Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pretty Penney

Friend o'the Archive Al Richter, who has one of the more extensive collections of vintage Topps cards out there, gave me a heads up on some neat items related to the 1969 Baseball Team Posters set the other day and which turned out to be something I had never seen before.I'll get back to this little bit of detail shortly but first want to look at the set.

The posters  are quite large and feature head shots of eleven players from each of the 24 MLB teams in existence at the time of issue. These were sold in their own packs,for a dime, as this wrapper shows:

The odd thing about this set is the production code (lower right corner of the wrapper) ends in a 8, which means a 1968 production, so they were likely issued quite early in 1969.  The wrapper also lists Duryea and not Brooklyn as the place of manufacture, a changeover which did not occur on their mainstream packs (except the experimental cello ones) until the middle of the 1969 season. So this baby is one of the first products to list the new home of Topps (although their executives remained behind in Brooklyn at Bush Terminal). Here is a look at the box:

That Tigers poster on the cover of the box is also seen in this proof sheet of to posters (source unknown, sorry): 

Only a single poster came in each pack.  Each was folded many times and when opened measured out a whopping 12" x 20", which I believe was the largest item produced by Topps in their vintage era. It's a tough set for a couple of reasons as they are fragile (although not as thin as the poster inserts in 1967 and '70 or the 1968 Player Posters), display obvious fold lines and they are also hard to store and display.  On the plus side the photography is quite good, the posters are very colorful and they give a great look at the four new expansion teams in Montreal, San Diego, Seattle and Kansas City.

Here is a New York Mets poster that shows how they were folded to fit the packs

The Mets, Pilots and Yankees (featuring Mickey Mantle) are the three most sought after examples in case you were wondering. There is numbering in the lower left corner of all but two posters that describe each as "No. xx in a series of 24", although the aforementioned Mr. Richter has determined the posters of the Cubs and Red Sox are missing this line.

So back to the original teaser....while these are reprints, Al noted some ads listed on eBay that featured the set.  Here is one now:

The seller (hpotter56) also had a Yankees version:

These were designed to be window displays apparently but I want to find an extant ad or reference before declaring these ad posters real.  Assuming they are, they are neat items even if repros. 

It's hard to believe now but department stores such as Penneys and Sears had candy counters back in the day and also sold various pre-packaged confections.  I think Penneys was also the source for boxed sets of 1974 Topps baseball cards that were experimentally released almost forty years ago.

I guess the 1969 Team Posters were thought to be a hot item but not too many collectors who were kids back in the day recall them being available. I suspect a hoard of posters has been working its way into the market.  These used to be a lot harder to find than they are these days and in the past many were found with tack holes or corners missing or taped. There are many available these days that just have the fold lines and are pristine otherwise.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Double Flip

Well I don't want to be a frontrunner against my own update for 1949's Flip-O-Vision, slated for an upcoming issue of The Wrapper but a couple of things have transpired that lent insight into this obscure (and tough!) issue.  I'll leave the big update for the world of print media and instead concentrate on the little one, namely that if you own Production No 17, you probably only have one of the two versions that were issued.

Roddy McDowall, or Corenlius to you all, is the star of # 17 (and the "star of Allied Artists' "Tuna Clipper") but his Flip-o-Vision Production was titled either "Dollar Scholar" or "Look Mom, No Teeth":

I assume the interior did not match one of the titles so hence the change.  It's the only duplicate title I have seen so far in this set although more are rumored.  Many thanks to Claude Emond for pointing this out and kudos to Dan Caladriello for the top scan (from the Net54 Vintage NS Gallery).

Once The Wrapper article publishes, I'll update the other information here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ripple Effect

Spring is in the air and we all know what that means-REA's annual auction has blasted off and as always presents many wondrous things to bid and behold.  As longtime readers of this blog know, REA has long been a honey hole of Topps test issues and this time around there is a really neat piece that is related to the prototype 3-D cards used to develop 1968's 3-D Baseball.

There is a well known Brooks Robinson prototype card that you can see in the links linked above but Xograph/Visual Panographics also created a Football (Soccer) prototype that is equally as rare:

Love that team font!  The player depicted is actually a Brazilian named Jarbas Faustinho who player for Napoli from 1962-63 through 1968-69 before departing for three years. The back is blank but stamped in similar fashion to may baseball 3-D's:

Compare that to the stamps on the baseball versions (which are pre-production and not a prototype like the Robinson, which is unstamped):

As you can plainly see, the stamp is contained within the dimensions of the baseball version but not so on the soccer card.  Ergo, it must be a tad tinier but I'm not so sure. It also appears that the back of the soccer card uses a font made  up of dots, possibly from a dot matrix printer, while the blurriness of the baseball example above looks like a true rubber stamp was used.

It's a neat piece and like the Robinson prototype the number of extant examples can surely be counted on one hand.  Both the Robinson prototype and this card are said to come from an old Xograph employee so it looks some examples were returned to them after all!

Monday, April 8, 2013

News Flash

We have a canvassing occurring folks, courtesy of Mike White by way of Mongo.  Mr, White is trying to count the number of 1966-ish Topps Flash Gordon cards in existence. He has a grip on the PSA pop report but any non-PSA cards, including those from other third party graders or raw need to be counted. If you have or know of a (non-PSA) graded card, let him know the company and grade.

You can contact Mike at and follow his progress (I think) over at the Vintage Non Sports Forum over at Net54:

And you can view the entire set (there are not many out there) and Dan Calandirello's gallery, also at Net54:

Speaking of ol' Flash, take a look at the cover of this Nostalgia Press book of reprints that was orchestrated by none other than Woody Gelman:

There was a whole series of Flash books, in addition to other strips.  Woody was quite the aficionado of comic art.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Stand Up And Be Counted

Part homage to their past, part acknowledgement of the 1964 Major League All Star Game being played in New York and firmly part of the onslaught of extras Topps issued to commemorate the Mid Summer Classic, the 1964 Baseball Stand-Ups have enticed collectors for almost 50 years now.  There are 77 cards in the set, all of the same design and in true Topps fashion, 22 single prints make things difficult for the set collectors among us while two-toned full bleed borders and the punch-out feature make mint cards a rarity even if you forget that they were only sold in penny packs with gum.

The cards are quite well done.  Here's a few atop some unopened penny packs:

Sorry but I don't have any notes as to where that scan came from.. It could have been eBay though. I think Topps mostly sold these in the one cent packs as they had another bonus baseball set being sold in nickel packs, the so called Giants (actually named Baseball All Stars). There are nickel wrappers out there but they are not abundant.. Friend o'the Archive John Moran has sent a scan of one:

You could also buy a pack of regular baseball cards and get a coin or two as an insert-1964 was a real active year for the ancillary sets.

Here is an uncut sheet scan, I regret it does not blow up too well and you can't see which player is which.  This was in the 2012 Robert Edward Auction:

The pattern can be discerned though.  There are twelve rows and the double prints look like so:

Rows 1 & 9
Rows 2 & 10
Rows 3 & 11
Rows 4 & 12
Row 5 & 8 (one is upside down)

Single prints are in rows 6 and 7.  The SP's are as follows (cards are unnumbered):


While I am not a huge fan of population reports in determining scarcity, the PSA totals for The Stand-Ups tell a fairly complete story.  There are 12,501 total graded Stand-Ups as of April 2nd.  Of this, a mere 10 are 10's and only 2.17% of the population grades out at an unqualified 9.  The Giants of the same year have more cards graded (30,989) while there are 269 10's and a whopping 12,71% of the graded examples are true 9's.