Monday, March 29, 2010

Yaz-a-ma-taz

Friend o' the Archive John Moran was kind enough to send along a Red Sox wrapper from the 1967 Sticker issue recently discussed here. Where the Pirates wrapper showed a pretty good likeness of Bill Mazeroski, the Red Sox pack displayed an unmistakable Carl Yastrzemski who was playing the last Triple Crown season MLB has seen.



It's got a bit of a tilt to it, doesn't it? I really like the poetic license taken with Maz and Yaz for the two wrappers!

While we are on a Yastrzemski kick, does anyone out there know what this came from? I don't think it matches any known Topps images but I'm horrible at looking at raw photos and projecting what they looked like when actually used on a card. This appears to e an engraving:



The back has Don Schwall scrawled on it but I think it looks like Yaz. So did the guy who sent the scans to me years ago (forgot your name buddy, sorry).



Don Schwall looked like this when he was on the Bosox:



I don't think that's our man. By the way, Don Schwall was one heck of an athlete, was the 1961 AL Rookie of the Year and won the first game in Atlanta Braves history. Click on the link, you'll see!

So is the "Yaz" a red herring? I don't think he is but if you know what the engraving is, drop the Archive a line.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Slipped Discs

We are going to (almost) wrap up the Topps Baseball Discs folks but a funny thing happened on the way to this post-I discovered the 1967's were probably proofed and printed up in late 1966. This follows a pattern found with the 1967 Punchouts, another set that went through what seems like a two year proofing process. The 68 Discs in turn look to have been proofed in 1967.

The 1967 set is comprised of 24 subjects and is sometime known as the "Silver Foil" set as the waste area beyond the circle with the player photo and information is silver reflective paper. Almost certainly designed to be pinbacks, these were to have been manufactured in Japan from Topps artwork and then imported into the US, a key bit of detail we will return to later.

A full proof sheet of 67's is known, although it has almost certainly been cut up:



Here is a '67 Mays:



You can clearly see the word JAPAN in the upper left quadrant. The back looks like this:



The '67 San Francisco Giants team discs also have the same back. The 1968 Discs, which add four subject to the mix for a total of 28, can be found with both Silver Foil and Plain White backgrounds, the latter of which usually sometimes have a horizontal fold that may indicate a sheet being saved by a dumpster diver of decades past.

Here is a Silver Foil '68 from the collection of Bob Fisk:



I am not sure if the back is the same brown cardboard found on the 67's but suspect it is. That's one of the things about the 68's-they are appreciably rarer than the 67's, despite what PSA and Beckett say and I have not been able to find scans of either a full proof sheet nor all of the individual discs from 1968. As you will see below, they have the JAPAN notation as well.

Having said that, the Monday disc really convinces me the All Stars were designed to be one set issued in 1967 as the A's were still in KC that year. The 68's should really be thought of as a second run of proofs. There's a little more on the production cycle further below but I will continue to use the commonly accepted dates for these two sets.

Here is a '68 Alley I have shown previously, front:



And back (look closely):



A few progressive proofs are known for the 68's. Here is a scan of a Cepeda series from that year I nabbed from Ebay:



Compare those and the Alley above to a very interesting Cepeda scan from an unknown source that looks to have had a thin plastic film overlaid in addition to a ring showing where the pin would be cropped. The clear overlay seems to have stripped off in spots. Note the fold line is similar to the one on Alley and JAPAN would have been rolled over the rim and oriented correctly on the reverse of the pin:



I will warn you that the next scan is a fake, merely a fantasy concoction sometimes sold on Ebay but it gives a good idea of what a completed pin or button would have looked like, using a '67 Torre:



Here is a combined list of both 67's and the 68's and you can see that only one player, Willie Mays, appears in all three disc sets:

1967 AS AARON HANK
1968 AS AARON HANK
1968 AS ALLEN RICHIE
1968 AS ALLEY GENE
1967 SFG ALOU JESUS
1967 SFG BOLIN BOB
1967 SFG BROWN OLLIE
1967 AS CALLISON JOHNNY
1967 AS CAMPANERIS BERT
1967 AS CARDENAS LEO
1968 AS CAREW ROD
1967 AS CEPEDA ORLANDO
1968 AS CEPEDA ORLANDO
1968 AS CHANCE DEAN
1967 AS CLEMENTE ROBERTO
1968 AS CLEMENTE ROBERTO
1967 SFG DAVENPORT JIM
1968 AS DAVIS TOMMY
1967 SFG FRANKS HERMAN
1968 AS FREEHAN BILL
1968 AS FREGOSI JIM
1967 SFG GABRIELSON LEN
1967 SFG GIBBON JOE
1967 SFG HALLER TOM
1968 AS HARGAN STEVE
1967 SFG HART JIM RAY
1967 SFG HERBEL RON
1967 AS HOWARD FRANK
1968 AS HOWARD FRANK
1967 AS JONES CLEON
1968 AS KALINE AL
1968 AS KILLEBREW HARMON
1967 AS KNOOP BOBBY
1967 AS KOUFAX SANDY
1967 SFG LANIER HAL
1967 SFG LINZY FRANK
1967 AS MANTLE MICKEY
1968 AS MANTLE MICKEY
1967 AS MARICHAL JUAN
1967 SFG MARICHAL JUAN
1967 AS MAYS WILLIE
1967 SFG MAYS WILLIE
1967 SFG MAYS WILLIE FOR MAYOR
1968 AS MAYS WILLIE
1968 AS McCORMICK MIKE
1967 SFG McCOVEY WILLIE
1967 SFG McDANIEL LINDY
1967 AS McDOWELL SAM
1967 AS McLAIN DENNY
1968 AS MONDAY RICK
1967 AS MORGAN JOE
1967 AS OLIVA TONY
1968 AS OSTEEN CLAUDE
1967 SFG PERRY GAYLORD
1968 AS PETERS GARY
1967 SFG PETERSON CAP
1967 AS POWELL BOOG
1967 SFG PRIDDY BOB
1967 AS ROBINSON BROOKS
1968 AS ROBINSON BROOKS
1967 AS ROBINSON FRANK
1968 AS ROBINSON FRANK
1967 AS ROMANO JOHNNY
1968 AS ROSE PETE
1967 AS SANTO RON
1968 AS SANTO RON
1968 AS STAUB RUSTY
1967 AS TORRE JOE
1968 AS TORRE JOE
1968 AS VEALE BOB
1967 AS YASTRZEMSKI CARL
1968 AS YASTRZEMSKI CARL
1967 SFG HAPPINESS IS A GIANT WIN

1967 SFG I LOVE THE GIANTS

1967 SFG LET'S GO GIANTS

1967 SFG SF GIANTS LOGO

In order to simplify matters, here is another list showing just the All Stars from both years with their team affiliations. Eleven players appear in both sets and a further post will try to differentiate years for these players as I do not have scans for all the doubled up 68's. I'll also show how the photos used on the discs tie in to the 1967 Punchouts and 1968 Baseball Plaks Checklists among other things when that post gets written.

1967 AND 1968 ALL STARS COMPARED (52 TOTAL)

AARON HANK BRAVES 67 68
ALLEN RICHIE PHILLIES
68
ALLEY GENE PIRATES
68
CALLISON JOHNNY PHILLIES 67
CAMPANERIS BERT ATHLETICS 67
CARDENAS LEO REDS 67
CAREW ROD TWINS
68
CEPEDA ORLANDO CARDINALS 67 68
CHANCE DEAN TWINS
68
CLEMENTE ROBERTO PIRATES 67 68
DAVIS TOMMY METS *
68
FREEHAN BILL TIGERS
68
FREGOSI JIM ANGELS
68
HARGAN STEVE INDIANS
68
HOWARD FRANK SENATORS 67 68
JONES CLEON METS 67
KALINE AL TIGERS
68
KILLEBREW HARMON TWINS
68
KNOOP BOBBY ANGELS 67
KOUFAX SANDY DODGERS 67
MANTLE MICKEY YANKEES 67 68
MARICHAL JUAN GIANTS 67
MAYS WILLIE GIANTS 67 68
McCORMICK MIKE GIANTS
68
McDOWELL SAM INDIANS 67
McLAIN DENNY TIGERS 67
MONDAY RICK ATHLETICS
68
MORGAN JOE ASTROS 67
OLIVA TONY TWINS 67
OSTEEN CLAUDE DODGERS
68
PETERS GARY WHITE SOX
68
POWELL BOOG ORIOLES 67
ROBINSON BROOKS ORIOLES 67 68
ROBINSON FRANK ORIOLES 67 68
ROMANO JOHNNY WHITE SOX ** 67
ROSE PETE REDS
68
SANTO RON CUBS 67 68
STAUB RUSTY ASTROS
68
TORRE JOE BRAVES 67 68
VEALE BOB PIRATES
68
YASTRZEMSKI CARL RED SOX 67 68

* Tommy Davis should be with the Mets in the '68 set as he would be the only one in that set and each team has at least one representative. He was traded by the Mets to the White Sox on 12/15/67. See further comments below on last possible production date.

** Johnny Romano was traded from the White Sox to the Cardinals on 12/14/66. This indicates the first batch of proofs were almost certainly prepared prior to that date.

The production cycle for both sets looks to have less than a full year as the A's were given permission to move to Oakland by the American League on 10/18/67. A set that was in process in December of 1966 was certainly intended for release at the start of the '67 baseball season in any event and would seemingly have concluded production by the time the A's were given the go ahead to relocate just after the end of the 1967 World Series.

If you are counting teams the AL and NL had 12 discs each in the 67 All Stars and 14 in the 68's, color coded Red (AL) and Blue (NL). As noted above with the 1968 Tommy Davis Disc, each team had at least one player in each set. In 1967 the Orioles had a total of three players shown in the AL and the Braves and Giants each had an extra representative on the NL side. In 1968 The Orioles and Tigers each had an extra man while the Twins had two more than most. The '68 NL squad had the Braves and Giants again with an extra player each and the Pirates had a surplus of two. I am calling the players All Stars but it doesn't mean they made the mid-season classic in '66, some guys did it before, during and after that season. A few were only one time All Stars and the "scrubinee" player selection seems a bit odd. Perhaps more players would ahve been added later.

So with all this effort,what happened, why did the pin sets never materialize? Well, I found an old reference to import duty suit filed by Topps to try to have the pins classified as "buttons" vs their being labeled "novelties" (don't quote me on that, I may have it reversed). I lost the link but seem to recall a 10% import duty for one category vs 35% on the other hanging in the balance. I believe Topps finally lost the case in 1971 and have to think the difference in nomenclature was enough to kill any potential profit margin on products imported from Japan for sale in the US under the more expensive duty assessment. If I find the link again, I'll post it down the road.

Topps had produced metal coin inserts in 1964 and would do so again in 1971, presumably in the US, so I wonder if this was an attempt on their part to manufacture certain items more cheaply in Japan. I believe a couple of non-sports pin sets were made in Japan around this time but would have to dig a bit to determine which ones.

If you have any 1968 disc scans of any of the eleven repeated players, please send 'em along!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

San Francisco Treat

Last time out I took a look at the 1967 Pirates and Red Sox Stickers that Topps was marketing to see if team-oriented products would sell. Obviously the answer was no but the stickers were well made and thought out. So well thought out that there was, in fact, a third team oriented set on the drawing board in '67. Some background is in order first though.

Most oddball Topps collectors are familiar with the little 2 1/4" diameter "discs", or "silver paper"" proofs that were intended to be made into pin sets. The plan was for them to be manufactured in Japan and then imported into the US. The two All Star sets are fairly well known, generally referred to as 1967 (24 subjects) and 1968 (28 subjects) issues, with the 68's being quite rare (not that the 67's are easy,mind you). Here is a look at one of each, '67 first:



The scan does the waste area an injustice-it is shiny and foil-like and the reason for the "silver paper" moniker. Here is a 1968 Disc:



I'll save details for the next post but the 68's can be found in various states of production with different backgrounds to boot.

