Saturday, August 25, 2018

23 Who You?

More original Topps artwork this week folks.  The Lelands auction that gave us the 1969 Baseball Player Posters artwork has also offered up another treasure. This time it's the original artwork for the 1970 Baseball wax box:

The team name is not shown on the uniform but that's clearly a New York Mets player looking like he's about to bunt.  The Mets were a hot item of course, with their "Miracle" win over the Orioles in the 1969 World Series capturing the attention of much of the country.

That's also clearly Norman Saunders artwork, which is confirmed by the website maintained by his family.  It's a really impressive painting if you ask me.

The sharp-eyed among you will note the number 23 in the "cup" of the bat:

It could either be some type of manufacturer's identifier or a uniform number. I checked both the 1969 and 1970 uniform numbers for the Met and it was never assigned in either year. In 1968 though it was assigned, according to to the immortal Bob Heise, but the pictures I have found of him in a Mets uni show him as #3, which belonged to Bud Harrelson before Heise even joined the team. So maybe he borrowed Bud's uniform for a picture or two in Spring Training. So, my guess is that the painting is of a player for another team and adapted by Saunders to show ersatz Mets duds.

Here is the finished product, from an old REA auction:

I opened a ton of packs in 1970, which was my first heavy year of buying cards but to my memory most of mine came from Rak Paks. I don't remember buying much wax until I re-entered the hobby in 1981, preferring the Raks and Cellos but must have bought quite a few in '70 as I had a zillion inserts from that year and also 1971 back in the day. Memory is a funny thing!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Pasted Along The Way

A couple of really neat original Topps production items showed up in the just concluded Lelands "2018 Invitational" Auction.  As usual, I thought these were interesting enough to share. 

Leading off, two working proofs of the 1969 Topps Baseball Player Posters provide some fascinating insight into the creation of the set:

There's a lot going on here. First off, these appear to be black process player photo proofs prepared on acetate, which was a common method used by Topps at the time..  Check out how creepy Glenn Beckert looks with those almost empty eyes (you can just see his pupils if you look carefully) on the Cubs pasteup! Here, I;ve separated the two posters to make it easier to see:

It looks like these were created very early on, as Topps "built up" they layers needed to print the actual posters.  You can see where they even added some ersatz player autographs as placeholders showing where the signature should appear for each player.  They just used a squiggly line until they had an actual autograph to use I guess. Fergie Jenkins had a hybrid sig going on!

You can clearly see elements of paste on letters and what looks like crayon, but is actually acrylic paint and colored pencil)  in these as the layouts were made.  Now check out this Red Sox closeup:

The team banner is out of sync and corrections are clearly needed.  Here's a couple of them, the first in Woody Gelman's own hand:

That note says "fix chin over banner" and sure enough they did on the finished product as it looks like Ray Culp is about to be guillotined:

Woody must have really wanted that chin to pop as the instruction he wrote across the top of the layout also drew "Lou's" attention to it:

The notes across the bottom are not in Woody's hand, maybe they belong to Lou; they merely indictatethe colors should be brought out to the borders in any event. The attention to detail for a poster intended to be printed on cheap pulp stock is impressive.  Here's how it looked in 1969 when you pulled it out of the pack:

Here's the finished Cubs poster:

And as for Glenn Beckert?  Check out those baby blues:

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Linky Dinky

OK campers, lazy hazy days of summer are here and I am nothing if not the former at the moment.  So I thought I'd just cobble together a bunch of interesting links for you all.  I'll be back to the regular posts next week-get out there and enjoy the sunshine while you can!

I don't often highlight active auctions but sometimes they are just too tasty to ignore. Friend o'the Archive Anthony Nex has an uncut 1955 Topps Baseball sheet up for auction on eBay (for reals).  Check it out:

Keith Olbermann's Baseball Nerd blog is dormant but still worthy of your attention.

K-E-Double L-Oh-Double Good....check out this Kellogg's 3-D card blog of awesomeness.

Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius-indeed!

A fairly new vintage Non-Sports blog with a fine pedigree can be found here.

Vintage Hockey Cards Report lives up to it's name.

Basketball Tartare anyone?  Among its many treasures, some of which relate to our favorite card company, it has a strip of the 1970-71 Topps Basketball short prints:

The funny thing is, I don't believe that sheet extract was necessarily from the Guernsey's auction!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Top Hat

I'm not sure exactly how many Topps All Star Rookie Awards trophies have popped up for auction over the years but it would surprise me if the total has hit double digits.  So it was noteworthy indeed when one was hammered down in a Hunt Auctions offering recently. The trophy in question belonged to Tommy Harper, who had a solid but relatively unspectacular career that spanned 14 seasons and started off quite well in CIncinnati.

He was an original Pilot, selected from Cleveland after a season there and was probably Seattle's best player. He made the move to Milwaukee and held best player distinction there as well before getting traded to Boston after the 1971 season in a massive ten player deal you don't see the likes of anymore.

Harper recently consigned a number of items from his playing days to Hunt and happily for us it included his 1963 trophy:

It's a really nice piece but the top hat is a real head-scratcher, isn't it? Described as being just under ten inches tall, it's had some small repair work done but looks remarkably well preserved.

Included in the lot was a photograph of the ten award winners for 1963:

Going left to right, front to back, that's  Gary Peters, Jimmie Hall, Pete Rose, Jesse Gonder and Harper rounding out the front. Rusty Staub, Al Weis, Pete Ward, Ray Culp and Vic Davalillo are mostly all smiles in back.

Here's Harper in 1964, with his card sporting the little trophy Topps usually added for the award winners:

I say "usually" because the left it off poor Jesse Gonder's '64 entry:

Totally uncool.

Before signing off, here's the cover of the 1963 Banquet Program, which is my favorite of the eight issued from 1959-66: