Saturday, March 21, 2020

The Dating Game

The slow train-a-rollin' dating of the 1968 Topps Basketball test set continues.  You may recall Keith Olbermann's article here about 3.5 years ago, pointing toward a 1967-68 date vs the more commonly accepted 1968-69. The later dating is likely the result of the 1969-70 regular issue being thought to come on the heels of the test cards.  Well, a recent Heritage auction has given even more credence to the earlier dating (which is not in doubt).

Witness the test card of one John Joseph Havlicek:

 Here is the photo used to make the card up, according to the description Heritage wrote:

I didn't scan the whole things as the photo is annoyingly off kilter in the holder but the PSA label sort of purports this as well:

Now, all of that verbiage could mean a couple of different things and I'd like some back story on the actual production photo, which is likely undated and unwritten upon according to Mr. O, but take a look at the back:

Two things stand out to me:

1) the date of October 6, 1966 which is likely the date the photo was snapped; and

2) the "2 3/4 in" notation.

I have a card from this set-Jerry Sloan, and the top to bottom measurement of the photo on his card is 2 7/8 inches:

So, close but not an exact match.  Still, Topps was experimenting and anything is possible but it also seems that the photos vary in height from card to card.  From the original Olbermann post here, we saw this pair:


Hard to tell for sure but it looks like the Beatty picture is a hair shorter than that of Bridges.

So this doesn't really change anything but it does give us a neat collectible!

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