A trio of lots in the recently concluded Love of the Game Fall Premier Auction opened a window into the past and yielded some unexpected surprises (is there any other kind?) related to Topps Sports Club. The Club and its newsletter has been covered here before but LOTG has unearthed "kits" for each of the three major sports seasons (baseball, football and a combined hockey/basketball) that show how much value Topps put into this marketing effort.
The baseball themed TSC entry in 1975 led off what was, I believe, a five issue run. Check out what came in the envelope (not shown but included with this and the other lots I am examining here:
This is actually the least interesting of the three offered kits for reasons that will soon be apparent. The certificate is pretty standard fare although it looks like the included flyer has upped the premium ante beyond what was found on your typical Bazooka Joe comic. The newsletter is fabulous although I've looked at it more comprehensively in the past and dig that (paper) Steve Garvey photo! But the team checklist sheet is a stunner. It was available through other offers I believe but it does make sense Topps would include it herein as the ad for the Club on their wax wrappers does state "sample cards" would be provided.
The football edition though, ups the sample ante considerably:
Topps Sports Club newsletter? Check!
Awesome Bob Griese photo? Check! It's the first in the Sports Club "friends" style as well, the Garvey was not stylized at all.
Awesome team checklist sheet? Check!
Premium offers galore? Check!
Sample 1975 Football cards printed on thinner stock? Check! Wait, what......Yes, the auction description describes these as being on "slightly thin" stock! I have to confess, that is something I have not seen described before. That should open a big can of worms!
Hockey and basketball had to settle for a combo mailing:
Those basketball checklist cards are tough-harder than the baseball and football ones from what I have seen although all but baseball are difficult. No hockey checklists though, and I wonder why as it looks like Topps was getting some help defraying costs from The Hockey News. It's also a bit odd to see the baseball samples (again on thin stock) here so late in the year, maybe they were with the baseball kit and got mixed in here? I like the cover letter and while I didn't bid on this lot, would like to see what it says someday. Bobby Clarke looks like he's contemplating a penalty, no?
Three issues comprised Volume 1, Volume 2 would see baseball and football editions with photos of Joe Morgan and Lynn Swann respectively. The whole thing then went belly up near as I can tell. Were there thin stock samples provided in '76? I do not know but would love to find out.