Collecting Baseball Cards: 1948 Bowman Baseball Card Set

For the baseball card industry, 1948 is considered the start of the modern or post-war era of baseball card collecting. The Bowman Gum Company of Philadelphia, Pa., premiered a set of 48 baseball cards via packs sold with bubble gum. The 1948 Bowman set was issued as a black & white set and the size of the cards are smaller then the standard sized cards issued today, they measure 2-1/16 inches x 2-1/2 inches in size. The backs of the cards are printed in black ink on a gray stock and include the card number, players name, team position and a short biography.

Even though this is a small set in number, being it is the one of the first issued in 1948 it does include many rookie cards of various Hall of Fame players such as Stan Musial, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Warren Spahn, Ralph Kiner, Red Schoendienst and Bobby Thomson. As a first set issued in the post war era, unlike many other firsts in the hobby, this is not a very popular set among collectors. I think the popularity of the set is lacking only because of the short span of time the Bowman Company produced baseball cards, which went from 1948-1955 before Bowman was bought out by the Topps Company (Topps issued its first set in 1951). Collectors still have great interest in the main cards and top rookie cards in the set, but set collectors are far less on this set compared to others.

Bowman 1948 Stan Musial Card

Stan Musial rookie card from the 1948 Bowman set, in excellent to near mint condition, have sold as high as $700.  A Musial card in mint condition can sell for thousands of dollars to the right collector.

Cards from this set range in value. Cards in excellent to near mint condition that feature common players generally sell between $25 to $40 per card, but the top rookies in the same condition can bring as much as $700. A Stan Musial or Yogi Berra in excellent to near mint condition have sold as high as $700, while players like Warren Spahn, and Bob Feller generally bring about $300 to $400 in the same condition. Like all collectibles, if a Musial card is in mint condition, it can sell for thousands of dollars to the right collector.

This set, for the most, part depicts snapshots of players from the waist up or close-up type photos. And, as mentioned above, all are black & white. It seems the company selected what it felt were a couple top players from each team for this set, as there were at least 10 times the that number of players in professional baseball at that time. My thought is they wanted to experiment with the concept of issuing baseball cards in individual packs with bubble gum and see if there was a market for this with the kids of the time.

Bowman 1948 Yogi Berra Card

The 1948 Bowman cards were smaller than standard sized cards, measuring 2-1/16 inches x 2-1/2 inches in size.  The backs of the cards are printed in black ink on a gray stock and include the card number, player name, team position and a short biography.

Storing your treasured cards is always important to in keeping them in the best possible condition. The best storage is hard or semi-rigid holders that hold the card in place inside the holder and doesn’t easily break or bend if dropped or handled and does not contain any PVC. Even the very slightest nick or scratch on a card can significantly decrease its value so keep them in top condition so you can realize the best possible value for your collection.

As for this set, the level of difficulty in collecting the whole set is not very high. If it is a set that appeals to you, then collecting the whole set in at least mid-level grades is as very easily attainable goal, and in comparison to other sets from this era, is relatively inexpensive.

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  • Cheryl Robinson

    I have a poster for the New York Yankees announcing a game with the Yankees vs Chicago Cubs
    dated Sep. 1932 1:15 at Wrigley Field. It has a picture of the Yankees with Babe Ruth etc. It looks like an original because it is very old and yellowed with darker yellow edges. Please advise if I should pursue this further

  • robert shotwell

    my mom has a hank greenberg card that is ment….i just don’t know anything about this type of card and how to find out it’s worth….like the one’s above, it is about 2 1/16 x2 1/2….on the back it say’s….foul ball, and then say’s “Too high and wide”. it also has a short history of his 1935 season…..can you please help me with this card, ….thanks for your time…Rober Shotwell

  • Joseph Cristinzio

    To whom it may concern,

    I have an autographed lithograph of Brooks Robinson, Stan Musial, Monte Irwin, and Ernie Harwell. I got these autographs while on board a QE2 Hall of Famers Cruise. Can you tell me if its worth anything. Please respond.



  • bill

    i have a duke snider autographed baseball.any value thanks …….bill

  • jamie cloninger

    i have a bunch of original wheaties box baseball cards, back in 40,s 50,s hubbel, many more. how can i find out what their worth ?? thanks

  • E Bowman

    My grandfather started Bowman baseball cards, but left nothing behind for any of his children, grandchildren, etc. He probably didn’t know it was going to be so big. I guess that’s the problem with high stakes investments such as baseball cards.

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