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1969 O-Pee-Chee/OPC #.98 Dave Giusti (Padres) Baseball cardPrice = $ 4.95
ExMt to NM
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Using a system of grading codes based on those established by price guides such as Beckett, Tuff Stuff, Sports Collector’s Digest, collectors can determine the approximate condition of items offered by interpreting the following grades. Grading is very subjective and there can also be grades in between the levels below.
MINT (MT) - while we rarely use this grade, occasionally it can be found for items that we appraise as appearing nearly perfect to the naked eye. With respect to cards, it would be defined as one with 50/50 centering all around, razor-sharp corners, a photo that is well-registered and completely focused, and no visible imperfections on card front or back.
NEAR MINT-MINT (NRMT/MT) - is qualified by at least 60/40 centering, only the slightest hint of corner wear upon close inspection, and may have a barely visible print spot, lack of intense color, or a slight focus imperfection.
NEAR MINT (NRMT) - card displays at least 70/30 centering, may have a visible slight touch of corner wear all around, and/or a few slightly visible print spots, a lack of intense color, or a slight focus imperfection.
EXCELLENT-MINT (EX/MINT) - centering equivalent to NRMT (70/30), but 2 or 3 corners display an obvious "fuzzy" quality. Essentially, a card that would have been deemed NRMT if not for the corner wear being more apparent. May have a barely visible print spot, a lack of intense color, or a slight focus imperfection.
EXCELLENT (EX) - all four corners show visible signs of wear, but are not rounded. Centering at least 80/20. May have a visible print spot, a lack of intense color, or a slight focus imperfection.
VERY GOOD (VG) - Corners are rounded and the card may have creases or wrinkles.
FAIR TO GOOD - in this grade, card has rounded corners and other major defects such as scuffing, pinholes, loss of gloss, multiple creases. In general, a markedly worn card and often used as a "filler" until a better one comes along.
1956 Topps Baseball CardsI have a fondness for the 1956 Topps issue. When I first started collecting back in 1964, my friends and I would wander nearby neighborhoods in search of "old cards". Back then, the oldest cards we ever found in dealing with other kids were 1957 Topps.
Eventually I saw my first 1956 Topps card - I was hooked. It was larger, on a thicker, fluffier card stock making it look much, much older than the just 1 year younger 1957. We even thought they looked "ancient" !!!
We changed neighborhoods in 1966 leaving my childhood friends behind. Before I left, I gave away all my cards except for a small cigar box full of my favorites and I stopped collecting. I had a great 3 year run but I sure wish I would have been collecting in 1966 and 1967 with those tough high numbers. I would have loved to have had a cigar box full of them in place of my hoard of 1964 Topps Felix Mantillia and Gary Peters cards.
The regular 1956 Topps baseball card set is one of my favorites. Topps again went with a slightly larger (3-3/4" by 2 5/8") horizontal card design, similar to their 1955 Topps cards. Several of the portraits are even the same used on 1955 Topps cards and even back to 1954 Topps.
1956 Topps was the first issue to feature team cards and checklists. In addition Topps also included cards of the 2 league presidents, William Harridge and Warren Giles.
With Bowman now gone, Topps could again make cards of Mickey Mantle who was missing from Topps issues since 1953. Once you get past Mickey Mantle, this is a fun and relatively simple set to complete as there are no high numbers or extremely expensive rookie cards with Hall-of-Famer Luis Aparicio being the top rookie.
The set contains over 200 variations making things quite interesting for master set collectors.
Most variations deal with the card stock (gray and white card back variations).
There are also several cards that have color line variations on the card front. Most notably is the Ted Williams card which has either no line over his name or a thin green, red, blue, or yellow line between the white border for a total of five variations. Whitey Ford and Early Wynn also have no line or a thin red or yellow line. In addition, many team cards had 3 different variations with the team name either on the Left, Centered or Right.
The only errors in the set are a handful of uncorrected errors the most famous of which is card #31 of Hank Aaron which actually pictures Willie Mays sliding into home. Card #135 Mickey Mantle is also an interesting card. The card pictures Mantle leaping into the stands and making a fantastic catch. An awesome play to put on this great card - right ? Only problem is that on the real play, Mantle missed the ball. If you do some research you can find the exact photograph that the card was painted from. The artist did a great job and in his version, Mantle makes the catch ! And as always for vintage Topps sets, take a quick look at Don Mossi and his famous ears !
Collectors of 1956 Topps should also take a look at their side issue '1956 Topps Pins'. In addition to their 1956 Topps baseball card set, Topps released their 1956 Topps Pins set using the same portrait photos as the cards. In the end, collectors of the day preferred cards to pins and Topps cut back the 1956 Topps Pin set from a planned 90 pins to just 60.
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1956 Topps baseball cards Checklist and Prices
1963 Fleer BaseballIn an attempt by Fleer to circumvent Topps exclusive rights to baseball cards, Fleer issued their 1963 baseball cards with cookies instead of gum. It is commonly thought that the 1963 Fleer baseball card issue was intended to be a much larger set issued in multiple series but Topps sued Fleer after their first series was released stopping further production. Due to Topps deep pockets Fleer soon pulled the set from the market and cancelled their plans for the remaining series leaving this very, very popular set at just 66 cards plus one unnumbered checklist.
But what a 66 cards !!! The 1963 Fleer Cards are attractive and feature an extremely high percentage of stars. Some of the top stars in the 1963 Fleer baseball card set are Brooks Robinson, Willie Mays, Carl Yastrzemski, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente, Don Drysdale and Warren Spahn.. The set also included 2 very scare Short Prints, Joe Adcock and an unnumbered checklist.
The most interesting card in this set is the Maury Wills Rookie card. Even though Wills started his major league career with the Dodgers way back in 1959 quickly becoming a superstar, his 1963 Fleer card is considered his rookie card ! How is this possible ? Well, back in 1959, 1960 and 1961, Topps did not consider Wills worthy enough to have a baseball card.
As hobby lore has it: Needless to say, Wills was very upset at this slight from Topps. After Wills won the 1962 N.L. MVP award, Topps quickly came a courting but Wills answered with a large "NO". From 1961 thru 1966, Wills prevented Topps from making any of his baseball cards. Wills and Topps finally made up making his 1967 Topps high number short print his first Topps card and also his most expensive card. Adding interest to the Wills baseball card story, Post Cereal released a Maury Wills card in their 1962 set making that the earliest Maury Wills rookie card. Wills was also pictured on a special 1960 Topps card featuring the 1959 World Series. The card features Luis Aparicio stealing 2nd base with Wills pictured trying to make the tag.
Much of the above is true but Wills has said there was no "fued" with Topps and that he simply had signed exclusive agreements with Fleer.
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1963 Fleer baseball cards Checklist and Prices
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