Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where The Action Is

You want Action? You got Action! Action All Stars that is...

Not only was 1968 a landmark year for Topps oddball issues, it was a huge year for test issues even if you only look at baseball. In addition to one of the best pack inserts ever, the 33 strong game cards (also a limited release of its own accord), the ultra large Player Posters and the 3-D set, there were Plaks and Discs and even leftover Punchouts. And Action Stickers Baby!

Sold in (very) long strips of three, sixteen numbered, three-paneled stickers comprise the set. At ten cents a throw, you could have put together a set for $1.60 back in '68. Nowadays, mid four figures would be needed.

Here is a full panel; all follow the same format:



The strip is about 15 3/4" tall, 3 1/4" wide and very hard to scan or photograph properly. Numbering and indicia are below the main subject in the center panel. The full strip was folded twice along very prominent score lines:



and sold in a vivid red pack:



The actual name of the set is clearly Baseball Action Stickers. Action All Stars is just hobby idiom. A box just popped up in a Heritage auction that confirms this point:



It is uncommon for a photo of a player in uniform to appear on a limited release in this era. The fact that it is Mickey Mantle makes this even more of a holy grail type piece.

We get a product code on the bottom definitively identifying 1968 as the year of issue:



Proofs have popped up over the years, many from the Topps vault. Here is one I picked up a while ago:



You can see there is no scoring at the top or bottom on the proof. The reverse features tasty period sticker backing:



While there are 16 three-panel stickers, only 12 are different. Stickers from #13-16 mix and match previously used panels.

Here is two-thirds of the set from (I think) an old REA auction, with proof marks and notations made by the Topps brass:



You can find individual panels, sometimes with one sticker missing on Ebay pretty easily but the intact strips are fairly difficult. They are not impossible though but storage and/or display would be interesting.

More peeks at 1968 coming your way soon!

3 comments:

Fleerfan said...

Dave,

Thanks for posting the proof sheet and pictures of the pack and wax box as I'd never seen these before.

1968 was an amazing year for Topps in terms of all the various test issues they released. I'm looking forward to seeing what else you have in store for future 1968 test issue reviews.

Shane said...

Nice post. That sheet is very interesting along with the box. I am looking for all Cardinals except for the small Gibson and the small Cepeda.

If anybody has any, please contact me at msh@wk.net

Matthew Glidden said...

Thanks for posting all the great scans and set info! Just pointed back here from a post about the #5 panel.

1968 All-Star Sticker, Willie Mays