Saturday, August 27, 2016

Good Night John Boy

1973 saw a double test by Topps of a set featuring The Waltons, a burgeoning show on CBS that featured the namesake family dealing with life's trials and tribulations during the Depression and World War 2.  Fifty cards, mostly in horizontal format, were issued and the backs feature puzzles or "collecting and farming tips" similar to those found on the reverses of the Adam-12/Emergency, The Rookies, or Six Million Dollar Man test issues of the same era.

A pink theme was thought to be in order by Topps, presumably as the show's younger viewing demographic skewed female:




The vertically oriented cards look a little weird, to me the logo looks squished:



I mentioned a double test.  The first, or "A" test, featured a pack style frequently seen with test issues of the 60's and 70's:


The alternate test was sans bubble gum:


That's just the sticker portion by the way.  The pack would have looked the same as the gum version did but, in what is a first for me, I spotted a scan of just the sticker which also, crucially, showed the back.  I've never seen an intact test pack sticker before


Neat, huh? Tops must have sourced their test pack labels from a different company than the one that provided some very scarce sticker stock for Wacky Packages, i.e. Ludlow. 

The Waltons cards are scarce but slightly more abundant than examples from the aforementioned Adam-12/Emergency or The Rookies sets and maybe a little tougher than Six Million Dollar Man.

The Waltons Museum has a portion of an uncut sheet that displays the full set plus the five extra prints (right side running top to (almost) bottom:



Here's the reverse, which shows all the puzzles:



I have to confess I was never a fan of the show (I thought it was dumb) but did watch the other test issue shows from 1973-74.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Top Ten List

So we are, amazingly, coming up on eight years of this blog and as I was rolling around in the "posts" section, which I do occasionally and where I can see stats, etc., I noticed a couple of eye-popping page counts for a few posts over the years.  So I thought I would take a look today at the top ten posts in terms of page views, which led to a few surprises.

As of the date I am composing this (July 30, 2016) the blog has 56 subscribers and an average post gets roughly 135 page views; 658 posts have been made as of this date. It takes a couple of weeks after a post for that page view count to be reached. Some posts have very few views, especially those from the early days (Sept.-Dec. '08), although a post I made on the 1961 Dice Game set on January 2, 2009 seems to have brought attention here hence, likely because I mentioned it over at Net54.

Speaking of the Dice Game and before I get rolling here, I just noticed something today as I was editing the scans to insert here.  Take a look:




Look closely at the baserunning results boxes (the three little boxes to the right of each batting result).  They are hand drawn! I guess there were size limits on those great Topps fonts after all and the variety is vast on these:


Speaking of variety, there is quite a bit of it among the top ten topics and a couple have an exponentially higher number of views than those that came before. Counting down, we start with:

#10 (973 views) - Test Pattern-The Mid 60's Black and White TV Cards From Topps (Part 4) which was the conclusion of a popular four part series on black and white test cards of TV shows issued by Topps in the 60's. Land Of The Giants, Captain Nice and Bonanza were highlighted. Part 1 is even more popular, as we'll see below.

#9 (999 views) - Catching Up on Coins and Cards almost made it to four digits, we'll be there soon I bet.  This covered a few areas: 1952 Baseball high numbers, Batman, Krazy Little Comics, 1980 Baseball Coins, presentation boards and prototypes. I don't do as many wide ranging catch up threads as I used to as I tend to just devote a full post to one updated topic these days

#8 (1,007 views) - Easy As A&BC  is one of the surprises to me.  The post covered the 1970 English & Scottish Footballer sets issued by what was essentially a company Topps controlled via indebtedness.  When I posted this one, Blogger didn't allow ampersands; I went back later and converted every "and " to "&". Don't ever say I'm not willing to go the extra kilometer for all of you!

#7 (1,119 views) - Naughty Not Nice, a look at those fake Rak Paks polluting the hobby for decades now. Caveat Emptor!

#6 (1,127 views) - Bigger, Longer, Uncut, which featured 1952-56 Baseball uncut sheets and panels. Uncut Topps sheets have always been one of my favorite subjects, yours too apparently.  Too bad many are being cut up after market in the quest for high grade slabbed cards. I'm a firm believer in vintage collectibles staying in the form in which they have survived down the years and decades.

#5 (1,378 views) - Test Pattern-The Mid 60's Black and White TV Cards From Topps (Part 1) kicked off the series capped by our #10 starter.  This one had a few regular issue color cards (Beverly Hillbillies, Outer Limits) mixed in with Daniel Boone, Bewitched, King Kong, Superman and Flash Gordon.

#4 (1,476 views) - Fleer Factory showcased the other major competitor Topps had in Philadelphia in addition to Bowman. Fleer got involved with issuing cards for real in 1959 and was a major threat to Topps' baseball card supremacy in the early and mid 1960's. They sold their player contracts to Topps in 1966 but a decade later their lawsuit paved the way for the modern era of baseball cards that started in 1981. This is one of my favorite posts.

#3 (1,903 views) - Who Ya Callin' Short?!, another favorite of mine, harkened back to my first piece of hobby research, namely the 1967 high numbers. 1967 is an immensely popular set and the high numbers have been the subject of scrutiny for decades. I first realized Topps often printed two different sheets for each series during their golden era as a result of this research.  For the record, the eleven true short prints in the high numbers are: 552 Savage, 553 Yankees Rookies, 558 Orioles Rookies (Belanger), 563 Adcock, 568 Sullivan, 581 Mets Rookies (Seaver), 586 Jiminez, 591 Cline, 597 Abernathy, 603 A's Rookies, 607 Stanley.  An open question is whether or not the 67 high number short prints are harder than those from the year prior.

#2 (2,423 views) - Field Guide To Dating Topps Wrappers explored various ways to date Topps products based upon the clues on the wrappers.  A lot of my research depends upon the indicia found on retail wrappers or the bottoms of retail boxes. I thought this would be the top viewed post but it wasn't, not by a long shot.

#1 (5,976 views) - New New Developments (Blue Sky Version) took an in depth look at the 1967 Baseball Punchout set.  I was shocked to see how many page views it had. Oddly other posts on this set did nowhere near this number and were mostly in the low hundreds. I almost have to question this view count then but Google says what it says.

So baseball, UK soccer and non-sports seem to be among the most popular subjects around here.  I'll be looking more and more at the non-sports issues from Topps going forward as that's where my main interest lies these days but we'll still have the usual mish-mash of topics here as we get close to and enter our ninth year.





Saturday, August 13, 2016

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other One

Dating anomalies fascinate me.  No, not like Lyle Lovett and Julia Roberts when they were courting, but when dates of issue on a set are seemingly off by a year or so despite evidence to the contrary.

One that caught my eye recently was the 1953 Topps License Plates issue of 1952. You probably just went "Huh?" huh?  Well it's pretty simple.

We've seen the set before but here's a peek at one of the cards, a non-state as it were, at least at the time:




Dig those 1950 census figures!

That Alaska License Plate is a reminder of how Topps stretched 48 states plus DC into a 75 card set. Those 49 plus the one above made 50, which would have been a nice round number but Topps was also interested in selling the set elsewhere, so 9 Canadian Provinces (missing was Newfoundland & Labrador, only established in 1949) 4 Australian States (2 missing for no good reason at all), 3 Swiss Cantons (what?) and 9 additional countries filled things out.

The penny wrapper reiterates the plates 1953 dating:


One cent Topps packs generally did not carry copyright dates but some of their nickel packs did back then.  This Canadian five cent wrapper clearly has a 1952 copyright date and no "1953" reference in the graphics:


A lot of extant Topps non sports five cent packs and wrappers from 1948-53 or so hail from Canada, as do many cards, including baseball and hockey.  I assume a jobber or five held returns and that they were eventually discovered but what's interesting is that these finds have occurred across the country and are not isolated to one geographic area. Others probably languished in the US, never being shipped out to begin with but if you see an "elongated" five cent wrapper or pack from this time, chances are it came from North of the Border.

