Test issues & more!
On this page, we feature oddball cards, regional & food issues, test issues, and some other fun and fascinating cards. "Oddball" issues are more obscure issues than your regular Topps cards.
Not bubble gum cards like Topps, oddball issues were usually issued with some other product. Also they are much cheaper than Topps cards and collectors, especially collectors of a certain
player are always on the lookout for any issue with a picture of their favorite player. Examples of oddball issues would be Exhibit Supply Company cards (issued in arcade machines) Kellogg's,
SSPC, TCMA, etc. Regional issues were issued in specific areas only, such as the Bell Brand or Morrell Meats Los Angeles Dodger cards and 1962 Jell-O (issued in the mid-west only) cards. Food
issues, like the name implies, were issued with some food product. Examples would be Jell-O, Post cereal, Wheaties, etc. Some food issues are quite rare, like the 1954 Wilson Franks Ted
Williams card (above left) and as such are quite expensive. Test issues were cards that may or may not have been issued; usually some innovative Topps product like the 1968 Topps 3-D
Roberto Clemente card (above, right). The above example recently sold for over $17,500 on eBay!
Any kid growing up in the 1950's through 1970's knew what Bazooka was, bubble gum. Bazooka bubble gum was (and still is) a nifty little 1" x 1/4" (approx.) pink rectangle of sugary chewery (I made that word up) produced by, of course, Topps
Chewing Gum, Inc. It also came with a cool little comic of Bazooka Joe & his pals. You could send the comics in for prizes. The above 1963 Bazooka Bubble Gum box contained 25 pieces of gum, 5 "Golden Edition" baseball cards plus 3 cards on
the bottom of the box. Bazooka cards were issued from 1959 through 1971. The pictures are usually different than the regular Topps cards and the cards themselves are usually smaller than Topps cards and have blank backs. The 1959 Bazooka
cards are especially tough, with prices well above their Topps counterparts (scroll down the page to see an example of a 1959 Bazooka Mickey Mantle). The 1963 Bazooka cards were extensively counterfeited a few years ago. Most were slabbed
and graded (most are high grades like NM/MT to GEM MINT) by FGA (Foremost Grading Authority) which fortunately is out of business. However their cards can still be found on eBay and other online sites, and EXTREME caution should be taken
when purchasing a card from FGA or any other 3rd rate "grading service."
I really don't know much about this issue (above left), but it is a Puerto Rican winter league set issued between 1950-1951. I have an older SCD Standard Catalog (2004 Edition) and they list 1947-1950 Toleteros cards; which are black & white
issues, but not these. Maybe the new 2006 Edition includes these rare cards but one thing is for sure- this card of Negro League star Josh Gibson is cardboard GOLD! Recently this SGC graded example was listed on eBay and went unsold at
$21,200 (reserve was not met). A high grade Gibson (SGC 88 NM/MT), sold in a June Leland's.com auction this year for almost $70,000. The card was referred to as the Black Honus Wagner." (See Sports Collector's Digest, November 25, 2005,
Vintage Market Report, pg. 26 for more details).
In 1976 Topps produced a limited amount of baseball cards of NBC broadcaster and former backstop Joe Garagiola (above right) for use as business cards. Joe's phone number was printed on the back! The cards are similar in design to the 1973
Topps cards. Garagiola was a major league catcher but gained fame for his colorful NBC "Game of the Week" telecasts. My brother Jeff says I should get Garagiola to autograph this card...right on Joe's ample forehead! Regardless I posted this
"card" as many of you might never have seen one before.
1950-51 Toleteros Joshua "Josh" Gibson 1976 Topps NBC All-Stars #1 Joe Garagiola
1964 Venezuela Topps #225 Roger Maris (back view)
1964 Venezuela Topps #225 Roger Maris
From 1959 to 1968 Topps produced baseball cards in Venezuela. Commonly referred to as "Venezuela Topps" or "Venezuelan Topps," these are much more difficult to obtain than
the regular Topps cards issued in the U.S. Another big problem is that these cards were commonly pasted or taped into albums, so finding even mid-grade examples is a challenge. One
common factor in determining whether a card is Venezuela Topps or just Topps is the cardboard. The cardboard Topps used to print cards in Venezuela seems lower grade than the
regular Topps. There is also very little gloss (if at all) on the front like the regular Topps cards. These cards were issued in 1959, 1960, then 1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, and 1968. Some
have the back biographies printed in Spanish, while some feature different color card backs. For instance the 1964 Venezuela Topps Roger Maris card (above, right) has a black
background on the card back; much different than the regular Topps cards which are somewhat of an orange color.
Mickey Mantle first appeared on a Topps baseball card in 1952 (1952 Topps #311), the first of many Topps baseball cards featuring the dynamic hitter. In the baseball card hobby, Mickey Mantle baseball cards are highly treasured- you can
put them up on a pedestal along with heavy hitters like Cobb, Ruth, DiMaggio, Williams... maybe even more so. A very tough Topps issue is the 1969 Topps "Super" cards. They feature a very colorful picture of some of the game's bigger
stars. In 1970 & 1971, Topps also produced "Super" cards but they were much larger & did not feature the nice glossy pictures as did the 1969 Super set. This Mickey Mantle card, like most Mantle cards, is the most expensive of the set. Like
Mantle's regular 1969 Topps card (#500), both are his last cards as an active player. He retired prior to the 1969 season. Expect to pay at least $950 for an ungraded NM example. Topps "Super" indeed!
1969 Topps Super #24 Mickey Mantle
1959 Kahn's Wieners Rocky Colavito 1959 Kahn's Wieners Billy Martin
A very tough issue are these 1959 Kahn's Wieners baseball cards (above). Kahn's Meat Company of Cincinnati issued these cards with hot dogs from 1955-1969. I love the caption at the bottom of the cards, "THE WIENER THE WORLD
AWAITED." Classic. I wonder if John Holmes felt the same way.
1959 Fleer Ted Williams #68 "Ted Signs For 1959" SP
Another tough Ted Williams issue is this 1959 Fleer #68 "Ted Signs For 1959" card. In 1959 Fleer issued an entire set of cards featuring the splendid career of Ted Williams. Topps' last cards of Teddy Ballgame were in the 1958 series (both card
#1 and also #485 featuring Ted as a Sporting News All-Star), but Fleer had somehow signed Williams from 1959-1961 (Williams played his last game in 1960, but Fleer did issue cards of him in both their 1960 & 1961 "All-Time Greats" sets). However,
Bucky Harris, the Red Sox GM pictured on this card, was under contract with Topps. Hence the card was pulled from production early and thus the scarcity. While "commons" from this set sell for about $10 each, this particular card sells for $450 in
ungraded near mint condition (2006 SCD Standard Catalog Of Baseball Cards). Card #68 "Ted Signs For 1959" has been counterfeited, so exercise caution when buying cards not graded by reputable grading services.
