The 1956 Topps set, comprised of 340 cards, was released in four series, with the first being cards 1-100, the second 101-180, the third 181-260, and the last series 261-340. The first two series were produced on white and gray cardboard. It is even believed that those cards with a gray back in the first series and those with a white back in the second series are a rarity to find in comparison to cards in other series. This set was also the first to include team cards along with unnumbered checklists (in series 1 and 3 and series 2 and 4). Those cards featuring checklists were not highly cherished at the time and were often abused; as a result, these cards are very difficult to find and extremely valued by collectors. It is almost considered impossible to locate unmarked checklists in prime condition. It is for this reason that collectors deem the 1956 set to be complete even without the checklists. This set also features action shots along with player images. Some of the more famous shots include those of Willie Mays into home base and Ernie Banks after scoring a home run.
Series One: cards 1-100
Series Two: cards 101-180
Series Three: cards 181-260
Series Four: cards 261-340
The 1956 Topps set contains some of the biggest names in baseball, including Mickey Mantle (135), Willie Mays (130), Ted Williams (5), Sandy Koufax (75), Roberto Clemente (33), and Hank Aaron (31). This was Mickey Mantle’s first time appearing on one of Topps’ cards since 1953, as he had an exclusive contract with Bowman. Topps’ timing on signing with Mantle was ideal as Mantle solidified his standing as a baseball star when he won the Triple Crown in 1956. In recent years, a 10-graded 1956 Mantle card sold at $115,000; since then, it has constantly increased in its value. This set also included 13 rookies, such as Luis Aparicio (292) who eventually became a Baseball Hall of Famer. William Harridge (1), American League President, and Warren Giles (2), National League President were also included.
For Topps, the 1956 set is seen as one of the greatest large sets ever created. This set was the final one to incorporate hand-drawn images; it was during the year of 1956 that Topps decided to hire a photographer for the collection in the following year. The 1956 set became a hit not only because of its brilliant design, but also because Topps had recently bought out Bowman, its rival. Therefore, Topps became the leading sports card producer, which persisted for 25 years. Through its attractive cards and first-ever team cards, 1956 Topps is viewed as one of the best card sets ever produced.