Saturday, August 12, 2023

Iron Horseplay, or, Give A Hoot

Two killer (and fun) Topps pieces in two different auctions will be hammered later this week, each differing vastly from the other in subject matter but very much similar in scarcity. The checklists, incomplete for the moment (and possibly forever on one) for both are of interest to me as well.

As many readers here know, I have been trying to track down the final subjects in the 126 count "Small" version of 1955 Hocus Focus for years now, to complete what is now a 68-year-old checklist,. My last post on these had it down to 2.5 subjects (subset numbering was unknown for three subjects when I wrote it, with one of the fronts known).  Well all has been sorted out except for one final subject, thanks to this little bauble surfacing and now on offer the Love of The Game Auctions:

It's actually in a PSA slab now but I like the look of  the card outside of its holder.  Here is the reverse, it's #111:

Unreal!  When I started looking at this set in earnest while preparing my 2013 book on the early years of Topps, I was 17 subjects shy of completing the full list of subjects from nos. 97-126 (these 30 cards are the extension of the "Large" set, which concludes at #96). Now all that's needed is to find #97, which is possibly U.S. Grant (as Robert E, Lee is card #98).  Surely someone out there has knowledge or a scan!

The other fun piece is a 1953 painting that went unused in the Topps set that year, which has appeared in a framed piece on offer at Robert Edward Auctions:

These paintings come down through the family of Topps founder Phil Shorin and push the count of original art near 200 now (out of a possible 280+).  He must have been taken with the cleaner looking pieces, as only a couple have any trace of the rubber cement used in the production process on them. 

Now, take a look at the upper right corner painting:

Yup, it's Hoot Evers, a subject which, thanks to an old piece of correspondence from Keith Olbermann, was thought to exist as an unissued subject but had not been seen until now. I wonder if any more unissued subjects will ever turn up.  I suspect the odds are stacked against it but anything is possible in the Topps universe!

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