Going back a year, in '67 Topps also produced proofs for a 24 pin San Francisco Giants team set that greatly resembled the two sticker sets from that year. Here is a disc of SF manager Herman Franks:



We again have a "silver foil" background with an incomplete color process (Herman would be green on the final proof run). By the way, Franks had a strange career as player and manager, showing almost a pattern of punctuated equilibrium in his playing and managerial records. He even managed to hit for a career average below the Mendoza Line.

A look at the full set reveals the similarities to the Red Sox and Pirates stickers on this scan I probably nailed from a major auction catalog:



Just look at the bottom right corner where there are five "fun" discs that mirror similar mirthful fare in the sticker sets. Since the set is only sporadically checklisted in the major hobby references, here is the full lineup of discs:

ALOU JESUS
BOLIN BOB
BROWN OLLIE
DAVENPORT JIM
FRANKS HERMAN
GABRIELSON LEN
GIBBON JOE
HALLER TOM
HART JIM RAY
HERBEL RON
LANIER HAL
LINZY FRANK
MARICHAL JUAN
MAYS WILLIE
McCOVEY WILLIE
McDANIEL LINDY
PERRY GAYLORD
PETERSON CAP
PRIDDY BOB
HAPPINESS IS A GIANT WIN
I LOVE THE GIANTS
LET'S GO GIANTS
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS LOGO
WILLIE MAYS FOR MAYOR

At least one color process proof is also know, although I think this was from a different auction:



Unlike the stickers, the SF Giants discs were never sold at retail and are very difficult to find these days. I count four hall of famers in the set and you also have the extra Willie Mays for Mayor disc to make sure a bunch of high end items end up on HOF collectors wantlists. Too bad these never made it to the store shelves.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Buying Local

1967 was the year that Topps really started pouring it on. Whether it was due to their purchase of Fleer's baseball player contracts the year earlier or having run through a full production cycle at their new Duryea, PA plant, baseball related sets or planned sets were numerous in the Summer of Love. They also started heavy experimentation with the medium of the product itself across all lines of cards.

But back to baseball. The regular issue cards from '67 are quite well done and it is an extremely popular set to collect. The All Star Pinup poster inserts are attractive, albeit printed on cheap stock, and there were a ton of supplemental sets and even a couple of attempts to market on a local basis. I count the following sets or attempts in 1967 (*= proof or test issue):

Regular Issue
All Star Pinups
Punchouts
Pirates Stickers
Red Sox Stickers
Giant Stand Ups *
All Star Discs *
San Francisco Giants Discs *

Also in the mix were four players in the Who Am I? set and a Babe Ruth Comic Book Foldee appearance. There is also the matter of the mysterious Roberto Clemente Poster Sticker. Whew! Today though, let's briefly focus on the two sticker sets.

Now most collectors are familiar with the Pirates and Red Sox Stickers. Consisting of 33 stickers each, these were intended to be sold in Pittsburgh and Boston, almost certainly as a test to see if there was interest in locally focused sets. The stickers are quite well done, standard sized and printed on sturdy stock, Here's a Red Sox Sticker:



A Bucco:



And so nobody gets hoodwinked on Ebay, this is how the backs look, with their brown paper backs, slit about 60% of the way down:



While not common, since I suspect leftover stickers were sold through the Card Collector's Company, the stickers are getting a bit tougher to find these days, like many mid 60's Topps small sets and inserts. Don't get me wrong, these still are out there but they exist in reasonably small numbers compared to the regular baseball cards.

The stickers came three for a nickel and were sold in normal wax, not white test, wrappers (which may not yet have existed):


(From the collection of Bob Fisk)

I have a wavy scan of the Red Sox box (side view) from Net54baseball.com:



I would like to get some more box scans up but they are scarce, with the wrappers not too far behind.