In the end, the date is actually not that big of a mystery.  Sets that were intended to be issued early in a calendar year would sometimes be copyrighted very late the year prior. Furthermore, new car models would come out well before their designated calendar year. I just liked this one as the 1952/53 juxtaposition is pretty obvious.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Wrinkle In Time

Another guest post from Keith Olbermann , wherein two crazy scarce test baseball and basketball sets are re-dated. The baseball dating is due to common sense but it took some sleuthing on the basketball side. Mr. O is referring back to his 1967 test USA hockey post here at the beginning but I've already run a post in the interim, so you'll have to stitch them together yourselves! 

The release dating of 1950-70's Topps issues for Basketball and Hockey, especially the latter, continues.


---------------------

Yeah, so the years on the “1968-69 Topps Basketball Test” and “1967 Topps Giant Stand-ups Test” sets are also wrong. 
       Sorry.
       These postulations doesn’t require nearly as much explanation as why that’s actually the 1967-68 Topps Hockey Test set, not the 1966-67. They both pivot not on a seldom-noticed pattern of player transactions, but the simple fact that cards in each set reference a team that didn’t exist in the supposed year of issuance.
       The Giant Stand-ups set is fantastic and imposing. The cards are the size of the ’64 Giant Baseball set, but about six times as thick. They feel like you could break some skin if you threw one at somebody. The color head shots against the shiny black background is just fantastic. And the set contains number 23, Jim Hunter, of the Oakland Athletics.



       The A’s didn’t move to Oakland until 1968. The cards could not have been made in 1967, unless Topps was guessing that the rumors were true and Charlie Finley really was moving the team at season’s end. By 1967 there had been stories — all circulated by Finley — that he was moving to Oakland. Or Dallas. Or Louisville. Or Seattle. Or staying in Kansas City.
       These cards were made in 1968.
       And by the way I have seen several supposed experts in the field declare that these were “uncirculated.” Nonsense. I can’t testify first or second hand that they were actually sold to store customers (as I can about ’68 Topps 3-D), but I have seen a bunch of these beauties which were evidently used as stand-ups and are missing the part of the card around the player’s head. I don’t think that’s an accident or something a modern collector did. Besides, the perforations required to create the stand-up required specialized production equipment. If Topps made these cards only for internal review they wouldn’t have wasted the money. The claim that they never left the shop probably results from the discovery a decade ago of a bunch of full-thickness proofs which do not have the die-cut impressions.

        Meanwhile, the basketball set, always listed as dating to 1968-69, is certainly not from that year. It’s possible — even probable — that the cards were printed and distributed (and again, too many roughed-up cards exist to suggest these never hit the streets) in the late winter or early spring of 1968, but the cards absolutely pertain to 1967-68, not 1968-69.
        There are only 22 cards in the set, and three of them show players (Zelmo Beaty, Bill Bridges, and the misspelled “Len Wilkins”) from the St. Louis Hawks. On May 3, 1968, the Hawks’ franchise was sold to Georgia interests who announced they were moving it to Atlanta for the 1968-69 season. The NBA approved the shift a week later.

                      


        If that’s not enough evidence for you, two months later Wilt Chamberlain was traded to the Lakers. Yet he appears in this set with the Philadelphia 76ers, and the image that the puzzle backs of this set forms also shows him in a Philly uniform. As illustrated on the back of Hal Greer’s cards, the socks on Chamberlain’s puzzle image have already been re-touched — the uniform could have easily been altered, too.



 If you’re testing to see if basketball would sell to the gum smackers of the late ‘60s, you’re not going to put out an outdated card of the sport’s biggest name, nor three cards from a team that had just changed cities.