|1963 Bazooka Complete Box (Frank Robinson, Lee Thomas, Rocky Colavito)
1963 Post #187 Bob Aspromonte SP (top) & 1963 Jell-O #16 Roger Maris (bottom)
In 1963, Post cereal and Jell-O gelatin dessert produced baseball cards on their respective packages. While they are very similar (and often confused) and
were originally intended to be collected together to complete a basic 200 card set (Post issued a trading card album to house the Post AND Jell-O cards
according to the front of the album cover), the Post & Jell-O cards are considered separate issues today. While very much alike, there are some differences that
will help you distinguish between a 1963 Post and Jell-O card. For me, the easiest way is to compare the card "width." Post cereal cards cut properly should
measure 3-1/2" from left to right. 1963 Jell-O cards should measure 3-3/8." Both are 2-1/2" in height. You can see from the two examples (left) compared side
by side and the Jell-O card is noticeably shorter than the Post cereal card. Now here is where it gets tricky- a lot of these cards were trimmed or cut well beyond
the black borders. In other words sometimes you have a 1963 Post cereal card that is about the same size as the Jell-O card. So how do you tell these cards
apart? Easy. The red line that divides the statistics extends much farther on the Post cereal cards,almost to the edges of the card. On the Jell-O cards, the red line
is much shorter and barely extends past the statistics (see Maris card (left, bottom). Another way to tell is the print. The Post cereal cards have slightly larger print
as well as a red card numbers, team and position. The Jell-O cards have smaller print and usually instead of red, the color of the card numbers, team, and
position are more of a "pinkish-red" color. But the best and sure-fire way to identify your card is to measure the card width from black border to black border. If
the borders are missing, check the red line dividing the 1962 and "LIFE" (Lifetime) stats.
Both the 1963 Jell-O and Post cereal cards are very difficult to complete. Both have short printed cards (issued on unpopular cereals or Jell-O flavors) and in fact
the Jell-O set is much tougher to find cards in mid-grade and especially in high grade. This is because the Jell-O cards were issued one per box, taking up the
entire back panel. Most were susceptible to surface wear, creasing, plus a bad cutting job. Post cereal cards are a bit easier as they issued several cards per
cereal box with plenty of room to cut out the cards (compared to Jell-O). But in any case the toughest card to find from either set is card number 187 Bob
Aspromonte. This is one of the rare cases where a "common" is actually worth more than a Mickey Mantle card! Most expensive card in the '63 Jell-O or Post
set? Bob Aspromonte.
1961-1963 Post Cereal
While most baseball cards of the 1960's were produced by Topps Chewing Gum, Inc., there were still some terrific baseball cards released by companies like Frank H. Fleer who produced the 1960-61 Baseball Greats series, as well as the
classic 1963 set (which was halted due to a Topps lawsuit). Another terrific issue is the Post cereal cards from 1961-1963. Starting in 1961 and continuing through 1963, Post cereal issued a set of 200 different (not including variations) baseball
cards on the backs of their cereal boxes (see 1962 Post cereal box panel below). These cards were hand-cut from the cereal boxes by enthusiastic kids so finding well cut examples is difficult today. What is really great about them is the price. You
can generally buy ungraded Post cereal cards for much cheaper than their Topps counterparts. For example, a 1962 Topps #5 Sandy Koufax lists for $85 in ungraded near mint (NM) condition, while a 1962 Post #109 Sandy Koufax lists for $35
in the same condition. These cards are very fun to collect and being that there are only 200 cards each year, they are not that difficult to complete. However, there are numerous short prints (usually cards printed on unpopular cereals) and
variations to give you a hard time if you want the challenge of completing the sets with all the variations. The 1963 Post cereal cards are the toughest of the Post sets to complete due to the many short prints.
The 1961 Post cereal cards (see above Mickey Mantle card, above left) were available in two different ways. You could cut them off the cereal boxes (several cards were issued on the back panel; these are identified by "BOX" in most price
guides) or you could order team sheets from Post by mail. These sheets were perforated so that instead of cutting the cards out you would simply pull them apart at the perforations. The cards that came from team sheets from the company are
identified by "COM" or "Company" in most price guides. Being that you did not have to cut the company cards apart, they are not as hard to find in nice shape. However the ones hand cut from cereal boxes are extremely difficult to find in high
grade as most were cut hastily and with little regard for neatness. In 1962 Post only issued cards on their cereal boxes (see Mays card, above center), however as an advertisement they included 2 cards as an insert in a LIFE magazine. Those two
cards? Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. These are easy to differentiate from the regular Post Cereal Mantle and Maris cards; the Life Magazine cards have an advertisement for Post on the back and the fronts have no lines in between the stats
area. In 1963 Post issued cards only on cereal boxes (see Koufax card, above right). What is confusing is that Jell-O also issued a nearly identical set on their dessert packages. Surviving albums that were intended to house the cards have both
the Jell-O and Post logo on it so it appears that originally they were intended to be collected as one set. They are considered separate issues today. As noted above, the Jell-O cards are 1/4" narrower side to side compared to the Post Cereal
cards (if cut properly). The fact remains that most of the Post cereal (and Jell-O cards) were hand cut from the boxes by excited kids and finding well cut examples can be challenging. Professional Grading Services like BVG, PSA and SGC will only
grade these cards if the cards measure full size so high graded examples sell for significant premiums. Regardless, this is a fun issue to collect!
1975 Shakey's Pizza #1 Joe DiMaggio
A somewhat obscure issue, these 1975 Shakey's Pizza "West Coast Greats" cards were issued only in the Seattle area. The 18 card set features players who were born or played on the
West Coast. Only 2,000 sets were produced. Players featured include Ted Williams (no he was not born in BOSTON, but in San Diego CA), Paul Waner, Casey Stengel, Duke Snider, Tony
Lazzeri, Lefty O'Doul, and more. This #1 card features Joltin' Joe DiMaggio who was not only born in CA (Martinez, CA), but was a sensation for the PCL San Francisco Seals before
becoming a Yankee legend. Shakey's also produced a larger set (160 cards) in 1976, but I like the 1975 set better.
The 1959 Home Run Derby cards featured 19 sluggers who appeared on the hit TV show of the same name. Also featured was a card of the show's host, Mark Scott. Each week would pit one slugger
against the previous week's winner. Some of the big names featured in this set are Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Rocky Colavito, Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle, Ed Mathews, Frank Robinson, Duke Snider,
and many more. Home Run Derby was filmed at the old Wrigley Field in Los Angeles California. This show is still shown on networks like ESPN classic, etc. The cards are very expensive, ranging from $125
(commons) to $1500 (Mickey Mantle, of course). Graded examples would tend to bring more. Luckily for us poor folk, the 1959 Home Run Derby cards were legally reprinted (they are marked as such). They
make great displays!
1959 Home Run Derby Duke Snider 1959 Home Run Derby Hank Aaron
1967 Topps Who Am I? #33 Willie Mays
1941 Double Play #23-24 Harold Reese, Kirbe Higbe 1941 Double Play #77-78 Joe Krakauskas & Bob Feller
A more obscure issue that was produced during World War II was the 1941 Double Play issue by Gum Products. These blank backed cards featured 2 players from the same
team) and are much more affordable than the 1941 Playball cards. For instance a 1941 Playball #71 Joe DiMaggio lists for $1525 in a PSA 5 EX grade, while a 1941 Double
Play #63 Joe DiMaggio in the same grade lists for $350 (source: June 2007 Sports Market Report by PSA). The set also features two different Ted Williams cards, plus the big
stars of the day like Hank Greenberg, Jimmy Foxx, a very early Pee Wee Reese card, and this cool Bob Feller card (just to name a few). Plus you get 2 players on one card!
What a deal!
1967 Topps Who Am I? #22 Mickey Mantle
In 1967 Topps released this separate issue called "Who Am I?" It is a small 44 card set featuring famous or historical figures. There are four baseball players featured: Babe Ruth, Mickey
Mantle, Willie Mays, and Sandy Koufax. The cards were designed so that the "disguises" could be scratched off, revealing the identity. Of course, cards that are unscratched are much rarer
today than scratched cards, so they carry a premium. Cool novelty item by the Topps Chewing Gum Company.
1952 Berk Ross Jackie Robinson 1952 Berk Ross Ted Williams
Berk Ross of New York issued a set of (72) cards entitled "Hit Parade Of Champions" in 1951. These cards featured prize fighters, track stars, basketball, football cards and more. Also included were numerous baseball players,
mostly players from the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, who had appeared in the 1950 World Series. These cards were issued in 2-card panels, designed to be pulled apart at the perforations (see above left). The
following year (1952) Berk Ross issued an entire baseball series of (72) cards. This time, the cards were issued individually. Featured are many of games greats including an early Mickey Mantle card, Joe DiMaggio (his last card),
Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson (above center), Ted Williams (above right) and many more. Berk Ross only produced these two sets, probably because the Bowman and Topps cards were much more appealing. The Berk Ross
cards pale in comparison to the Bowman and Topps cards of the same years. However, the Berk Ross cards were a regional (New York) issue and are much scarcer than the Bowman and Topps cards. They are now starting to get
noticed by collectors for being scarce vintage issues. The above Ted Williams card sold for over $200 recently on eBay (graded as VG+). It is much tougher to acquire then his 1951 Bowman issue (card #165). Special cards of
note: 1952 Berk Ross Joe DiMaggio is his last card featuring him as a player as he retired after the 1951 World Series. In fact there are NO Bowman or Topps cards featuring Joe DiMaggio during his playing days. Also the
Mickey Mantle card is his second year card and uses the same photo used in Mantle's 1951 Bowman Rookie card (#253). It is easily the most expensive card in the 1952 Berk Ross set ($1,650 in ungraded NM condition).
1954 Wilson Franks Ted Williams 1968 Topps 3-D Roberto Clemente
1968 Topps Milton Bradley
1968 Topps Milton Bradley #177 Mets Rookies (Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan RC)
(Back view; note the bright yellow color on back)
Most collectors know of the 1969-1971 Milton Bradley cards that featured boring black & white photos of baseball players. However, few are aware
of the very rare 1968 Topps Milton Bradley cards that were issued as part of a board game by Milton Bradley ("Win-A-Card" Trading Cards
Game; see below). The game featured not only baseball cards, but football, automobiles (I believe) and others. I know this because my dad brought
home this game to us kids in 1968 and I remember having Hank Aaron, Ed Mathews, and Ed Brinkman. These cards started my love of collecting and
I have been going at it ever since. How do you tell the difference between a 1968 Topps Milton Bradley card and a regular Topps card? The fronts
are indentical. The backs are not. The Topps Milton Bradley cards feature a very clean and bright yellow on the back of the card. The regular Topps
cards have a "dirty" or brownish-yellow color. While the regular 1968 Topps cards are not rare by any means, the Topps Milton Bradley cards are.
Try and find one. This 1968 Topps #177 Mets Rookie Stars (Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan) graded PSA 6 EX-MT recently sold on eBay for
$1280.76 (May 2008)!!!
1960-1962 Bell Brand Los Angeles Dodgers
1967 Topps "Who Am I?"
1951-1952 Berk Ross
1941 Double Play
1959 Home Run Derby
1975 Shakey's Pizza West Coast Greats
1959 Fleer Ted Williams
1955-1969 Kahn's Weiners "The Weiner The World Awaited"
1969-1971 Topps Super
1959-1968 Venezuela Topps
1963 Jell-O and Post Cereal Baseball Cards
The 1960-1962 Bell Brand Potato Chips Los Angeles Dodgers cards are considered to be one of the most beautiful regional issues ever produced. Most of the cards (especially 1961-62) feature crystal blue skies and popular
Dodgers in Dodger Blue. You just can't ask for a more beautiful set. The cards in 1960 were taken on a cloudy day so they aren't as eye appealing; however they seem to be more difficult to acquire and hence, more expensive. Grease
stains are common on the issue as they were issued in bags of greasy potato chips. Bell Brand also issued a very rare set in 1958 (scroll down below), which was the Dodgers first year in Los Angeles. And while these are very expensive,
they have black and white photos with green wood frames bordering the pictures. They just aren't as eye appealing as the 60-62 Bell Brand cards.
1960 Bell Brand LA Dodgers #9 Sandy Koufax 1961 Bell Brand LA Dodgers #30 Maury Wills 1962 Bell Brand LA Dodgers #19 Jim Gilliam
1968 Milton Bradley "Win-A-Card" Trading Cards Game
1948 Swell Sport Thrills
The 1940's were a pretty lenient decade for baseball cards. World War II put a damper on card production, so there were only a handful of major sets produced. Most are familiar with the Play Ball,
Bowman, and Leaf issues, but a small 20-card set was produced by Swell Gum Company in Philadelphia in 1948. Called "Sports Thrills," these cards featured baseball highlights and feature some
key players; some even before their "rookie" cards were produced. For instance, card #20 "Rifle Arm!" features Brooklyn Dodger Carl Furillo. Furillo's rookie card, 1949 Bowman #70, was issued the
following year. Also featured in the set is an early Jackie Robinson card (#3 "Dramatic Debut"), which pre-dates Jackie's 1949 Leaf #79 and 1949 Bowman #50 rookie cards. The Swell Sport Thrills
set also features heavy hitters like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Ted Williams, plus more obscure players such as Al Gionfriddo (card #9 "Greatest Catch!"), who was never issued in a major
baseball card set. These cards are finally getting noticed; graded examples sell for premiums. Centering issues are very common with these cards; I've seen many that are off-centered or slant (or
"diamond") cut. Very cool issue.
The 1948 Swell Sports Thrills cards above are (clockwise, from top left): #2 Amazing Record (Pete Reiser), #1 Greatest Single Inning (w/ Mickey Cochrane, Jimmy Foxx, and Al
Simmons), #3 Dramatic Debut (Jackie Robinson), #4 Greatest Pitcher (Walter Johnson).
