A few weeks ago I posted some Topps Football Salesman Samples and a comment thereon marveled at the 1963 example shown, which had a purple background variation along with two "normal" blue backgrounds. I don't collect the 1963 Football set and am unfamiliar with the variations for the most part, so I thought I'd try to gather what information I could find about the them and the set itself here in a simple, easy (LOL) to read post. To refresh your memory (and mine) this was the '63 sample:
Blue, blue, purple-easy enough, right? Well, not exactly....especially after reading this ur-variation article: click over for a well researched piece. It's from an older, albeit oft-linked site and it notes the lesser known green background variants as well.
I've nicked the above scan from the linked site (rbwoodenpuzzles.com) or "rb" merely for reference purposes but you can see purple on the left-most card and (over-saturated) green on the right-most in the Nomellini card backgrounds. The green variations seem to have been done to correct for very drab looking grass and trees in many cases. The salesmen sample I showed in my original post and above is also referenced over at "rb" so it's been known for a while (2014 at least). This is all starting to remind me of the 1962 Baseball green tint variations!
PSA has a nice article on the set as well and notes the 116 purple background varieties, although I think "rb" has 115. I am not sure if all the green variations have been counted anywhere but there are a fair number of them. Neither color variant seems to follow the Topps "rule of 11" and as "rb" notes, they were changed at the lithographic level.
The set is 170 cards in length, which is an odd total in Topps-land and Mike Thomas's Vintage Football Card Gallery has a nice "reconstruction" project covering the sheet arrays. Here is sheet #1 via Mr. Thomas, which is reproduced from an actual half sheet that doesn't display too well:
3 Team Cards
4 Team Cards-Checklists
Hornung on the other hand, was a star offensive player (one of the biggest) and it's interesting to me that card #85, which theoretically would have kicked off the Packers numbering run, instead was assigned to the first checklist card.