Very informative, if incomplete, blogpost by former SCD editor, Bob Lemke.

Topps Production numbers from the post-war Vintage era

Congratulations to you 1955, 1960 and 1961 collectors who have completed your sets. The relative competition for your years are at a decided disadvantage.

As for the 1956 and 1959 guys (like me), I can spin it by saying, "at least I can still look forward to upgrading."

I'm sure the number crunchers will get involved, but if one assumes the wholesale price for a pack of cards to be $0.025, the average production for a 1952 Topps card was about 98,000 to 129,000, depending on what you assume for the high numbers. Compare that to 1959 with each card at almost 1,350,000 or so.

The drop off in 1961 may explain the scarcity of the high numbers in that year. I expect there may have been a recession in 1961 and, at the margin, less disposable income was available to give to kids to buy cards that year. In 1955, Bowman may have really ramped up as their business was dying out and they really tried to ward off Topps. Who knows?
#1 in 1959 Topps. Officially known as Assassin according to stanthemanfan 3/31/2014 and god of minor league basketball according to cammb.