1914 B18 Blankets
1914 B18 Blankets "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (from the Kevin Cullum collection)
To be honest, I don't know much about this issue except what I've read in the Sports Collector's Digest Standard Catalog Of Baseball Cards (published annually by Krause
Publications). According to the catalog, these 5-14" square flannels are called "blankets" because "many of them were sewn together to form bed covers or throws." The above
example, that of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, was provided by fellow collector and friend, Kevin Cullum. It was passed down from his grandparents. What a treasure! Thanks Kc!
1947 Tip Top Bread Ed "Eddy" Waitkus (back view)
Not a main-stream set, the 1947 Tip Top Bread issues are very scarce today. Because of the War (WW II), main baseball cards sets such as Play Ball and Goudey ceased production of
baseball cards. It wasn't until the Bowman and Leaf issues of 1948 that a main-stream baseball card returned. Many big league ballplayers are featured on their only cards in this tough
issue. This 1947 Tip Top "Eddy" Waitkus card pre-dates his 1949 Bowman rookie card by two years.
Eddie, or "Eddy" Waitkus was a slick fielding first baseman for the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles. He was shot by a female "fan" in 1949 but survived and was
a member of the 1950 Philadelphia "Whiz Kids" pennant winner. Sadly, Waitkus had a short career, probably due to his service to our country (he fought in World War II in the Pacific and
was awarded several Bronze Stars) and the shooting. He fought depression and alcoholism, and was trying to get his life in order when he died at the age of 52 in 1972. Largely forgotten
today, Waitkus inspired the book "The Natural" that became a hit movie starring Robert Redford and was also the subject of a great book, "Baseball's Natural - The Eddie Waitkus Story" by
John Theodore, Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2002. For more on Eddie Waitkus see our new Eddie Waitkus Page!
1957 Swift Meats #18 Rocky Colavito
1957 Swift Meats
The 1950's were the "golden age" of baseball. The 50's were also the golden age of baseball cards. In no other decade were cards ever so innovative, colorful, and unique. Bowman Gum was producing
beautiful color cards and competing with a rival fledgling company, Topps Chewing Gum who issued the granddaddy of the modern baseball card set in 1952. Beautiful color cards of baseball stars were
produced by a tobacco company (Red Man Tobacco), and several sets were issued by hot dog companies (Stayl Meyer, Dan Dee, Wilson Franks, to name a few). Red Heart even issued cards with dog food in
1954! So the 1950's were a great time to be a baseball fan and to be collecting cards. In 1957 Swift Meats produced a very unique issue of baseball "cards." The players were intended to be punched out
from the card and assembled into cardboard figures. Most were probably assembled this way and eventually discarded thru the years. So today it is quite scarce to come across unpunched cards from the 1957
Swift Meats set. Expect to pay a premium for surviving examples today. They aren't cheap.
Rocky Colavito was one of the premier sluggers of the 1950's and 1960's. He hit nearly 400 HRs (374) in a relatively short career (1956-1968). One of the biggest farces in baseball occurred when Rocky
Colavito was traded by the Indians to the Tigers for singles hitter Harvey Kuenn. The Indians never have recovered from that one and some say the Indians have the "Curse of Rocky Colavito." It should be more like
"the curse of the Indian's GM" back then, Frank Lane, and later Gabe Paul. Both liked trading players like kids liked trading cards and trading Rocky Colavito in the prime of his career was a colossal blunder.
Also traded during that same time by the Indians were such stars as Roger Maris, Jimmy Piersall, Luis Tiant, Mudcat Grant, and Tommy John (who was traded early in his career to get Rocky Colavito
back to Cleveland when the Rock was at the end of his career and Cleveland needed fans at the ballpark). John went on to win nearly 300 games... So maybe the curse is valid. But have hope Cleveland fans, as
look at the Red Sox and White Sox. They finally won a World Series. So anything is possible. Except for the Cubs. They truly are cursed and it has nothing to do with Steve Bartman. It is an organizational thing
and the Cubs just don't have a winner. At least not yet.
1947 Tip Top Bread
1969 Fleer Cap Plaks
While Fleer was on the sidelines in the 1960's (due to Topps' monopoly on the bubble gum card market), they still managed to
produce some unique sets, notably the 1963 Fleer baseball card set of 67 cards (including a checklist card), which were issued in
wax packs with a cookie. In 1969 Fleer issued these 3" x 4" plastic "plaks," which depicted a ball and cap of each major league
team. They were made of very thin plastic, plus they were designed to either be propped up, hung up, or glued (see card directions on
back). Existing examples today are quite scarce and list for $45-$60 (depending on team) in ungraded NM condition. Two teams
are very scarce (or popular), the Yankees and this Seattle Pilots Plak. Seattle was granted a franchise in 1969 but this was a short
lived project. It wasn't until the 1977 Mariners that Seattle had a permanent team on the map. Seattle Pilots collectibles are very
desirable. The 1969 Fleer Cap Plaks Seattle Pilots lists for $125 in NM, which is the most expensive card in the set. Then
Yankees come second at $115.
1962 Post Cereal back panel featuring Mickey Mantle
1962 Post Cereal box 6-card panel with Pinson, Mantle, Roberts
This is how the 1961-1963 Post cereal cards were issued, on the backs of cereal boxes (most 1961 Post cereal cards were also available in team sheets than you could order from the company). They were intended to be cut
out, collected, and traded. Post even produced an album to paste the cards in. It is pretty rare to find intact panels, even less to find complete cereal boxes. You can see from the black lines that separate the cards that there was
not much room for error. That is why you see so many Post/ Jell-O cards which looked like they had been trimmed by a 10 year old. Well, they were! And that is why finding well-cut examples is a real challenge. The above 1962
Post cereal 6-card panel features 3 American League players (#5 Mickey Mantle, #31 Jackie Brandt, #66 Chuck Cottier) and 3 National League players (#121 Vada Pinson, #168 Alex Grammas, #198 Robin Roberts). In
fact, whoever cut out this panel cut it short on the left side so the cards on the left are all missing their left borders. Regardless, it is still a beautiful piece. For the '62 set, Post chose to use blue borders and lines in the statistics area
for AL players and red borders and lines for the NL players. To me, these 1962 Post cereal cards are much nicer looking than either the 61 or 63 Post sets. The '62 set is also the easiest of the three to complete. Also note that while
Post states that there are "200 Top Stars," the total with variations is more like 210. Among the variations are a different Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris card that was issued in a LIFE magazine that year (these cards were printed
in a two card panel and have an advertisement for Post cereal on the back of each card; the cereal box versions of Mantle and Maris are blank backed), and three very rare printing variations of Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente
and Joey Jay (the rare variations have blue lines in the stats area instead of the more common red lines). There is also a spelling error variation for Joe Adcock's card (spelled "Adock") which is very tough to find.
