Sandy Koufax 1955 Topps #123 Rookie Card

Considered one of the most visually captivating cards ever made and the clear rookie card of Sandy Koufax to own. Featuring a youthful but deceptively innocent-looking Koufax, the card is renowned for its popularity as one of the key assets in an iconic 1955 Topps baseball set. Another Koufax '55 PSA NM-MT 8.5 sold for $69,000 in December 2020 via Heritage Auctions, nearly 92% higher than Collectable's offering.


Market Cap




Share Price


“I can’t picture people talking about me 50 years from now.”

-Sandy Koufax, 1965

Sandy Koufax is considered one of the most dominant left-handed pitchers in baseball history. Koufax’s career was cut short due to injury, but he managed to pack a mean punch in his 12 years on the mound, earning seven All-Star Game nods, three World Series titles, three Cy Young Awards, and a pair of World Series MVPs. He was the first major league pitcher to toss four no-hitters, and was the eighth hurler to throw a perfect game. In 1972, at the age of 36, he became the youngest player to ever be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.


This lovely card is graded a NM-MT by PSA, sports collectables’ leading grading company.

Koufax’s card photo has been described as, “…unassuming and near-perfect, much like the pitcher was on the mound.”

This gem is one of the key pillars in the legendary 1955 Topps baseball set, a set that has always been regarded as one of Topps’ best productions.

The card is considered one of the most iconic and coveted of the Post-War era.


The PWCC Top 100 index, an index that tracks the price movements of the top 100 most valuable trading cards sold at auction and which includes other comparable cards, this card has risen 264% since January of 2008.

A Koufax 1955 Topps #123 NM-MT 8.5 last sold for $35,350 in September 2020 via PWCC.

According to PSA, since 2016, prices for a Sandy Koufax 1955 Topps #123 NM-MT 8.5 have ranged from $25,135 to $89,625.


December 30, 1935

Born in Brooklyn, New York to Jack and Evelyn Braun.


Enrolls in the University of Cincinnati, where he makes the basketball team as a walk-on.


Pitches his only season of college baseball.


Tries out for the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both pass, and he ultimately signs a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

June 24, 1955

Makes major league debut with the Dodgers.


Suffers a sprained ankle, the first of many injuries that would force him in and out of the rotation.

May 5, 1957

After being threatened with a trip to the minors, Koufax throws a complete game against the Chicago Cubs, striking out 13.

October 1, 1959

Pitches in the first of four World Series with the Dodgers.


Selected for the first of his seven All-Star Game appearances.

March 31, 1965

Suffers hemorrhaging in his pitching arm and is later told that he might only be able to pitch once a week.

September 9, 1965

Pitches a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs.

March, 1966

Along with fellow Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale, Koufax holds out before signing a $125,000/year contract.

November 18, 1966

After posting a 27-9 record, Koufax announces his retirement due to arthritis.


Begins a six-year stint as broadcaster on NBC’s Saturday Game of the Week.

January 4, 1972

Along with Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, has his number retired by the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Hired by the Dodgers as a minor league pitching coach, a position he holds for 11 years.


Inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.


Named to the Major League’s All-Century Team.


Takes position with the Dodgers as a special consultant.

Sandy Koufax: Fastballs and Fasts

By Alan Goldsher

I like to eat.

My go-to cuisine is American-ized Italian. Pizza, baked ziti, lasagna, pastas of all shapes and sizes, caprese salad, chicken parm, eggplant parm, anything parm, you get the point. But it doesn’t need to be all Italian, all the time. I won’t turn down an overstuffed chicken burrito, or a loaded turkey burger, or an orange sesame tofu stir fry. I tend to think about what my next meal will be while I’m still eating my current meal, and I like to have my dinner choices locked down a day or two in advance.

So yeah, food is a big thing for me. That’s why when I was a kid, Yom Kippur at the Goldsher household was an issue.

For those not in the know, Yom Kippur is the highest of the Jewish high holidays, a somber day during which we atone for our sins of the previous year. For practicing Jews, atonement generally involves a lengthy trip to the temple and 24 hours of fasting. That’s fasting as in no breakfast, or lunch, or dinner, or random munchables, only water. Some feel that even brushing one’s teeth is verboten.

The whole fasting thing didn’t go over well with this food-loving guy. I don’t like to miss a single meal, let alone an entire day’s worth. 

This doesn’t speak well of my will power, does it? I mean, it’s one day, right? Skipping three meals and a handful of snacks isn’t a bad deal for a year’s worth of sins. But I couldn’t/wouldn’t do it.


I was a good kid and rarely got into it with my parents, but come Yom Kippur, the gloves came off:

Me: (Eating a bowl of Cheerios) Yum.