        There’s also another bit of evidence that dates the set as 1967-68. Card #12 features the rookie of the year for that season, Earl Monroe of Baltimore. That fact is often used to support the 1968-69 dating. But look at it. The card shows Monroe in the uniform not of the Bullets, but in the generic garb of his college team, Winston-Salem State. 


        The other evidence used to backstop the 1968-69 date is the inclusion of Bill Bradley in a Knicks’ uniform. Hard to conceive this now, but Bradley’s arrival in the NBA was probably as ballyhooed as Wilt Chamberlain’s nearly a decade earlier. But after traveling to England to continue his education at Oxford for two years after the Knicks drafted him, Bradley’s debut was further delayed until December, 1967, because of military service. This would seemingly be conclusive — why would Topps scramble to get a shot of Bradley for a silly test card when any one of a dozen other stars could’ve filled the space in the set? — except that a quick perusal of the old basketball books and guides of the era shows pretty quickly that all 22 of the photos in the Topps set were publicity shots released by the teams. Monroe’s college shot was probably distributed by the Bullets as soon as he officially made the club in October, 1967 (or maybe even the day he was drafted), and I recently discovered that Bradley did a photo shoot for the Knicks in the spring of 1967, before going into the Air Force Reserves.


        When I first heard of this set some time in the ‘70s, it was always referred to as “1968 Topps Test Basketball.” I think that’s where the presumption came from that it was from 1968-69 — you hear “1968” and you don’t think “1967-68.” The decision to include two rookies like Bradley and Monroe suggests the season had already begun by the time the cards were put together, so it’s likely that they really were put out in calendar 1968.
        But, during the 1967-68 NBA season. Not the 1968-69 one.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Mark Of Distinction

Remember a couple of months ago when I wrote we had reached the end of the trail on the 1971 Topps Winners set?  Boy, was I wrong!

No, we don't have any cards to add to the checklist of 19 subjects, although it looks like we finally know why the remaining six winners did not have cards. However, what we do have is an actual winner from the contest!  Yes, thanks to the dogged efforts of Friend o'the Archive Jake Ingebrigston the final missing details of this contest have now been revealed.

Jake tracked down Mark Audia:




Mark was nice enough to forward some of the correspondence he received from Topps. The initial notification from Topps in November of 1971 was quite full of information:



We have confirmation now that 1000 cards were created for each Winner, plus an additional 24 inserted into each pack in a box of 1972 wax packs. 1000 cards, presumably delivered in two vending boxes, of something this esoteric is actually a high count to my mind.  Of course, it's the surviving copies that determine scarcity and not too many have survived over the years.

However, the mystery of the missing six Winners (25 winning entries were advertised) looks to be solved as the Winner could choose either a full 1971 or 1972 Baseball set instead.  Obviously Mark took the cards of himself over a complete set.

It's interesting too that a full set of six series was completely printed by the beginning of March. (Ed. Note: Per Keith Olbermann, some shots in the 6th series were taken in Spring Training 1972, indicating the 1972 set was to be shipped in series, or at least chunks) 

The second letter was really just a heads up that his cards would be arriving:


The final letter was from Sy Berger himself and it's a whopper (the Topps letterhead portion is actually in color):


Topps took Mark's two favorite players, as shown on the back of his card (and taken from the questionnaire), and incorporated them into the letter.  Easy stuff to do in the computer age but Sy's secretary had to actually type 19 different versions of the same letter (and six of a slightly different one)!

It's worth noting Clarksburg WV is located about 60 miles Southwest of Pittsburgh, which was one of the main distribution areas in 1971 for the boxes and packs of baseball cards that had the contest entries. Why the contest was not fully nationwide is beyond me, even with "thousands" of entries but it clearly was not, with only a handful of locales able to enter based upon the geographic concentrations of the winners. I have to believe the Winners contest was, at the end of the day, yet another marketing or sales tabulation exercise conducted by Topps.

Finally, the set should really be a 1972 issue but I'm not going to go trying to change 45 years of conventional hobby wisdom.

NOW, we're done!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Prayer For Owen Ricker

We have a special guest blogger today folks. Keith Olbermann was nice enough to share his latest insights on the "1966-67 USA Test" Hockey set. You will quickly see why I used quotes around most of that once you start reading this fascinating post, as his conclusion looks bulletproof to me. So without further ado:

The 1966-67 Topps American “Test” Hockey set was actually issued in 1967-68.

         I reached this conclusion circa 1973 and I’ve never seen any evidence that contradicts it. Nor, sadly, have I ever seen anybody acknowledge what to me is blatantly obvious. A simple comparison of the players included in the Canadian series and in the lighter-grained American version either requires that the American cards were distributed a year later, or that whoever picked the players in the American set was the greatest sports psychic of all time.

         Remember that the NHL doubled in size to twelve teams with the landmark expansion in June, 1967. Not only were literally dozens of players from the “Original Six” drafted by the six teams in the new NHL West, but new and old teams alike scrambled to trade for what they didn’t get, or no longer had.

         Subtracting the coaches, All-Stars, and others, there are only 108 player cards in the Topps Canadian 1966-67 set. 34 of those players changed teams in June, 1967 trades or in subsequent trades. The cards of all but one of those 34 players are not in the Topps American Test set.

         So if that American test set really was issued in the same year as the Canadian cards, we have to believe that whoever culled the 132-card Canadian set down to 66 Americans didn’t pick the obvious and simplest way — just use Canadian cards 1-66. Instead, he took 30 cards numbered 67 or higher and seeded them in to the American checklist and in doing so,accidentally chose to remove all the guys who would be on different teams in 1967-68! If this is correct, one hopes this gentleman retired from Topps and went into gambling or the stock market because that kind of ability to forecast the future would have made the cliched legend of Nostradamus look like a guy who once made a lucky guess on a coin flip.

         But of course, as I wrote above, one of the 34 players who would be with a different club is in the American series. For my money, that just proves the conclusion that the American set is actually from 1967-68. The player is Red Kelly, the Hall of Famer who is listed with the Leafs in both series: card #79 in the Canadian issue and #42 in the American.

         What little is known to the hobby of how the Topps American cards were distributed comes to us from Owen Ricker, a Canadian collector prominent in the ‘60s and ‘70s. He insisted that he had located cards from kids who had collected them when they were released, and that the kids were from Long Beach, California, and that the kids had said the cards hadn’t been sold in stores — they had been handed out without gum or any identification by neighborhood Ice Cream Truck drivers. After Ricker wrote up these details in The Trader Speaks in the early ‘70s, the next bit of hard information about the distribution came in Bobby Burrell’s Vintage Hockey Card And Collectible Price Guide in 2015, in which the cards were identified as having been distributed only in cello packs, which are said to have codes indicating the cards were packaged in 1967.

         What does this have to do with Red Kelly?

         The only guy in the American set whose status changed between the 1966-67 and 1967-68 seasons and yet still had a card in each series, left the Maple Leafs that summer to become…the first coach of the Los Angeles Kings. 

         My complete theory about the Topps Test set is this. The NHL went from having teams in four American cities in 1966-67 to having them in ten in 1967-68. Topps, having not sold hockey cards in this country in thirteen years, decided it was time to test the market. The expansion made 1967-68 a tough year to make hockey cards anywhere on the continent. None of the expansion teams are depicted in the 1967-68 Canadian set, and many of the cards that were made relied on brand new photos from the training camps of 1967, suggesting the Canadian cards might have been released later than usual that year. If Topps wanted to see if kids responded to hockey in Los Angeles and if they wanted to do it early in the season, the only cards they could’ve used would have been versions of the ’66-67 set.

          So the adjustments were made as cheaply as possible (lose the French off the back, drop all the players whose cards were now out of date, make sure the superstars who were not in the 1966-67 numerical sequence like Gordie Howe and Jean Beliveau replaced some of the players who were dumped) and throw in arguably the most recognizable name associated with the new team in the largest new American hockey market - Coach Red Kelly of the L.A. Kings.