You can clearly see the difference in these 1962 Jell-O cards and the 1962 Post cereal cards above. Note the lack of a red or blue border around the statistics area. All of the 1962 Jell-O cards will have white border
around the yellow stats area. The 1962 Jell-O cards are very scarce as they were issued in the mid-west only. I really don't know the reason for this; however these cards are very tough to acquire. Like the 1963 Jell-O cards,
the '62 cards are seldom found in mid to high grade. Most will be cut a bit short, as the card took up practically the entire back of the Jell-O box (see above, middle picture). Surface wear and creasing very common. The
above 1962 Jell-O #122 Frank Robinson is still uncut on the box. which is very rare, but note the wear and position of card on the box.
1961 Post Cereal #4 Mickey Mantle 1962 Post Cereal #142 Willie Mays 1963 Post Cereal #121 Sandy Koufax
1958 Bell Brand Potato Chips Pee Wee Reese (scarce!)
While I prefer the beautiful color photos on the 1960-62 Bell Brand Potato Chips Dodgers cards (see above), the 1958 Bell Brand Dodgers cards were their first issue and are much tougher to find.
They use sepia photos with green frame borders picturing the "new" Los Angeles Dodgers. Pee Wee Reese's last regular card is 1958 Topps #475, but this 1958 Bell Brand Dodgers Pee Wee Reese is
way more difficult to obtain. This is a very high grade example.
1958 Bell Brand Los Angeles Dodgers
1971 Topps Greatest Moments #40 Carl Yastrzemski ("Wins AL Triple Crown")
In 1971, Topps produced a rather scarce series of baseball highlight cards called "Greatest Moments." These 1971 Topps Greatest Moments cards have the same jet black borders that the regular Topps baseball cards have that year;
however these cards are larger (2-1/2" x 4-3/4") than the regular Topps cards (2-1/2" x 3-1/2"). The fronts shows a small color picture of the highlighted player,along with a black and white "snapshot" of the player in action. The backs feature a
mock newspaper write up of the event. Many of the game's top stars are included in this small set of (55) cards including no less than 17 Hall Of Famers like this 1971 Topps Greatest Moments #40 Carl Yastrzemski ("Wins AL Triple
Crown"). Because this set was not as widely produced as the regular Topps cards, the 1971 Greatest Moments cards are also more expensive. For instance a regular 1971 Topps #530 Carl Yastrzemski baseball card graded PSA 7 NM would
sell for $25-$35, but the '71 Topps Greatest Moments #40 Yaz card in a PSA 7 would sell for $130 - $250. Centering and chipping on the black edges are the common faults you find on these cards. A real classic! For more on Yaz, check our our
Carl Yastrzemski Page!
1971 Topps Greatest Moments
| 1972 Topps Candy Lid Proof Jim Hunter (back side)
Beginning in 1970, Topps began producing a test issue called "candy lids." These lids were actually the tops to small containers of bubble gum "nuggets." I vaguely remember getting these as a kid. Topps produced them in 1970 to 1973. The
1972 Topps Candy Lids are very scarce and can be found in either uncut proof form (see above Hunter example) or in finished 1-7/8" diameter tabbed lid form. You can tell they were unused as the tabs will not have creases commonly found on
issued pieces. The 1973 lids are the most common to find, but even these are much tougher than the regular Topps baseball cards. A very fun issue to collect as they feature many of the top stars of the day. Expect to pay a premium for the 1970
and '72 candy lid issues. Even the 1973 lids can be somewhat pricey compared to the regular Topps cards. For instance a regular 1973 Topps #287 Carl Yastrzemski card sells for around $10 in ungraded NM condition, while a 1973 Topps
Candy Lid Yaz lists for $35 in the same condition. Graded examples will sell for even more.
1970-1973 Topps Candy Lids
1969 - 1970 Transogram
1970 Transogram Mets Tom Seaver
Transogram cards were issued on the packaging of toy baseball statues from 1970-73, Kenner's Starting Lineup made a fortune producing similar products in the 1980's. The Transogram cards
and statues are much more difficult to locate, especially in complete box form. Also interesting about this issue is that some of the photographs used are the same exact photo's used by Topps to produce
their bubble gum cards. For instance this 1970 Transogram Mets Tom Seaver photo was previously used on Seaver's regular 1968 Topps baseball card (card #45). The Transogram cards are
much scarcer than Topps and hence command a premium today. Intact boxes with the cards and statue still intact are rare but can be found if you are diligent.
1959 Bazooka Mickey Mantle
1959 was the first year Topps produced baseball cards for their Bazooka Bubble Gum. They were issued on the bubble gum boxes and were intended to be cut out. Most surviving examples today have cutting problems (much like any vintage hand
cut cards, Jell-O, Post, etc.) and are usually cut a bit short. Regardless, they are a very tough issue and of course the heavy hitter in the group of (23) cards is the great Mickey Mantle ($1750 in ungraded NM condition according to the 2009 SCD
Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards). Also included in the set was Hank Aaron, Richie Ashburn, Ernie Banks, Orlando Cepeda, Rocky Colavito, Don Drysdale, Willie Mays, and Duke Snider to name a few. Expect to pay premiums for graded
examples like this beautiful 1959 Bazooka Mickey Mantle SGC 80 EX/NM. Also note the large size (2-13/16" x 4-15/16") of the 1959 Bazooka cards as just one card was printed on each box. Most 1960's Bazooka cards were issued 3
cards per box and are much smaller in size.
1964 Topps Stand-Ups
1964 Topps Stand-Ups Tommy Davis 1964 Topps Stand-Ups Carl Yastrzemski SP
Ever the innovator, Topps Chewing Gum came up with great ideas for trading cards. Among them were "die cut" cards, cards intended to be punched out and displayed. Topps produced some beautiful over-sized die
cut cards in their 1951 Topps Current and Connie Mack All-Star sets, some of which are quite rare. Topps again produced a die cut card set in 1964 called Topps "Stand-Ups." The 1964 Topps Stand-Up cards
featured all of the stars of the time including Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, etc. The 1964 Topps Stand-Up cards are a separate issue than the regular 1964 Topps cards and are a bit more
expensive as well. A very fun issue to collect. It should be noted that Topps was not the first card company to produce die cut cards. Earlier die cut issues include 1934-1936 National Chicle's "Batter Up" and 1937
O-Pee-Chee, to name a couple.
1972 Venezuela Topps Stickers
1972 Venezuela Topps Stickers #3 Rod Carew 1972 Venezuela Topps Stickers #31 Al Kaline 1972 Venezuela Topps Stickers #134 Tony Oliva
These very rare stamps or stickers, measure 2" x 2-9/16" and feature many Major League players. The stamps were intended to be pasted into albums like the earlier
Venezuelan issues. Many of the stickers feature the same photo's used in the regular Topps issue. For example, the above 1972 Venezuela Baseball Stamp #3 Rod
Carew and #31 Al Kaline utilize the same photos used on their regular 1972 Topps cards (I am not sure if the #134 Oliva In Action sticker has the same image but
I'll check). The Venezuela issues feature very thin (& fragile) paper stock and exhibit poor print quality compared to Topps baseball cards. Most stickers will
exhibit signs of pasting on the back. As such, most of these you will find in lower grades, and even these can be expensive. Also featured in the 1972 Venezuela
Baseball Stamps set is Nolan Ryan (sticker #184), which would be one of the rarest Ryan issues out there (lists for $220 in ungraded EX; 2009 Sports Collector's
Digest Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, Krause Publications). The 1977 Venezuelan Baseball Stickers also issued several Hall Of Famers utilizing the design
similar to the 1977 Topps cards. Again, low grades, poor print quality and evidence of pasting are the norm. Very tough issue to collect.
