For a few years now I have been aware that there may be a very rare Roberto Clemente test or proof sticker from 1967 that essentially reproduces his 1967 poster insert. A few months ago the Standard Catalog blog ran a post on this purported Topps product and I was able to obtain a scan from a collector while researching this oddity.
The sticker was from the Pittsburgh area from what I am told and is on high quality stock. There is also a Clemente autograph on it. You will notice the number is not present but it appears in all other respects identical to the issued player poster. The print quality is certainly good enough to make it a Topps product.
So, what do our viewers out there think?
I am no autograph expert but if the signature is legit then it enhances the possibility the sticker is legit too. Blue Sharpies were not put on the market until around 1979 but blue Flair pens existed in 1967. Determining from which pen the ink flowed (if that's even possible) would help determine authenticity as well. The fact that it may have originated in the Pittsburgh area (it was seen at a show there years ago) works against it a bit to my mind as something this rare is usually traced back to Woody Gelman and the Card Collectors Company in New York and I know of no such provenance for this item. The lack of a number though indicates it could be a pre-production piece from Topps. This is the sole copy known.
The sticker backing is described as similar to the '67 Red Sox and Pirates Stickers so it could have been run off on some of that stock by Topps, although I believe it is the same size as the regular poster. For every negative there is a positive I guess so it's an open question if this is a true Topps test or proof product. This is one mysterious item!