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.
“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.
ABOUT THE ASSET
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.
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?
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.