24 June 2014

What eBay Hath Wrought 85: A 305-card Lot of 1973 Topps

True to my word, I have been exploring the world of vintage baseball cards, a segment of the hobby that has to this point remained on the very fringes of my consciousness. In spite of the failures and shortcomings of the product, I am still a fan of Topps' Archives set and the window it gives me into the designs that existed before I was alive / became aware of trading cards. I was born in 1981, so there is a large segment of hobby history that predates me. My childhood nostalgia starts in the 1989-1990 Topps range.

In response to seeing the 1973 design used in the 2014 Archives set and picking up a copy of Rollie Fingers' 1973 issue from a discount bin at the local card show, I picked up a lot of 305 cards from 1973 Topps on eBay and began to formulate my plan for putting the set together. When they arrived the cards were in pretty rough shape, which is to be expected considering the price I paid for the lot. My specifications for the set are pretty lenient, but 85 of the cards still got disqualified from appearing in my binder.

My criteria are:
  1. The cards have to be complete. They can have bad corners and creases, but they can't be missing chunks or have paper torn off where they have been pasted to something and removed. Writing is sometimes okay, although I might look for upgrades at some point for the written-on cards that get through.
  2. The cards can be off-center, but there must be a border all the way around, on both front and back. Centering on the back of the cards was probably the most common disqualifier in this lot.
And that's pretty much it. I am not sure how I plan to go about putting this set together. I will probably pick up lots like this one until I get to the point where duplicates are an issue. I have already noticed that high-number cards are more scarce, so I may have to relax my standards a bit depending on how things go.

There are some decent cards in this set, and some terrible airbrushing jobs, like that cap on Billy Champion's head. They didn't even bother trying to center the 'M,' just throwing it up there to the side. Up at the top of the post are some pretty good action shots, even if it is hard to get used to all of the open space on Oscar Gamble's card. I guess I'm used to only cards that are zoomed way in on torsos. Terry Crowley is about to smash or be smashed in his horizontal action shot.

And in this lower group of nine cards are a couple of gems, too. Vida Blue has had a fair amount of blog press regarding his card, even being involved in a 'best Vida Blue card' contest (I can't remember which blog or whether this card won, although I am sure it advanced past a round or two at least). Jim Breazeale gets the 'Math Teacher' award, which is small consolation for being disqualified from the binder for centering. He was pretty close on the front anyway, and the back of his card ensured that he got (mis)cut from the roster.

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