Parent: What’re you doing?

Me: (Eating more Cheerios) Eating a bowl of Cheerios.

Parent: So, um, you’re not fasting?

Me: (Eating more Cheerios) Are you insane? Not eating? For 24 hours? Hah!

Parent: We’re fasting. Your sister is fasting.

Me: (Eating more Cheerios) Don’t try and guilt trip me. It won’t work.

Parent: Generations of Goldsher have fasted.

Me: (Eating more Cheerios) Generational guilt tripping won’t work either.

Parent: Sandy Koufax didn’t pitch on Yom Kippur.

Me: (Putting down the spoon) Awww, man, why do you always have to bring Koufax into it?

I’ll tell you exactly why they brought Sandy Koufax into it: I was a little baseball nerd, and my era of baseball nerds loved ourselves some Sandy Koufax.

We’d only seen Koufax on film, but how could we not be enamored? He was 6’2”, 210, but somehow he look approachable and unimposing, unlike, say, his larger, scarier fellow Los Angeles Dodgers fireballer, Don Drysdale. His kind face and intelligent eyes made him resemble your favorite English teacher, thus he was relatable. He was intelligent and soft-spoken, thus he was easy to root for. (His name was also dope. A Jewish dude whose last name ended in X? Way cooler than Goldsher.)

And his pitching? Straight-up sublime.

Koufax’s fastball—which generally topped out at 93 MPH—wasn’t as fast as, say, Justin Verlander’s, but in the 1960s, hitters freaked out about anything significantly above 90, if only because they weren’t used to it, as few hurlers of the day could consistently hit those numbers. Sandy’s curveball was, for lack of a better word, sick, and is still considered to be among the greatest in the history of baseball. Finally, and most importantly, during his heyday—and we baseball nerds loved ourselves some heydays—the guy was a winner.

Between 1963-1966, Koufax compiled a record of 97-27. Now think about that for a second: Over a four-season span, you had a mere 25% chance of beating him. One pitching season with those numbers in a career is impressive enough. Two is straight-up mindblowing. But four seasons? And consecutive ones at that? And three out of those four year-long performance pieces nabbed him a Cy Young Award? 

Oy gevalt.

Even though today’s baseball analytics gurus scoff at earned run average as a statistical measure, you can’t front on Koufax’s ERA over that stretch:

  • 1963: 1.88
  • 1964: 1.74
  • 1965: 2.04
  • 1966: 1.73

Seriously, who does that? So when my parents dropped the Koufax/Yom Kippur bomb, it was hard to refute.

Watch This

Take a deeper dive


A clip from the documentary “Jews & Baseball”


Koufax highlights from the ’65 Series


Koufax after clinching the 1965 title

A quick peek at the 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers starting lineup tells us…not much.

The team’s batting average was a paltry .254, led by Maury Wills’ meh .286. As a team, they hit just 78 home runs, and their highest RBI guy was Ron Fairly, who racked up a mere 70. Their only notable individual offensive stat—and it was, to be fair, super-notable—was Wills’ total of 94 stolen bases, which currently ranks as the 30th most ever in a single season.

This all begs the question, how the hell did this Dodgers team win 97 regular season games?

Three words: Pitching, pitching, and pitching.

And it was three pitchers: Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Claude Osteen.

The fireballing trio combined for 64 of the team’s victories, and thanks in part to a distinctly blah bullpen, Koufax, Drysdale, and Osteen were forced to throw a total of 56 complete games. Rarely in league history have three starters dragged not just a pitching staff, but an entire roster to nearly 100 wins.

As a late-season surge drove the wobbly Dodgers towards the fall classic, Koufax grew a tad nervous as he eyeballed the World Series schedule. Why?

Two words: Yom Kippur.

See, not only do you not eat on Yom Kippur, but you don’t work. You take the day off to contemplate the past year and consider the next one. You go to temple and wait until the rabbi or the cantor—or sometimes even a talented member of the congregation—blow the shofar. You try not to think about how hungry you are.

And if you’re a baseball player, you don’t pitch. Even if it’s a World Series game.

Koufax wasn’t a devout Jew, but he followed tradition, and as the World Series approached, he took nervous peek on the calendar. Game One of the Fall Classic—a game that the ace of the Dodgers staff, the best pitcher in the world, would most definite be asked to pitch—was scheduled for October 1.

Yom Kippur.

Oy gevalt.

On October 1, when it was looking more and more likely that the Dodgers would win the N.L., Koufax confessed to the Associated Press that he was concerned enough to ask around as to whether the game could be rescheduled. The answer: Not so much.

