Monday, October 5, 2009

Repeating Designs

In addition to the mini theme of penny wrappers that will be weaving in and out of this blog, the other thing that has captured my attention lately is the way Topps would use certain design elements from one set in another set. Sometimes the sets involved are not all that common and it seems like Topps would save some effort by recycling a design.

Now there will be a large post, or even a series of posts on this phenomenon, sometime before then end of the year but one clear example are the 1973-74 Basketball insert stickers. As you can see from this shot of a grouping snagged from Ebay, the Basketball Stickers resemble the 1973/74 Baseball Action Emblems:

As you can see the design is essentially the same, the exception being Topps used real team logos and names. As you will recall, the baseball stickers were an attempt to circumvent licensing issues with Major League Baseball, a foray that did not succeed:

The basketball stickers feature all ten ABA teams and seventeen NBA franchises. As there are 33 different stickers, some different combinations were created in the NBA run, with six variants possible (Hawks, Celtics, Braves, Warriors, Lakers, Knicks going by the main logo). The ABA run was static.

My online buddy Jon has documented the basketball stickers and packaging at his Fleer Sticker site and I urge you to click on over there to take a gander.

There is another iteration of this design however:

(From Bobby Burrell's Vintage Hockey Collector Price Guide)

That is a 1974 Topps Hockey sticker insert (which came two per pack with yet another, different insert to boot). There are 18 NHL teams represented, plus a league logo, with five repeaters (Flames, Bruins, Canadiens, Rangers, Maple Leafs by the main logo). Those are real names and logos, just like the NBA stickers.

It would appear the Baseball Action Emblems (cloth version) came first in 1973 , then the NBA stickers came after later in '73, then a reissue of the Baseball Action Emblems (slick style) occurred in 1974 followed by the Hockey stickers later that year. That is a creative use of a design!

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