During his playing days, “Hammerin’” Hank Aaron was often overlooked in favor of some of his peers such as Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, but by the time he retired there were no doubts that Aaron was a bastion of class and consistency—and he held the all-time home run record, too.

Despite never hitting more than 47 home runs in a season, Aaron blasted 755 during his career, breaking Babe Ruth’s record of 714 in the first days of the 1974 season. Aaron’s record stood until 2007 when it was broken by Barry Bonds. Some still consider Aaron to hold the legitimate record, though, due to Bonds’ alleged steroid use. Even with his official record gone, Aaron remains baseball’s all-time RBI leader, with 2,297.

Aaron’s home run balls may be his most attractive collectors’ item. They are limited in number and difficult to authenticate, but when collectors get their hands on them, these balls are often centerpieces of collections.

When Aaron broke into the league with the Milwaukee Braves in 1954, few could have predicted that he would one day be home run king—that year he hit just 13 home runs. Aaron’s lone rookie card, a 1954 Topps, is his most collectible baseball card. It features two images of Aaron. One is a full-card portrait of Aaron in his Braves cap; the other is a smaller inset shot of him bending down to field a ground ball, even though he was an outfielder. The card is not difficult to find in high-grade, yet it's still a favorite among collectors for its vivid portrayal of the young man.

Just a few years into his career, Aaron asserted himself as one of the stars of the game. In 1957 he had what most fans consider his best season. That year Aaron won his only National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and his only World Series title. For the year he hit .322 and led the league with 44 home runs and 132 runs batted in.

In the World Series, Aaron’s Braves defeated the New York Yankees in seven games. In commemoration of the showdown between the clubs, Topps released a “World Series Batting Foes” card featuring Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron in 1958. It is the only card to feature both future Hall of Famers, and it shows them both with bat in hand and smiling, though positioned as if ready for a duel.

The Braves and Yankees met again in the 1958 World Series, giving even more credence to the Topps card. This time, the Yankees prevailed in seven games...

Also released in 1958 was a very popular regional set featuring Aaron: the Hires Root Beer set. The Hires Root Beer Aaron is an attractive card. It shows Aaron kneeling in full uniform, a tan Hillerich & Bradsby Louisville Slugger bat in his hands. This card's value is complicated, however, because it came with a removable tab that was used to prop it up for display in the pack of root beer. It was supposed to be removed, so many price guides only list the card without the tab because it is so difficult to find with the tab intact, but that doesn't mean collectors don't try.

Through the end of the 1950s and into the 1960s, Aaron continued to be a prolific player, going to All-Star game after All-Star game. In 1966, he was among those Braves who moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta.

In 1973, with Aaron fast approaching Ruth’s mark, a Hank Aaron-themed board game entitled, “Hank Aaron Baseball Game” was released by Ideal. The game required one player, the pitcher, to send a small wooden ball down a plastic chute (the pitcher could throw different pitches depending on how he or she released the ball), and a batter tried to hit the ball by spinning a dial which controlled the bat. The game was only briefly issued, and is thus collectible for Aaron aficionados.

The 1973 season ended with Aaron one home run shy of Ruth’s record. After a winter full of death threats and bigotry—many Americans did not want a black man to break Ruth’s record—Aaron tied the record in his first at-bat of the ’74 season before taking Al Downing deep a few days later on April 8 to break the record.

That year, electronics company Magnavox released a “Hank Aaron 715 Club Membership Kit.” The kit included a 2’ by 3’ poster of Aaron’s record breaking home run, a membership card, a badge, and a sportscaster guide. It is difficult to find the entire kit intact, though the poster, especially when autographed by Aaron, is the most popular item.

Aaron retired after the 1976 season, and five years later he was inducted into the Hall of Fame with 97.83 percent of the vote, which at the time was the second highest percentage ever received by a player, after Ty Cobb.

Today, other popular Aaron collectibles include autographed baseballs, game-worn jerseys, statues, photographs, and commemorative coins.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Old Cardboard

Old Cardboard

Check out this well-organized collection of 500 sets of baseball cards, each over 50 years old. Browsable by type a… [read review or visit site]

The Baseball Card Blog

The Baseball Card Blog

Ben Henry's lively vintage baseball card blog, started in January 2006, offers hundreds of great posts on (and pict… [read review or visit site]

Cardboard Junkie

Cardboard Junkie

Dave Campbell's in-depth blog on old baseball (and some football) cards lives up to it's motto: 'do cards, not drug… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Roll up your socks for this Library of Congress collection showcasing hundreds of players on colorful early basebal… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Fame

A home run for baseball collectors, this site features special online exhibits, ranging from a baseball-uniforms da… [read review or visit site]