1952-53 Mother's Cookies Pacific Coast League
1953 Mother's Cookies PCL #9 Frank Lefty O'Doul (Back view) 1952 Mother's Cookies PCL #29 Carl "Buddy" Peterson (back view)
Not really an "oddball" issue, the 1952-53 Mother's Cookies baseball cards are a minor league issue. And some would argue that the PCL back in it's heyday was just as good as the major leagues. Remember, this was a time when there was
no major league teams west of St. Louis. So baseball fans on the west coast were big fans of the Pacific Coast League. Los Angeles had the LA Angels and the Hollywood Stars, Oakland had the Oaks, San Francisco had the Seals and San Diego
had the Padres (just to name a few). Big talent came from the PCL; The DiMaggio brothers all came from the San Francisco Seals, Ted Williams came from the San Diego Padres, Billy Martin from the Oaks, and many more. Amongst the most
popular of the PCL issues are the Zeenut cards and these 1952-53 Mother's Cookies cards. The Mother's Cookies cards were issued in color and featured many of the PCL stars of the day. Included among the Mother's Cookies cards are managers
Frank "Lefty" O'Doul (above left), Joe Gordon (HOF) and Mel Ott (HOF), but the most expensive card from either set is the 1952 Mother's #4 Chuck Connors card (of later "The Rifleman" fame). Another expensive gem is this 1952 Mother's
#29 Buddy Peterson short printed card (above right), which lists for around $225 in NM condition.
1954 Red Heart Dog Food Stan Musial
From 1954 through 1957, Stan Musial did not appear on any mainstream baseball issue (Bowman or Topps). Musial did however appear on numerous regional issues, mostly food issues. One of
the options for a Stan Musial baseball card in 1954 was this Red Heart Dog Food issue. Red Heart issued cards in three series (blue, green and red backgrounds, with the red being the scarcest).
You could order them by mail up through the early 1970's. These are beautiful cards! Stan the Man finally appeared on his first Topps card in 1958 (Sporting News All-Star, card #478).
1955 Rawlings #1 Stan Musial (Portrait)
Well being there is a shortage of Stan Musial cards from the 1950's, may I present a couple of very rare 1955 Rawlings Stan Musial baseball cards. I believe these cards were intended to be cut from the Rawlings box the gloves came from.
Stan did not have any mainstream issues like Bowman or Topps in 1955, but if you were lucky enough to get a Rawlings glove you might have been able to cut one of these cards from the box. Today, collectors would not dare cut the card from the
box as intended. That would "ruin" it's value. But back then cards were prized possessions, to be collected, traded, flipped, or taped to your bedroom wall. This is the main reason for the lack of high graded examples of these and other vintage
cards. They were meant to be played with, studied, and swapped! They weren't meant to be taken from a pack, slabbed forever in a plastic slab and assigned a numeric grade, thereby (hopefully) increasing it's "value." That is not what baseball
cards are about. If you have never cut a baseball card from a box, opened a pack of bubble gum cards to see if you got your favorite players, traded with other collectors, marked a checklist card, etc., then my dear friends, you just are missing out
on what collecting cards is all about. Remember, these cards are going to outlive YOU! You can't take 'em with you to Heaven, Hell, or the next life. So while today I don't recommend doing to vintage cards what kids did to them back then, I DO
recommend you have fun collecting, work out trades and don't worry about what a card is "worth." Collect your favorite players and teams and enjoy them, whether they be vintage cards or modern cards. In fact I highly recommend doing whatever
you want to late 1980's and 1990's cards as they are as plentiful as the grains of sand at the sea. Ticked off about steroids & other assorted Performance Enhancing Drugs? Rip a McGwire, Bonds (Barry), Sosa, Palmiero, Clemens, Ramirez (Manny),
Ortiz, ARod card in pieces and feel the peaceful calm that will surround you. Throw darts at them, deface them, use them as TP in the pinch. And when you are done, please send me the scans so I can put them on my Baseball Card Atrocities Page!
1954 Red Heart Dog Food
1954 Rawlings Stan Musial (Hand cut)
1961 7-11 "Oh Thank Heaven For Seven Eleven"
According to my trusty 2009 Sports Collector's Digest Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards (already outdated due to our current economic crises) the 1961 7-11 convenience markets released these "crude" cards and production was "abruptly halted."
First of all, who would print PINK baseball cards? And SCD is right, the printing quality is crude- just a small black and white photo of the player and simple type. The backs are blank. Compared to Topps cards of the same time, these cards look like a
kid made them. But alas, the cards were abruptly halted at just one series. Which means regardless of how "crude" these cards are, they are scarce; rare even. Check out the unnumbered Checklist card (above left) which is rare in it's own right. The
first series included Hall of Famers Warren Spahn, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Yogi Berra (above center), Ernie Banks, plus Jimmie Foxx, and Mel Ott (above right). Then you have some guys who should be in the Hall of Fame like
Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, and Roger Maris. Not to mention new Hall of Fame Inductee Whitey Herzog (as a Manager). These are some really "tough" cards, pink and all. I have been looking for the Roger Maris and Gil Hodges cards for some time
so if you have one for sale or trade please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! Tim
1961 7-11 Checklist card (NNO) 1961 7-11 #22 Yogi Berra 1961 7-11 #28 Mel Ott
1959 Menko Sadaharu Oh (Rookie card)
I don't know particularly much about Japanese baseball cards; there are websites devoted to them I am sure. But baseball is extremely popular in Japan, probably due in large part to hitting legend Frank "Lefty" O' Doul and other Major League
players going overseas to play exhibition games in Japan. So Japan developed their own "Major League" and naturally baseball cards followed. Among the most popular cards are small cards very similar in size to the old tobacco cards. The
Menko cards were hand cut and many feature the best Japanese players of All-Time. Take for example the above 1959 Menko Sadaharu Oh card, which is considered his "rookie" card. Note the price sticker ($2000). That is Babe Ruth territory
and rightly so as Oh is Japan's All-Time Home Run King. In fact, Oh hit exactly 868 career HRs, which is 113 more HRs than the great Henry Aaron's All-Time Major League record of 755 round trippers. Oh even hit 30 HRs in his last season (1980)!
Please note that I do not have this card but I wish I did! Great card!
