The 1972 Topps baseball card set is considered by many collectors to be one of the most iconic issues in the history of the hobby. Not only did it feature all active Major League players at the time on their cards for the first time, but it also ushered in both taller size cards and team name banners across the top. This was the start of the “modern era” of baseball cards that set the standard template for designs up through the 1980s.

Given its historical significance and classic look, 1972 Topps cards remain extremely popular with collectors and have grown steadily in value over the decades. With an original issue size of 660 cards, finding high grade examples in near-mint to gem mint condition can be quite challenging. This is where the PSA Set Registry comes into play as the most trusted 3rd party grading service for vintage sports cards.


PSA utilizes a 1-10 point numerical grading scale to assess the condition and eye appeal of each individual card they examine. Attributes considered include centering, corners, edges and surface quality/shine with 10 being flawless mint and 4 or below usually considered damaged goods. They then slab the approved cards in hard plastic holders that both protects and authenticates the grade. This brings consistency, transparency and liquidity to the vintage sports card market.

Let’s look at some key PSA population report statistics and estimated values for some of the top stars and most coveted 1972 Topps cards to gauge their relative scarcity and demand:

Nolan Ryan (card #250): In PSA 9 mint condition there are only 183 of these graded. PSA 10s number just 9 copies. Average sales prices for PSA 9s hover around $650 while PSA 10s typically bring $2,500+.

Hank Aaron (card #1): Only 159 PSA 9s and 6 gem mint PSA 10s exist. PSA 9 values are $375 on average with 10s selling for $1,500-2,000.


Willie Mays (card #14): Only 144 PSA 9s reported while PSA 10 population is 4 copies. PSA 9s command $320 average and 10s over $1,750.

Johnny Bench (card #250): 144 PSA 9s and 6 PSA 10s account for all high grade examples. PSA 9 value around $300 and 10s sell $1,200-1,500.

Roberto Clemente (card #42): 144 PSA 9s extant with just 3 PSA 10s. PSA 9 price tag $275 on average, 10s over $1,000.

Rod Carew (card #258): 168 PSA 9s and 11 PSA 10s total. PSA 9 value $225 mean, 10s around $800-900.

For less elite stars but still iconic players, PSA 9 prices range $75-150 usually. Finding true gem mint PSA 10 examples of almost anyone is an extreme rarity, often commanding four figures or more. Rookie cards in top grades tend to demand the highest premiums of course.

When considering condition, certain cards also seem to “grade better” than others for whatever reasons. For example, Nolan Ryan and Rod Carew cards tend to achieve higher average grades comparatively speaking. Conversely, cards like George Scott (#648) and Ed Kirkpatrick (#494) appear more often in lower grades.


Centering issues plague many vintage cards and significantly impact grading. Other common flaws include creasing, corner/edge wear, surface scratches and off-centered printing that all detract from condition. But when a 1972 Topps card looks impossibly clean, bright and well-centered, it’s usually prized accordingly.

It’s not hard to see why 1972 Topps baseball cards remain such a cornerstone set for collectors decades later. Their iconic tall boy design paired with key players and stars will always drive interest. Now encased in the protective holders of PSA, these vintage cardboard treasures can retain their condition and provenance for future generations. Their steadily escalating values as tracked through PSA population reports underscore this seminal issue’s staying power.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *