1955 was the rookie year of two baseball stars, Roberto Clemente and Sandy Koufax. Clemente had just been hired by the Pittsburgh Pirates when he was honored with the Topps 1955-164 card. The Pirates were only the fifth team to break the barrier of color in the National League and the arrival of Clemente, Black and Puerto Rican, was likely to be contested.
The Topps 1955-164 card is extremely rare in very good condition because many copies are not well centered. Only one of them is graded Gem Mint 10 by PSA, meaning a perfect condition in every respect. It was sold for $ 430K including premium by SCP Auctions on May 20, 2012.
A card graded Mint 9 by PSA was sold for $ 310K including premium by Heritage on July 30, 2015. Another unit in the same grade will be sold by Heritage on February 20 in New York, lot 80113.
Roberto Clemente never reached the age of retiring from baseball. He was a hero to such a point that his friends asked for his canonization to Pope Francis.
He devoted his off-seasons to charity. In December 1972 he participated in sending emergency relief after the Managua earthquake. Fearing that his act was diverted by the Nicaraguan dictatorship, he accompanied the delivery. His plane, possibly too much loaded, disappeared at sea and his body was never found.
SOLD for $ 480K including premium