 MINT grade out of the more than 3300 Brown rookies that PSA has graded.
The cards feature white borders, but the stock is a bit soft and is susceptible to wear. Additionally, the release is plagued with printing issues including bad focus and registration as well as fish-eyes (print defects that look like small, usually white circles). The reddish-orange stock on the reverse show even the slightest wear and chipping along the edges.
1958 Topps Football Cards Featured Collection: The Trash to Cash Realtor Find
Contact Just Collect
We are always looking to purchase 1958 Topps Football cards and sets. Our card experts are willing and able to help you with any sports card questions you might have (general or detailed and specific).
So if and when you finally decide it's time to sell your cards, give us a call. Thanks for reading.
Some of our other favorite football card sets:
Return to See More Just Collect Sets