1955 Masquerade Party
1955 Masquerade Party Game (complete and intact) Card #12 ("Napolean" Disguise) Card #12 (Opened) Pee Wee Reese
Cashing in on the success of a hit ABC Television Game Show, a "Masquerade Party" board game was made in 1955. Included were large cards in various disguises. The premise of the game was to
use "Clue Cards" to figure out who the celebrity in disguise was. The cards would be unfolded to reveal the "celebrity." I am not sure how many baseball stars were used, but I do know of one other besides
Pee Wee Reese- a card was issued of Leo Durocher with his wife, Actress Lorraine Day. I believe these cards are very scarce, most likely because most board games from 1955 are pretty rare, especially
intact. In fact the cards are not mentioned in my outdated copy of the Sports Collector's Digest Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards (2009 Edition). I picked up the #12 Pee Wee Reese card for about
$18. That seems pretty cheap for a vintage card of a baseball Hall of Famer like Pee Wee Reese.
1963 Jell-O #187 Bob Aspromonte
One of the most expensive "common" cards of the 1960's are the 1963 Jell-O and Post Cereal #187 Bob Aspromonte. As mentioned earlier, the Jell-O and Post cards are similar but different issues altogether. This 1963 Jell-O #187 Bob
Aspromonte is the most expensive card in the set; more than Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax or Mickey Mantle. Why? Because some of the cards were printed on unpopular desserts and hence were not bought by mom's at the
store. Plus, back then, most kids would prefer a Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays, certainly not a Bob Aspromonte. So both the Jell-O and Post cereal Aspromonte cards are the most expensive cards in their respective sets. The above Jell-O
Aspromonte sold for $108.50 (plus $5 shipping) in a June 2010 eBay auction. An example graded by a reputable grading service (currently BGS, PSA, SGC) would have probably brought more.
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1938 Dixie Lids Bob Feller (Back view)
I don't know too much about Dixie Lids, which were actually the tops to ice cream cups. You can imagine how scarce these are but they were very popular as I have a 1950's Dixie Cup
lid that pictures screen star Elizabeth Taylor. This 1938 Dixie Lid features a very young "Rapid" Bob Feller, one of the hardest throwers ever. There was no such thing as a "radar
gun" back then but judging from his strikeout marks he could bring it. Very cool issue. I think Feller's rookie card is considered the 1938 Goudey (sometimes called "Goudey Heads Up");
if so this Dixie Lid would be from his rookie year. And $75 seems pretty cheap for a early vintage Bob Feller card, even in low grade.
1969 Topps Team Posters
Topps began using mini "posters" as inserts in wax packs of cards beginning in the late 1960's through early 1970's. While most feature individual players, the 1969 Topps Team Posters
featured several players from the same team. The posters were also a bit larger than previous issues. These are tough to find in nice shape; as you can imagine most posters were pinned to a
wall or thrown away through the years. The above 1969 New York Mets Team Poster is one of the most expensive posters in the set as they won the World Series that year. It lists for $150 in
ungraded NM condition. Other expensive posters in the set are the Seattle Pilots (brand new expansion team that was short lived) and New York Yankees (features Mickey Mantle).
1974-1979 Hostess Baseball Cards
From 1974 through 1979, Hostess issued cards on their snack products like "Ding Dongs," "Cup Cakes," "Suzy Q's," "Twinkies," etc. The photographs used were most likely taken from Topps photographers as there are a
few examples that share the same photographs. What is great about these Hostess cards is that they are pretty cheap compared to equivelent Topps cards. For instance a 1975 Topps Robin Yount rookie card in NM condition
may sell for $25, while a 1975 Hostess Robin Yount (same picture used on both cards) rookie can probably be picked up for $10 in similar condition. Most of these cards were intended to be cut from the box (or cardboard
insert for single packages like "Twinkies") but you can still find them in panel form and sometimes intact Hostess boxes as well. My dad used to work for Hostess so he used to bring home empty boxes and I used to cut out the
cards. I still have some of them. The Twinkies cards are considered a separate issue from the regular Hostess cards; the difference is a small black box about a 1/4" wide that is seen on the backs of the Twinkies cards. The
Twinkies cards were also more susceptible to grease stains so finding clean examples can be a challenge (and hence Twinkies cards can garner a premium over regular Hostess cards). Like all hand cut cards, professional
grading services (Becketts, PSA, SGC) will only grade them if they measure full size as intended (entire black borders visible). "Proof" cards are also known. I believe the above complete Hostess "Suzy Q's" box is from 1975. It
features the cards of Bert Campaneris, Pete Rose, and Buddy Bell. Note the crease in the upper left corner (see photo above right) of the box and the slight staining on the bottom. This is typical and a reason why cards
from food issues like Hostess, Post Cereal, Jell-O, etc. are hard to come by in high grades. The boxes were handled, stacked, put on dirty shelves, whatever, So the cards were off to a rough start even before a kid got ahold of
them with a pair of scissors!
Topps & O-Pee-Chee Baseball Cards
1971 Topps #151 Tommy Davis 1971 O-Pee-Chee #151 Tommy Davis
What is wrong with this picture? Actually nothing is wrong. The Topps cards were produced here in the United States, while Topps counterpart in Canada, O-Pee-Chee produced similar cards up there. O-Pee-Chee cards were produced
much later than Topps cards, so sometimes there was time to make a traded statement or have a new team name put on the O-Pee-Chee card. Such is the case above. Former Dodgers star Tommy Davis' 1971 Topps card pictures him
correctly in a Chicago Cubs uniform, but he was traded to the Athletics and O-Pee-Chee had time to make a team name switch and also add the "Recently Traded To Athletics" notation on the card front. He is still pictured in a Cubs
uniform. Neither card is an "error" card, nor a variation. They are simply two separate issues. Vintage O-Pee-Chee cards are much more difficult to find here than Topps cards. They also feature different card stock, usually different
colored backs on the reverse and beginning in 1970 the cards featured text in both English & French (also on the card backs). Also instead of a "Printed In U.S.A," the O-Pee-Chee cards will have "Printed In Canada." It is very easy to
tell them apart. For some reason though, O-Pee-Chee cards are not valued much higher than Topps cards even though they are much scarcer. Maybe it is because of the fact that Baseball is this country's National Pastime so most would
prefer Topps cards. The opposite is true for Hockey cards. O-Pee-Chee hockey cards sell for much higher than Topps Hockey cards. Why? Not only the scarcity factor, but maybe also because Hockey is considered Canada's top sport.
I don't know. What I do know is the O-Pee-Cards are fun to collect and have their own challenges as far as condition. Like Topps, O-Pee-Chee cards have centering issues (even more so perhaps) and it is not at all uncommon to find
O-Pee-Chee cards with "rough cut" edges.