          So why not change the card so it read “Coach, Los Angeles Kings”? Or why not include other new Kings like goalie Terry Sawchuk and their original captain Bob Wall? Indeed, why not include other superstars who had gone in the expansion like Glenn Hall and Andy Bathgate and acknowledge the existence of the new American teams? Why wouldn’t those 33 dropped players, all but one of whom went to American teams, have been more appealing in a set designed to test a post-expansion American kid’s taste for hockey cards than the stars of the Montreal Canadiens? I can’t offer an explanation other than laziness or haste. Even if remaking the card fronts would have been too time-consuming or expensive, the backs could have easily been updated, and the color of the wood grain on the front was changed anyway.


(Canadian Red Kelly above and below)




(USA Kelly above and below.  Note white stripe on front, found on many US cards)



            Of course, some of these side questions might lose relevance if the American Test set was tested only in Los Angeles. There is something authentic-sounding about Topps, not having a couple of reliable candy stores near Brooklyn HQ to vend their test marketing into an unsuspecting universe, simply cutting a deal to have the cards handed out by the Good Humor Man. The locale Ricker’s kids cited — Long Beach — is especially suggestive. The Kings played the first two home games in their history not in the not-quite-finished L.A. Forum nor even the hockey-ready L.A. Sports Arena, but in the Long Beach Arena.

           Anyway, these are ancillary points. It’d be lovely if they could all be explained. But they overshadow the main one, which is: this is another ‘60s Topps test set that has been assigned the wrong year of issue (the others are 1967 Topps Baseball Giant Standups, which have to be from 1968 because pitcher Jim Hunter is listed with the Oakland A’s, who didn’t move from Kansas City until after the 1967 season, and the 1968-69 Topps NBA Test set, which is clearly from the 1967-68 season because it shows Zelmo Beaty and Len Wilkens with the St. Louis Hawks, who moved to Atlanta in the off-season of 1968).

           The chart below shows each change between the two wood-grain hockey sets, and each change for the players in the original 1966-67 Canadian issue. The pure math is messed up a little by the inclusion in the American set of Red Kelly, plus 64 players active in both seasons, plus one 1966-67 coach (Punch Imlach, who might be there because as any hockey fan knows, he coached the Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup in ’67). It is interesting to note that ten players who didn’t change teams didn’t make the American cut — and a disproportionate seven of them were with Canadian teams.

           Oh and by the way, since the 1967 Expansion and “The Original Six” are the centerpiece to my conclusion about these cards, I should mention that there is no “Original Six” — but that’s an argument for a different venue.