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #128 Sgc 8.5/92 Nm-mt+ (pwcc)1954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #128 Bvg 7.5 Nrmt+ (pwcc)Henry Hank Aaron 1999 Upper Deck Piece Of History 500 Hr Bat Autograph /44 Hof1954 Topps #128 Henry Hank Aaron Rc Rookie Braves Hof Psa 7 Nm " High End " 1972 Topps 3rd Series Wax Box, 24ct Wax Packs, Clemente Aaron? Bbce Auth (pwcc)1954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #128 Psa 5 Ex (pwcc)2014-15 Immaculate Aaron Gordon Premium 5 Color Jumbo Patch Auto Rc (24/25)1971 Topps Ultra Hi-grade Complete Set Munson Rose Ryan Aaron Mays Psa 7 (pwcc)Aaron Gordon Silhouettes Patch Auto 15/25 2014 15 Panini Preferred Basketball 1957 Topps Mid-grade Complete Set Mantle Clemente Koufax Berra Aaron, Psa (pwcc)1958 Topps Mickey Mantle & Hank Aaron Batting Foes #418 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1999 Ud Piece History 500 Hr Club Babe Ruth Hank Aaron Mays Patch Psa 9 (pwcc)1999 Ud Piece Of History 500 Club Babe Ruth Hank Aaron Willie Mays1956 Topps Hank Aaron White Back #31 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #128 Psa 3 Vg (pwcc)Aaron Ekblad/sam Reinhart/leon Draisaitl Sp Authentic 14-15 Triple Auto Moments 2011 Topps Triple Threads Sandy Koufax Hank Aaron /9 Dual Auto Booklet RareHank Aaron Signed Autographed Wilson Oaa Baseball Ball Psa/dna #y5249514/15 Sp Authentic Future Watch Autograph Rc #309 Aaron Ekblad #975/9992015 Hank Aaron Topps Museum Collection Auto Booklet Quad Bat Autograph 05/101970 Topps Hi-grade Nr Complete Set Seaver Ryan Aaron Mays Munson Rc, Psa (pwcc)1954 Topps Baseball Card #128 Hank Aaron Rookie Sgc 30 Good 2500 Home Run Multi Auto Signed Poster All 12 Psa/dna Mantle Williams Aaron Mays1959 Topps Mid-grade Complete Set Mantle Aaron Mays Clemente Gibson Rc (pwcc)Topps 1954 #128 – Hank Aaron Rookie Card!! Psa Graded ‘good+ - 2.5’!! **wow** 1950's&60's Baseball Stars & Hofers 37 Card Lot Mantle, Aaron , MaysAaron Gordon '14 Immaculate 2 Color Jersey Swatch Auto Numbered 87/99,basketballHank Aaron Auto Autographed 1957 Topps Card #20 Psa/dna 6 Ex-mt Condition Hof Aaron Gordon Magic Rc 2014-15 Panini Preferred Rookie Revolution Auto Gold 9/101950's&60's Baseball Stars & Hofers 45 Card Lot Mantle, Aaron, Mays2014-15 Panini Gold Standard #243 Aaron Gordon Auto Dual Patch Rc 12/25 CpHank Aaron Autographed Baseball (with Certificate)1964 Topps Hank Aaron #300 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)(6) Six Signed / Autographed Hank Aaron & Al Downing Oml Baseball Jsa Witness1964 Topps Hank Aaron #300 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)2014-15 Sp Authentic Future Watch Rc Auto Patch #309 Aaron Ekblad #17/1001972 Topps Baseball High Grade Complete Set Munson Ryan Clemente Rose Aaron Mays1965 O-pee-chee Hank Aaron #170 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1958 Topps All-star #488 Hank Aaron Hof Psa 8 Nm-mt Centered " Looks Nicer "1950's&60's Baseball Stars & Hofers 50 Card Lot Mantle, Aaron, Mays1955 Topps Hank Aaron #47 Bvg 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)2012 Topps Tier One Hank Aaron Auto Jersey # 44/50 #tta-ha (pwcc)1954 Topps Reprint Hank Aaron Jsa Authenticated Autographed 2 Card Lot !!1963 Topps Mid-grd Complete Set Mantle Aaron Clemente Koufax Rose Rc, Psa (pwcc)1958 Topps Mid Grade Near Complete Set Williams Mays Aaron Mays Mantle (pwcc)1956 Topps Hank Aaron White Back #31 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1955 Topps Hank Aaron #47 Psa 6 Exmt (pwcc)2001 Topps Golden Anniversary Autographs #gaaha Hank Aaron Auto2012 Topps Tier One Hank Aaron Albert Pujols Fielder Triple Auto 6/10 Ssp1950's&60's Baseball Stars & Hofers 45 Card Lot Mantle, Aaron, Mays1967 Topps Hank Aaron #250 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)2014 Bowman Chrome Auto Rc Aaron Nola Refractor Sealed From Topps 2014 National Treasures Century Aaron Murray Rpa Rc Rookie Patch Auto 2/251964 Topps Hank Aaron Milwaukee Braves #300 Baseball Card Psa 81955 Topps Double Headers Hank Aaron & Ray Herbert #105/106 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1991 Upper Deck Heroes Hank Aaron Certified Auto Signed On Card /2500Hank Aaron Autographed Rawlings Oml Baseball- Mounted Memories1959 Topps Hank Aaron #380 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)2015 Gypsy Queen Hank Aaron Red Auto Lot #'d /51955 Bowman Lot...matle,mays,aaron,berra