Poor Tommy Davis. Talk about a well-traveled player. Davis was a Dodgers star winning back to back Batting Crowns in 1962 (.346) and 1963 (.326). He played 8 years in L.A. (actually 7 seasons and a cup of coffee in 1959)
and was on to what could have been a Hall of Fame career if not for a terrible ankle injury. Tommy Davis was never quite the same but he still had a nice Big League career, picking up 2121 base hits and batting .294. From the
Dodgers, he went to the Mets. Then the White Sox, Seattle Pilots, Astros, Athletics, Cubs, Athletics (again), Chicago (again), Orioles, Angels, Royals. I think that covers it. You have to keep in mind this was before "Free Agency," and
teams could trade any player for whatever reason and at any time (the great Jackie Robinson was actually traded from the Brooklyn Dodgers to the rival N.Y. Giants but retired rather than go to the hated Giants). Tommy Davis' best
season was 1962, when he batted .346, had 230 hits (also led league), 27 doubles, 9 Triples, 27 HRs, 153 RBIs (lead league), stole 18 bases and scored 120 runs. Yet he finished 3rd in the NL MVP balloting that season (teammate
Maury Wills won the MVP Award with his 104 Stolen Bases). Talk about "no respect."
1947 Bond Bread
1947 Bond Bread Carl Furillo (Original card) Illegal Reprint of a 1947 Bond Bread Ralph Kiner card
In between the 1941 Play Ball (& also 1941 Double Play) and 1948 Bowman and Leaf cards, there were no major baseball card sets produced. This was largely due to the fact that America was at war (WWII) between 1941-1945. There were
however, a few smaller sets issued like the 1941 M.P. & Co (very crude cards which bore no likeness to the players), 1947 Tip Top Bread, 1948 Swell Sport Thrills, and these 1947 Bond Bread cards (see above Carl Furillo card). These
black and white photo cards feature a facsimile autograph on the fronts, while the backs are blank. The cards had "cropped" or "rounded" corners; however some were also available later with square cut corners. Many of the cards are quite
scarce; however in the 1980's a slew of roughly half the set (with square cut corners) was "found" in a New York Warehouse. There is debate as to whether these cards found in New York are originals or reprints. Even worse, the cards were
illegally reprinted sometime in the 2000's with many being "graded and slabbed" by a shady and now defunct grading service called "FGA (Foremost Grading Authority; see above)." You can still find these FGA "graded" cards on eBay. But
don't waste your money as these cards are worthless. You have to be really skeptical of some rinky-dink grading service which grades vintage 1940's cards as mostly MINT or GEM MINT. Most vintage cards are seldom "MINT" even right out
of a pack. The 1947 Bond Bread Carl Furillo card above is one of the short printed cards (cards not found in the 1980's stash of Bond Bread cards), hence it is pretty expensive. It lists for $40 in NM (ungraded) condition in the 2011 Sports
Collector's Digest Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, but the above example (graded by SGC, which is a very reputable 3rd party grading service) is currently on eBay (March 2011) with a "Buy It Now" price of $249.99 or "Best Offer."
Considering this card pre-dates Furillo's 1949 Bowman "rookie card" by 2 years, I don't think $200 or so is out of line, especially for a card that is much scarcer than the Bowman rookie card. Anyway, watch out for those phony Bond Bread
cards. I would be very wary of purchasing any that were not professionally authenticated/graded by SGC or PSA.
Note: FGA also slabbed fake 1963 Bazooka baseball cards and 1952 Wheaties cards. You will sometimes see some of these still out there in cyberland so be careful! Remember: If it looks "too good to be true," it probably is.
1949 Lummis Peanut Butter Philadelphia Phillies
1949 Lummis Peanut Butter Phillies Eddie Waitkus (Back view)
Lummis Peanut Butter was on to somethingin 1949 when they produced a set of Philadelphia Phillies baseball cards with their peanut butter. Just one year later, the "Whiz Kids" led by stars Richie Ashburn,
Robin Roberts, and Eddie "The Natural" Waitkus won the NL Pennant and went to the World Series. They were beat by a heavily favored New York Yankees team but it was a magical season for the Phillies.
These cards are ridiculously rare; even more ridiculous is the price if you can find one. I saw this Eddie Waitkus card on eBay awhile back and it was way out of my budget. So here it is in all it's glory and
it won't cost you even a penny to look at it!
1951 Berk Ross #4-5 Whitey Ford, #4-2 Robin Roberts 2-card panel
1955 Rawlings #3 Stan Musial (Swinging pose)
1957 Sohio Gas Indians (& Reds)
1957 Sohio Gas Cleveland Indians Rocky Colavito
Considered a "regional" issue, the 1957 Sohio Gas cards featured Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds players and were given away at local Signal Oil Gas Stations. The cards were issued in panel form and were intended to be
pulled apart into "singles" and pasted in a special team album produced by Sohio Gas. Featured in the Reds team is an early Frank Robinson card, which is the same year as his 1957 Topps rookie card. The Indians set featured this early
Rocky Colavito card which also corresponds to his 1957 Topps rookie card and also a key Roger Maris card. The Sohio Maris issue pre-dates his 1958 Topps #47 rookie card and is a terrific looking card as well. These large sized
"cards" have blank backs as they were intended to be pasted or glued into the albums.
Kellogg's 3-D Super Stars
1971 Kellogg's 3-D Super Stars Pete Rose
Among the most popular "oddball" issues are the Kellogg's 3-D Super Star cards produced by Kellogg's breakfast cereals staring in 1970 and continuing into the 1990's. These beautiful cards were available in boxes of Kellogg's
cereals or you could send in for complete sets via a mail-in offer. The exception was 1971, when they only way to get the cards was to buy cereal. Hence the 1971 Kellogg's set is the toughest set to complete. The Kellogg's cards are
smaller than a standard size baseball card and were susceptible to warping and cracking (note the tiny hairline cracks near the top left corner of the Pete Rose card above). The 1973 Kellogg's set was the only one produced that
was not "3-D." With the exception of the 1971 issue, the Kellogg's 3-D cards are much more affordable than the gum cards (mostly Topps) of the same period.
1973 The Dial Press Bo Belinksy
1973 The Dial Press Bo Belinsky promotional card (Back view)
An "oddball" card if there ever was one, this 1973 Bo Belinsky card was produced by The Dial Press to promote the book "BO - Pitching and Wooing" by Maury Allen. Bo Belinsky was one of the All-Time greats at "Wooing," but
certainly not pitching. Bo did throw a no-hitter for the early Los Angeles Angels but that was the highlight of his pitching career. His after hours life was another story and it was enough to, well, write a book about it! This guy dated Mamie
Van Doren, Tina Louise ("Ginger" of the TV show "Gilligan's Island") and many more dames, broads and other assorted star bleepers. If Kim KardASSian (I am sure I have misspelled this) or her star bleeper sisters would have lived back
then I am sure she would have even married Bo. This is a tough card (most probably ended up in the trash can) but shows Bo in the back of a convertible, cigarette holder in mouth and holding out his arms in a "The World Is Mine" pose.
And for a brief time maybe it was. I picked up this card on eBay for one dollar. The seller lived in Denmark! It is not currently listed in the annual Sports Collector's Digest Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards (Krause Publications, edited by
Bob Lemke) but expect to see it listed in the near future (Bob Lemke is a big fan of Bo!).