1966-67 Topps Card 67-68 Status; USA Set?
2 Lorne Worsley Canadiens; USA #2
3 Jean-Guy Talbot To N.Stars; No USA Card
4 Gilles Tremblay Canadiens; USA #4
5 J.C. Tremblay Canadiens; USA #5
6 Jim Roberts To Blues; No USA Card
7 Bobby Rousseau Canadiens; USA #7
8 Henri Richard Canadiens; USA #8
9 Claude Provost Canadiens; USA #9
10 Claude Larose To N.Stars; No USA Card
11 Punch Imlach Maple Leafs; USA #11
12 Johnny Bower Maple Leafs; USA #12
13 Terry Sawchuk To Kings; No USA Card
14 Mike Walton Maple Leafs; USA #14
15 Pete Stemkowski Maple Leafs; USA #15
16 Allan Stanley Maple Leafs; USA #16
17 Eddie Shack To Bruins; No USA Card
18 Brit Selby To Flyers; No USA Card
19 Bob Pulford Maple Leafs; No USA Card
20 Marcel Pronovost Maple Leafs; USA #20
22 Rod Seiling Rangers; USA #22
23 Ed Giacomin Rangers; No USA Card
24 Don Marshall Rangers; USA #24
25 Orland Kurtenbach Rangers; USA #25
26 Rod Gilbert Rangers; USA #26
27 Bob Nevin Rangers; USA #27
28 Phil Goyette Rangers; USA #28
29 Jean Ratelle Rangers; USA #29
30 Earl Ingarfield To Penguins; No USA Card
32 Ed Westfall Bruins; USA #32
33 Joe Watson  To Flyers; No USA Card
34 Bob Woytowich To N.Stars; No USA Card
35 Bobby Orr  Bruins; USA #35
36 Gilles Marotte  To B.Hawks; No USA Card
37 Ted Green Bruins; USA #37
38 Tom Williams Bruins; USA #38
39 Johnny Bucyk Bruins; USA #39
40 Wayne Connelly To N.Stars; No USA Card
41 Hubert "Pit" Martin To B.Hawks; No USA Card
43 Roger Crozier Red Wings; USA #43
44 Andy Bathgate To Penguins; No USA Card
45 Dean Prentice Red Wings; USA #45
46 Paul Henderson Red Wings; USA #46
47 Gary Bergman Red Wings; USA #47
48 Bryan Watson To Canadiens; No USA Card
49 Bob Wall  To Kings; No USA Card
50 Leo Boivin To Penguins; No USA Card
51 Bert Marshall  To Seals; No USA Card
52 Norm Ullman Red Wings; USA #52
54 Glenn Hall To Blues; No USA Card
55 Wally Boyer  To Seals; No USA Card
56 Fred Stanfield To Bruins; No USA Card
57 Pat Stapleton Black Hawks; USA #57
58 Matt Ravlich Black Hawks; USA #58
59 Pierre Pilote Black Hawks; USA #59
60 Eric Nesterenko Black Hawks; USA #60
61 Doug Mohns Black Hawks; USA #61
62 Stan Mikita Black Hawks; USA #62
63 Phil Esposito To Bruins; No USA Card
67 Jacques Laperriere Canadiens; No USA Card
68 Terry Harper Canadiens; No USA Card
69 Ted Harris Canadiens; becomes USA #41
70 John Ferguson Canadiens; becomes USA #65
71 Dick Duff Canadiens; No USA Card
72 Yvan Cournoyer Canadiens; becomes USA #13
73 Jean Beliveau Canadiens; becomes USA #31
74 Dave Balon To N.Stars; No USA Card
75 Ralph Backstrom Canadiens; becomes USA #6
76 Jim Pappin Maple Leafs; becomes USA #49
77 Frank Mahovlich Maple Leafs; becomes USA #51
78 Dave Keon Maple Leafs; becomes USA #30
79 Leonard "Red" Kelly Maple Leafs; becomes USA #42*
80 Tim Horton Maple Leafs; No USA Card
81 Ron Ellis Maple Leafs; No USA Card
82 Kent Douglas To Seals; No USA Card
83 Bob Baun To Seals; No USA Card
84 George Armstrong Maple Leafs; becomes USA #17
85 Bernie Geoffrion Rangers; becomes USA #36
86 Vic Hadfield Rangers; becomes USA #19
87 Wayne Hillman Rangers; becomes USA #34
88 Jim Neilson Rangers; becomes USA #55
89 Al MacNeil To Penguins; No USA Card
90 Arnie Brown Rangers; becomes USA #48
91 Harry Howell Rangers; becomes USA #18
92 Gordon "Red" Berenson Rangers; becomes USA #10
93 Reg Fleming Rangers; becomes USA #54
94 Ron Stewart To Blues; No USA Card
95 Murray Oliver Maple Leafs; No USA Card
96 Ron Murphy Bruins; becomes USA #33
97 John McKenzie Bruins; becomes USA #66
98 Bob Dillabough To Penguins; No USA Card
99 Ed Johnston Bruins; becomes USA #64
100 Ron Schock To Penguins; No USA Card
101 Dallas Smith Bruins; becomes USA #3
102 Alex Delvecchio Red Wings; becomes USA #63
103 Pete Mahovlich  Red Wings; becomes USA #21
104 Bruce MacGregor Red Wings; becomes USA #56
105 Murray Hall To N. Stars; No USA Card
106 Floyd Smith Red Wings; No USA Card
107 Hank Bassen To Penguins; No USA Card
108 Val Fonteyne To Penguins; No USA Card
109 Gordie Howe Red Wings; becomes USA #23
110 Chico Maki Black Hawks; becomes USA #53
111 Doug Jarrett  Black Hawks; No USA Card
112 Bobby Hull Black Hawks; becomes USA #40
113 Dennis Hull Black Hawks; becomes USA #1
114 Ken Hodge To Bruins; No USA Card
115 Denis DeJordy Black Hawks; becomes USA #50
116 Lou Angotti To Flyers; No USA Card
117 Ken Wharram        Black Hawks; becomes USA #44
    * Kelly’s rights traded from Toronto to Los Angeles on 6/5/67 and he immediately retired as a player to become L.A. coach

