The Post War Cards Newsletter #16
👋 Welcome to the latest issue of The Post War Cards Newsletter, the newsletter that celebrates #TheHobby.
🗓️ Every other week, I share unique content about vintage sports cards, hobby & sports history, and industry activity with collectors.
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🎴 The Greatest Year for Post-War Baseball Cards?
I wrote an article in the fall of 2020 where I called Bowman’s 1950-1952 the best-looking three-year run of major-release post-war baseball cards. I followed that article up a week later, saying that the 1952-1954 Topps run was the runner-up and that for two-year periods, my vote went to 1950-1951 Bowman followed by 1952-1953 Topps. But what about the greatest single post-war year for baseball cards?
It's funny that for the three-year runs, I wrote that the 1954 Topps limited Topps against Bowman, but as a single year, I will have to agree with SABR and a lot of folks on Twitter in saying that the depth of releases makes 1954 stand out as the best post-war year for baseball cards.
As an oddball connoisseur, it’s hard not to like 1954 since, beyond the Topps and Bowman sets, you have Red Man, Red Heart, Dan-Dee, Stahl-Meter, NY Journal-American, Dixie Lids, Wilson Franks, and Johnston Cookies.
In the modern era, I’m a big fan of 1984. You have Donruss, Fleer, OPC, and Topps, as great mainstream sets and a ton of oddballs too. And yup, I consider cards from 1984 to be modern.
The thing about comparing baseball sets and years is that it’s a lot like comparing the best teams across eras; it’s not something you will ever get consensus on. What I like most about these conversations is seeing the depth of sets and collecting interests that people enjoy.
✍️ Great Hobby Writing
SABR’s Baseball Cards Research Committee: Dexter Park: The House that Murder Built
Night Owl Cards: That’s a lot of yellow
The Topps Archives: And Then There Were Three
Pre-War Cards: A Look at Hank Greenberg’s Diamon Stars Cards (And, No, They’re Not Rookies)
A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts: More from the Baseball Card Store (and Nine Pockets)
Baseball Cards Come to Life!: Art on the Back: 1976 Topps Football
Collectors Dashboard: Why Ted Williams & Stan Musial Deserve More Vintage Collector Respect
The Shlabotnik Report: 1975 “MVP” Project: 1960 Topps Dick Groat
🎭 Broadway Joe
I highlighted the 1972 NFLPA Vinyl Stickers set a few months ago on the Oddball Archive and included a slabbed Joe Namath “card” in the write-up. But I think his 1972 NFLPA “Iron Ons” card is the cooler item.
However, many guides will incorrectly refer to the Iron Ons as Fabric Cards despite the original marketing images.
They were distributed via vending machines at retail stores, are unnumbered, and are blank-backed. The complete set has 35 patches, with a player included from most of the NFL teams at the time. I recommend reading Nearmint's Vintage Football Card Blog write-up on the set for more.
💵 A Few Cool Unopened Sales From Collect Auctions
Collect Auctions tends to have a lot of great vintage unopened material, thanks to a lot of items from Fritsch Cards. They wrapped up a big auction on November 17th, so I thought I’d share a few unopened sales that stood out to me.
The headlining item was the 1987-88 Fleer Basketball Wax Box Sealed Case that sold for $156k. 1987 marked Fleer’s second year back to printing basketball cards and is widely considered to have been printed in smaller numbers than the 1986 set that features the Jordan “Rookie” card. Collect sold a 1987 Fleer Basketball Wax Case in August 2020 for the same amount.
I recently published an overview of the 1975 Sugar Daddy All-Stars Set on the Oddball Archive, and lo and behold, Collect Auctions just sold a Factory-Sealed Box for $5350. It’s a scarce box; I just hope the buyer doesn’t eat the candy.
Another rare box that Collect Auctions sold was actually an empty one; a 1964 Topps Baseball Stand-Ups Display Box. The boxes are so rare that the final price was still $3844 despite all the tape and styrofoam needed to reinforce the box’s shape.
I also thought the 1985 O-Pee-Chee Baseball Vending case selling for $6194 was a stand-out sale.
And last, Collect Auctions sold a 1976-77 Topps Hockey Wax Box for $1837. What’s cool about it is that it’s one of the ‘Free Goods’ boxes. I highlighted the 1976 Topps Hockey and Basketball Free Goods products in August 2022 if you want to learn more about these unique collectibles.
🗞️ In the News
ZDNET: Trading cards are big business, and they're going high-tech too
The Wall Stree Journal: This Florida Home’s Memorabilia Collection Gives the Baseball Hall of Fame a Run for Its Money
The Colorado Sun: After 24 years, a man is reunited with the baseball cards he lost in Crested Butte
Sports Collectors Digest: Mickey’s Mantle’s infamous lewd letter hits the auction block at Leland’s
Sports Collectors Daily: “Behind the Card” Film Opens
KRCR: Redding hobby store robbed of $15,000 worth of merchandise only 23 days after opening
Sports Collectors Daily: Mickey Mantle Rookie Card Sells for Record $3,192,000
🏅 On the PostWarCards Blog
November 28th, 2022: 5 Great Chicago Cubs Topps Team Cards
November 29th, 2022: The Early 1980s Philadelphia Find of Over 100 1951 Topps Baseball Wax Boxes
December 1st, 2022: This Month on PostWarCards – December 2022
December 5th, 2022: The Many 1980 Topps Baseball Retail Promotional Partnerships
December 6th, 2022: 10 Great Multi-Player Baseball Rookie Cards
🏀 That’s Not a Michael Jordan Card
But, PSA 10s were selling for >$500 in early 2021; notice Jordan is wearing #12.