The Stickers featured either 24 players and coaches (Pirates) or 26 (Red Sox) and then rounded out their numbers with some logo, slogan and fun cards, which I will get into next time for reasons that will be made apparent. Sorry to be a tease!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Back In Black

Pursuant to our last installment, the missing Star Wars presentation board reappeared on my radar and I thought it had enough going for it, I could devote a full, if short post to it as we clean up following our "March Hurricane" here at the main Topps Archives Research Complex.

The missing board (missing because it did not have "Topps" in the title description on Ebay and I couldn't find it again until a helpful reader pointed me in the right direction) again being auctioned by BMW Sportscards actually was for a packaging concept for the sequel to everybody's favorite space western. The Empire Strikes Back was also a massive success at the box office and on the candy store shelves.

As you can see, Topps was using 4th series Star Wars cards for their internal presentation, with some TESF elements involved plus a marketing prototype:



I'm not sure if the collector's file ever came to fruition as my mind starts glazing over once we get into late 70's Topps products but it sure is a colorful presentation. I wonder if the lack of a large, red penciled title for the board is indicative of it coming from somewhere other than the art department at Duryea. It's also different from the earlier boards shown here as the back is black:



Kinda reminds me of deep space, or a Spinal Tap album......

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Catching Up on Coins and Cards

A couple of threads to update today kiddies, namely 1952 High Numbers and 1980 Baseball Coins, with a wide and wild detour back to Presentation Boards.

I have tabulated responses to my query on a few online forums that was cleverly titled "Where Did You Buy 1952 Topps Baseball High Numbers as a Kid?" The results were mostly supportive of my distribution theories but the sample size is way too small to cement anything except distribution may have been a little wider than I thought.

Confirmed purchases took place in a suburb of Toronto (nice to have that verified), Eastern Massachusetts (presumably Boston or environs), Elizabeth and Jersey City, New Jersey (both just across the North River from Manhattan), Ridley Park, Pennsylvania (a Phildadelphia suburb) and near the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. These were late summer/fall 1952 purchases from what I can gather. North Carolina is interesting as it is well past the MLB territory of the time and gets us into the true South.

Looking westward, substantive purchases (two full runs from packs) were made by Roger Neufeldt of Sports Memories (one of the nicest guys you will ever meet) and whom I believe lived in Oklahoma City at the time of purchase (1952). That's farther afield than I would have thought and may demonstrate the spotty distribution the highs had in '52. Stabbing further westward we have Los Angeles, seemingly much later in 1952 and Rialto, CA,a San Bernardino 'burb in 1953 at a Rexall drug store (they had thousands of stores nationwide at the time) which is a connection I want to explore further as it may have something to do with the distribution of the cards. Woolworth's was allso a big seller of Topps 1952 baseball but I am not sure about their relationship with the high numbers.

There were also numerous stories of people not being able to find them in their neighborhoods after being able to find semi-highs. I did not track (yet) where they could not be found however but do note one such place was Buffalo, New York which I had previously theorized may hot have gotten the highs in '52.

There are also recollections of people buying the cards in 1953 wrapper sbut getting fistfuls of 52's. This brings up three good points: 1) Every account I have read involves highs from '52 only being bought in nickel packs, so were they sold in penny packs that year? 2) Does this explain why there are dated and undated wrappers (penny and nickel variants exist for each year) from 1953-55? 3) Did Topps therefore consistently "reload" the previous year's high numbers in current packs during this time and if so, why?

Questions, questions....now we move to an answer, or at least an advice concerning the population of 1980 Topps Baseball Coins with reports of Carew in Bronze and Silver:

Carew Bronze 3
Garvey Bronze 1
Jackson Bronze 2 (plus one unconfirmed)
Carew Silver 1 (plus one unconfirmed)
Garvey Silver 2
Jackson Gold 3

All we need for a full player/metal Master Set is a Silver Jackson and Gold Carew and Garvey. Still no word on which ones have punch holes though.

