Saturday, April 1, 2023

Color Me Impressed

A really cool 1952 Topps piece popped up recently - an intact salesman sample and a colorful one at that.  Check it out, this thing is a marvel:

That is just a fabulous array of color, surely the results of a combined effort by Ben Solomon and Woody Gelman's art service.

The details are scant but succinct (and turned out to be correct):

While I'm sure there's more than just these out in the wild, I've found the following intact combinations via the some old auction archives, SGC and PSA pop reports:

8 Marsh/9 Hogue/10 Rosen

12 Bagsall/13 Wryostek/14 Elliot (as seen above)

18 Combs/19Bucha/20 Loes

41/Wellman/42 Kretlow/43 Scarborough

42/ Kretlow/43 Scarborough/44 Dempsey

45 Joost/46 Goldberry/47 Jones

58 Mahoney/59 Roberts/60 Hudson

Notice for instance the one number gap between the samples headed by no. 8 Marsh and then no. 12 Bagsall.  If you look a couple of entries down from them, you will see samples headed by no. 41 and then no. 42, so Topps was kind of jigsawing these.  I suspect this was related to the larger panels they would cut up and use as shock absorbers for the shipped cartons, which ended up hung as a display sometimes.  Look here, if you do the math on what's left from 4 column wide partials hug at Woolworth's in the Bronx during the initial rollout of the set, that leaves behind two 3 column strips per row:

True quads in a 5 x 5 array are also known.  Here's one, you can see the where the images for the  Mahoney/Robert/Hudson salesman sample were located:

A cut up of this one seems to be out there too based upon the SGC data:

71 Upton/72 Olson/73 Werle

Here is the Mahoney/Roberts/Hudson panel:

That has the salesman's sample reverse but by the time of the second series Topps had moved on to a better format:  

You will note the bottom border looks handcut.  It's impossible to know for sure but I'd say that was done by Topps and not the addressee, Mr. Joseph G. Spear. The right two cards (reverse view) look to be pasted over by the mailing label and I would think carry the card backs.:

That's 141 Hartung/142 Perkowski/143 Moss.  There's a lot more to all this and I'm sure other combinations are known (and by all means send me scans if you have any). Since it's April Fools Day, I'll leave off with this.  It's not clear if it's legit or not but Topps did sell the 52's in Canada, although possibly only starting with the second series.

There's some other things going on with these 1952 Topps Baseball that I'll get into next time.


John Bateman said...

It is interesting that these were marketed as giant-sized Baseball Cards

I understand that they were bigger than Bowman's baseball cards but since this was Topps first major release how could they call something Giant if there was nothing to compare it with.

From the point of view in time from 1960 or 1961 etc... (after Topps solidify the standard size of cards at 2 1/2 x 3 1/2) these cards would have seem to be Giant/larger in size but in 1952?

toppcat said...

All issues of this measurement were marketed as Giant Size by Topps. A campaign originally designed to point out the smaller Bowman cards, they just kept the monicker until Elvis rolled off the presses in late 1956.