Saturday, July 16, 2016

At A Premium

Here is my final look at the vintage years of Topps and O-Pee-Chee Hockey issues. This last look will focus on mail-in offers available from the wrappers and a sole insert offer.

In 1960-61 you could order a generic Topps Hobby Card Album, which Topps offered for years across various wrappers and product lines:


Before plastic sheets it was pretty much these or photo corners to display your cards:


I took a longer look at that album six years ago here.

1972-73 saw the first offer for the cardboard sports card lockers Topps (via OPC, there was no corresponding American offer) was famous for, now in a hockey only edition with only five wrappers and a buck standing between you and forever dinged corners on your cards:


The locker actually had some decent graphics, all things considered:




It was clear who designed this bad boy:

I think a few slight variations exist, as some seem to feature the hockey player with more shading.  1973-74 brought forth yet another locker, albeit with a bit of inflation factored in:




This one we have seen before as it covered all four major sports and came with the stickers to prove it:

 (Courtesy Harry Hoyle)


The parade of lockers is just beginning kids!

For 1973-74 you could order a nice NHL album as well. Do you think the kiddies were happy when they sent in $1.25 and got a 69 cent album in return?!:




Yes, that was from Dell in the U.S.  At a guess, O-Pee-Chee got them at retail prices!

1974-75?  Sports Card Locker.


The locker offered this season looked a lot like the one from two years prior but featured some updates to stay current and and featured almost the same front (four divisions now):



1975-76? Super Sports Card Locker:


Five bucks for a premium has to be some kind of record for the time! 


Snazzy, huh?  Topps offered these on a variety of sports product wrappers in the 1970's (and into the 80's, although the design changed). You can tell it apart from one offered in the early 80's by the curved Topps logo on top:



1976-77 ? Super Sports Card Locker (gotta be the same one, albeit two bits cheaper than last year's model):



You could also get an embroidered comic team patch (or crest) beginning in 1976, a promotion that like the lockers ran for a couple more years at least:


The patches are a bout four inches tall and all pretty much look like this:


Both the Super and regular locker premiums, plus even team apparel, would continue into the 1980's, although since we stop at 1980 most times here I'll leave those to the modernists as some of the premium daes are too far afield from the cards. I'm also not going to get into the remaining wrapper offers for these either as I feel like I'm just repeating things a bit too much, even by my standards.

As we saw a little while ago, there was an insert available in the 1978-79 O-Pee-Chee packs that pushed a product called Super Bazooka, with various premiums offered, the most germane of which was an All Star Poster:



Those last two scans are from Bobby Burrell's Vintage Hockey Collector Price Guide, which is THE hockey price guide as far as I am concerned. Bobby also runs the Vintage Hockey Forum, which I highly suggest visiting. The second edition is out now but I also recommend tracking down the first one as well as it's loaded with large color pictures of all sorts of hockey goodies. I use mine together as a set essentially.

That about wraps it up on the hockey frontier. I say "about" as there's a special treat coming up for you hockey fanatics.  Stay tuned.......