Following the coins and their state of being, a few more presentation boards have shown upon Ebay. You may recall these were used for internal Topps "pitch" meetings and were most probably created by their Art Department. A few more details are known now (hooray) thanks to four pieces being auctioned by BMW Sportscards, alas one looks to have been sold and has disappeared but we have these still):



That's the 1966 Black Bat Batman Set, which shows how far back these go (which is around the time Topps moved facilities from Brooklyn to Duryea, PA). Here is the back of the board:



The numeral "1" makes a lot of sense as these would have been placed on large easels and handled manually, so an order of presentation would need to be established.

The next year a pitch was made for Crazy Comics:



These would become a scarce set called Krazy Little Comics, which looks to have been both tested and then on a very limited basis, perhaps due to threat of a lawsuit or two from the companies the little comic books were parodying. The back loses the border but retains the numeral "1":



We then jump ahead to 1977 and the set that sold and sold-Star Wars:



It's hard to tell here but the auction description indicates the C3PO sticker is original artwork-they painted his head over a 1976 Star Trek Sticker of Dr. McCoy!! We lose the numeral on the back for this one, so this may have been prepared for an initial review and not a full "pitch":



Sorry I missed out on grabbing a scan of the fourth board but ya snooze ya lose!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oh, Canada! (Part Deux)

We're back, with a second installment of the Topps Canadian Football League issues. This time, we'll take a peek at the last four years of Topps branded cards.

1962 brought another black and white set but with a twist:



Yes, these cards were actually minis when separated-yikes! While the 1962 Topps US football cards do have a small b&w picture they in no way resemble these. Issued in a series of 169 small cards, some are repeated with different partners on the larger "panels". I cannot find a reference showing how many different panels exist but would think 132 is a possibility. The mystery should be solved soon though as a top notch CFL card price guide is about to be issued (that link will work by the end of March 2010 by the way but you can contact the author now for more information: amalycky@telusplanet.net ).

The reverses on the 62's are also radically different from the US cards:



After two straight black and white sets, 1963 brought a nice change of pace:




A nice clean, simple design with a large picture area always works wonders on a set of cards, although these are a bit austere compared to what was going on south of the border in '63, where Topps was starting to use some daring designs on their FB cards (we'll get to those eventually, no worries) although it would take them a couple of years to get fully revved up.

88 CFL cards were issued in 1963 , so we are seeing a decline in production and I have to believe that the cards were not selling all that briskly. Indeed the attendance at CFL games with their smaller stadiums in this era was less than that in the US by more than half on a per game basis and there are just not as many Canadians as there are Americans, so the numbers may not have been adding up too well for the bean counters.

The reverses in '63 were part of a groiwng trend where Topps put interactive backs on many sets:



Those closely mirror the US reverses and you needed some red cello paper to check the quiz answer.

1964 brought dramatic changes and a hint of daring design at last, in another 88 card set:



Bold colors! The reverse would see a major design element repeated in two years on the backs of some Batman cards (Go here if you were a fan of the Batman TV series --still the best show ever in my book-- from 1966-68; I promise it will be worth your time) and were completely different than the US backs:



Again, you needed a special decoder to reveal the answer. These full bleed backs, a CFL card staple, make things tough these days if you collect mint cards! I have to say "Nobby" is a great nickname....

Topps ended their first CFL run in 1965 with what I consider their nicest looking card from these eight years, although they in no way, shape or form resembled the 1965 US cards:



We have 88 cards again with a really well-designed obverse. The backs are also pretty nice:



and actually share some design elements with the 1964 Topps hockey cards and 1965 US football cards, which are both infamous "tallboy" sets.

Topps would return to Canadian Football in 1968 and haltingly issue CFL cards for a few more years through its O-Pee-Chee arm. We'll take a look at the OPC cards real soon but will be back with a post on the 1960's CFL inserts before then.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oh, Canada! (Part Un)

No, this is not a hockey post! Today we turn our eyes to the sometimes Frozen North and start looking at an eight year run of Canadian Football League cards produced by Topps. It comes as a surprise to many folks that Topps produced CFL cards but starting in 1958, when the league was founded in a forging of powerful east and west factions that were themselves outgrowths of an even older Rugby league, they were there all the while to document the players.

