Card fronts show a colorized player photo surrounded by a thin white border. Superimposed near the bottom is a text box surrounded by a thin black border lined with stars, in which are the player's name and a facsimile signature. The team logo sits covering the upper left corner of the box.
Card backs feature the card number within a baseball logo at the top left, followed by player name and biographical details, followed by a short paragraph about his career. At the bottom is a box showing the player's previous-year statistics as well as his career total stats.
This was Topps's first real card offering after their very poorly-received 1951 'Red-and-Blue-Backs' issue. If they were going to compete with the burgeoning Bowman for a chunk - or even all - of the baseball card market, this was going to have to be an issue that got kids excited, so that they would come back again and again buying packs to complete their sets. Topps employees Woody Gelman and Sy Berger designed the set.
Supposedly the 'high-numbers' or final release of cards from this set had hardly reached stores before that year's World Series occurred - after which store owners would traditionally take unsold baseball cards off their shelves, as post-championship enthusiasm for the game traditionally dwindled to nothing. Only a relatively small amount of the high-numbers series made it into distribution; and Topps, left with a warehouse full of high-numbers cases that they thought they would never sell, made the decision to give the cards a proper burial at sea. Literally - cases and cases of cards were dumped into the ocean, ruined forever and never seen again.
The big card of this set is, of course, the Mickey Mantle rookie card, #311, which commands roughly a third of the total set's value. This was part of the high numbers series, which further pushes up its value due to relative scarcity. Probably thousands of them rest on the sea bottom, assuming they haven't dissolved in the salt water. There may be many thousands of this valuable card still intact... who knows?
The other prominent cards in this set include:
1 - Andy Pafko
48 - Joe Page (errors)
191 - Yogi Berra
261 - Willie Mays
312 - Jackie Robinson
314 - Roy Campanella
333 - Pee Wee Reese
392 - Hoyt Wilhelm
400 - Bill Dickey
407 - Ed Mathews