Topps continued to come up with something new with their card design in 1954. This time, the innovation was the use of two pictures on the card, a large color head shot and a smaller black and white action shot. Perhaps Bowman's use of color photographs in 1953 inspired Topps to use actual photos instead of paintings for the first time.
Competition with Bowman was reducing the set size again, this time down to 250 (24 less than the previous year). But the competition sure seemed good for the design team. I'd have to say that once again, they hit a home run with the design.
The reduced set also meant a reduction in Cubs, down to only eleven cards. However, one of the eleven is one that I have yet to buy- Ernie Banks rookie card.
I've got the reprint of the Banks '54, and I've got both versions of the '54 Banks issued this year with the Cards Your Mother Threw Away subset. But I just haven't been able to buy the real thing. It's not a true white whale, since there are plenty of the card available. It's the price that is holding me back.
Between September 24 and October 9 at total of 17 of the cards were sold at an average price of $320.00. That average was skewed by the sale of a PSA 8 that went for $3,200. If you take that card out, the average of the other 16 is $165.00. That is much higher than what I've ever paid for any one card. As time goes by, and as my collection becomes more complete, I'm softening towards it purchase and I think I'll be pulling the trigger some time in the next 12 months.
Getting the other ten 1954 Cubs was not too difficult, and so here they are, along with the reprint of Ernie Banks' card. The one odd card included is the one of a very grumpy looking coach Ray Blades. I wonder how many other coaches were included in the set? I would assume this was Topps way of filling out the set since Bowman was signing away active players.