Now, you may have your opinions about how 110 yard fields and 3 downs make it a different game (among other things) and I certainly have mine but CFL ball is pretty close to the brand played in the NFL and the CFL cards, at least initially, were also pretty close in appearance to their NFL counterparts.

The first set in 1958 numbered 88 cards and featured the 9 teams in the CFL sans the Montreal Alouettes. They are dead ringers for the US issued 58's but these were printed in Canada by O-Pee-Chee:



Since the CFL season starts about three months prior to the NFL's, the decision to make the cards look the same on both sides of the border must have been made in the winter of 1958. White background cards in each set have black information blocks while cards with different colors don't have this distinctive two-tone look. You can also see how the oval player photo led to the design of 1959 Topps baseball cards with their circular photo.

Disregarding all the French, the backs are similar to but not 100% identical with the NFL cards; they are cut from the same cloth so to speak:



I am going to run a series of posts on both design similarities across sets and year-to-year comparisons across countries over the spring, so hang tight!

The 1959 CFL cards (still 88 subjects) also shared a front design with the NFL cards and also had some design elements that were incorporated into the 1960 baseball series, especially in the lettering of the player's names:



Backs once again are very similar to but not quite a hundred percent match with the NFL cards and French and English co-exist.



The Grey Cup, mentioned in the cartoon above, predates the professional league that now plays for it, much like the Stanley Cup does in hockey. I really like the idea of the championship game being contested for possession of a trophy that the winning team gets to display and then literally protect and wonder why the US sports of baseball, football and basketball did not follow this lead considering the history of the America's Cup.

Things start diverging dramatically in 1960 as a horizontal format is used:



I quite like the b&w action background. Now, did this card combine some elements from the 1959 baseball (circular photo) and 1960 baseball cards (horizontal format)? Very possibly, says moi. Still, the set remained at 88 cards and the back, even allowing for the French, is very, very close to the NFL reverses:



We will end today's foray with the radically different '61 CFL obverse as the set adds 44 cards to leave 132 subjects displayed in glorious black & white:



Once again, the backs are pretty close to the 1961 NFL cards:



Meco's name really adds some Italian flair and almost makes this reverse trilingual!

Next time out we will see even more dramatic changes-stay tuned!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Coin Flip

My recent posts on the 1980 Topps Baseball Coins have generated the most interest of anything blogged about here since the 1966 Punchboards had their checklist inflated out of the blue a while back. I'm a little surprised at all the attention but these are pretty rare birds after all and we are not done with them quite yet as another surprise is in store.

Our story begins today with scans of the Reggie Jackson and Steve Garvey coins in their aboriginal state, namely on an internal Topps presentation "pitch" of a type seen previously, and clinches the fact for me that these were internally produced proofs for a set that never got the green light. This set is slowly revealing its secrets:



Shown are a front and reverse each of the gold Jackson and silver Garvey we saw here last time out, held on with double sided tape when purchased by our present lucky owner. This particular one predates the Scott Gaynor buyout of a former Topps sales rep earlier this century as it was purchased in 1995, at a flea market no less!

Back in 1980 you didn't use Powerpoint to make a a concept pitch to management, you had the Art Dept. create it for you, at least at Topps. The other metal (bronze) and player (Carew) known in this set probably also had their own board at some point, possibly shared with a bronze Jackson. Here are the back details of our two boys, first Reggie:



Then Steve:




The presently known population of the coins is small:

Carew Bronze 2
Garvey Bronze 1
Jackson Bronze 2
Garvey Silver 2
Jackson Gold 3

There is a credible report of a silver Carew and a possible third bronze Reggie. Some have a hole punched in the top, and I will post scans of these if I can get them. I am thinking there have to be at least two of each coin produced so a front and back could have been mounted for the pitch but still don't know if each is player minted in each type of metal, especially since only the Bronze run features all three at present. So we still would like to find a silver Jackson and gold Carew and Garvey. Given possible mixes and matches in the presentation, I think about four of each metal/player would have been produced in this type of scenario. Topps must have had an outside vendor cast these. I am also advised they are quite light and do not have the heft of a regular coin.

More to come folks!