“From what I’ve been told, there are no dispensations for this particular day. But then I haven’t really talked about it to a rabbi. If we sew up the pennant, I plan to take it up and find out the proceedings. If I’m told it isn’t proper to pitch, then I won’t because I wouldn’t feel right about it. I’m praying for rain. It has to rain. It would solve the whole matter.”

Praying for rain while simultaneously praying for atonement? The conflict probably ate Koufax up.

To their credit, the Dodgers offered Koufax their full backing, with team owner Walter O’Malley saying:

“I won’t let Sandy pitch on Yom Kippur under any circumstances. I can’t let the boy do that to himself.”

The franchise had always supported Koufax’s religious choices, having cheerfully granted him similar days off in 1959 (Passover), 1961 (Rosh Hashanah), and 1963 (Rosh Hashanah). And for the record, Koufax wasn’t the only Jewish MLB star to sit on the High Holiday: Slugger Hank Greenberg chose the temple over the ballfield in 1937, missing a game that possibly kept him from breaking Lou Gehrig’s RBI record.

The cool thing about the team’s support—actually, one of the many cool things—was that heading into the Series, the relatively limited Dodgers were well aware that they needed all the help they could get.

Their World Series opponent was the Minnesota Twins, a far more balanced squad than the Dodgers. Like Los Angeles, the 102-game-wnners had a three-headed monster of a starting rotation—Mudcat Grant, Jim Kaat, and Jim Perry—but they sported two other starters who each won 9 games, and a reliever, Al Worthington, who chalked up 10 W’s and 21 saves. Offense-wise, they were led by future Hall of Famer Harmon Killibrew, and future isn’t-a-Hall-of-Famer-but-damn-well-should-be Tony Oliva, who combined for 41 homeruns and 173 RBIs.

Drysdale took the mound for Game One, and was promptly shellacked, allowing 7 runs in 2.2 innings, three of which came on a monstrous dinger by Twins leadoff hitter—and the man with one of the greatest names in sports history—Zoilo Versalles. Legend has it that after the game, Drysdale asked Dodgers manager Walter Alston if he (Alston) wished he (Drysdale) was Jewish so he wouldn’t have pitched.

That was a lame joke that felt even lamer the following day when the team, with Sandy on the mound, took and L and went down two-zip. Sandy can’t be faulted—in his six innings pitched, he allowed just 1 earned run and 6 hits while striking out 9. As was too often the case that year, the L.A. bullpen couldn’t hold the opponent at bay, and the anemic lineup was stymied by a quality starter, that starter being Kaat. Final score: Twins, 5-1.

But with all the brouhaha surrounding Koufax’s Yom Kippur decision, folks tend to forget that the Dodgers 1965 World Series story has an exceedingly happy ending. 

Sandy started a pair of games against Minnesota.

Both were of the complete variety.

Both were shutouts.

In both, he struck out 10 Twins.

In those two games, Killebrew, Oliva, et al managed a total of just 9 hits.

Those two games were played in the span of four days.

And the latter game was a series-clinching Game Seven.

Oy gevalt.

This was a performance for the ages, but when the ’65 Series comes up in conversation, all anybody talks about is Sandy’s infamous day off. For that matter, the only person who doesn’t like to discuss it is Koufax himself. 

In 2014, the New York Jewish Week managed to get him to answer a few questions about that legendary Yom Kippur…sort of.

  • On why he took a pass on the High Holiday contest: “It was something I always did.
  • On specifically why he didn’t play in the game: “Respect.”
  • On whether he was trying to make a statement on Jewish Pride: “Absolutely not.”
  • On whether he felt any pressure from the Dodgers brass to pitch in the game: “No pressure.”
  • On whether he thought skipping the game would upset his teammates: “No.”
  • On whether his teammates asked him what he did on Yom Kippur: “No discussion.”
  • On whether the fuss surprised him: “Yes.”

The man himself may have dismissed the importance of his decision, but the Jewish community sure didn’t. In 2020, Rabbi Robert Levine summed it up perfectly: 

“This was a time when Jews felt less than totally secure in America. It was shocking and eye-opening when Koufax, not a religious Jew by any measure, chose to sit out a World Series game in favor of observing the holiday. His decision was an amazing statement of pride, and helped many others feel proud to express their religion as well.”

This is why we baseball nerds love ourselves some Sandy Koufax.

Alan Goldsher is Collectable’s Head of Content. He’s the author of 15 books.

Dig Deeper

Take an even deeper dive


Koufax gets into the weeds


Bud Selig on Sandy Koufax and Hank Aaron


ESPN’s Koufax special