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Baseball
Q9: What are some of the terms used for card grading ?

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.

Baseball
The vintage issue below featured elsewhere on this website:

1974 Topps DECKLE EDGE

This 72-card test issue set was released with a very limited distribution only the East Coast around Massachusetts making them quite scarce. They were officially simply called "Topps Baseball Photos" but their serrated or "DECKLED" edge gave them the name they go by today. The 2 7/8" x 5" inch cards were sold in either a 2 card pack with gum or a 3 card pack with no gum for 5 cents.
Click to enlarge Complete Proof Sheet on left
The fronts look similar to the black and white Exhibit Postcards from the 50's and 60's featuring a photo with a facsimile blue autograph. The backs make this very scarce test issue even more interesting ! They feature handwritten script of the player's name, team, position & date and location of the photograph as well as a mock newspaper article on the player's career.

This was Topps 2nd "Deckle Edge" issue, their first being the smaller and much more common 1969 Topps Deckle Edge which were inserts in certain 1969 Topps packs.

Variations of 1974 Topps Deckle Edge do exist, making this issue even more fun and challenging to collect. The backs can be found in either gray or a much scarcer white version. Also, a more limited proof version with non-scalloped edges exists and can be found with and without card numbers.

Click for complete 1969 Topps Deckle Edge checklist and prices

Click for complete 1974 Topps Deckle Edge checklist and prices
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Baseball
The vintage issue below featured elsewhere on this website:

1964 Topps Stand-Ups

One of Topps most popular 1960's test issues !!!
Blank-backed and unnumbered, these standard size cards were called "Stand-Ups". "Stand-Ups" refers to a type of card that was die cut around the player's picture. The background section then could be folded so the card could stand up by itself while the player's picture stood alone. 1934-36 Batter Up and the 1951 Topps All-Star sets are 2 other popular standup issues.

The 77 card set features color photographs of the player on yellow and green backgrounds. 22 of the 77 cards were single printed making them twice as scarce and much higher in demand. Thanks to the green and yellow borders and the likelihood that most cards have been folded, 1964 Stand-Ups are extremely difficult to obtain in top grade.

Cards came in 1-card 1˘ packs with 120 packs/box and also 5˘ packs. The set is packed with 19 Hall-of-Famers including MICKEY MANTLE, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Orlando Cepeda, Roberto Clemente, Don Drysdale, Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew, Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal, Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays, Bill Mazeroski, Willie McCovey, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Warren Spahn, Billy Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.
Click for complete 1964 Topps Stand-Ups checklist and prices
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Baseball
The vintage issue below featured elsewhere on this website:

1954 Bowman Baseball

Competition between Topps and Bowman was raging back in 1953 and 1954 and led to problems in both companies sets. In 1953 Topps had 6 cards that were never issued because those players had signed contracts with Bowman. In 1954 Topps got revenge by signing Ted Williams to an exclusive contract. Bowman had to pull Ted Williams (card #66) from their set shortly after they started printing. They replaced Ted Williams with Jimmy Piersall (who also was card #210). The short printing of Ted Williams' 1954 Bowman card makes it one of the 1950's scarcest and most sought-after searched cards.

1954 Bowman Wax Box Bowman, perhaps distracted by the competition with Topps, created a set filled with errors & variations. Nearly 20% (40 out of 224 cards) had some sort of variation, with some even having more than 2 !!!

The St. Louis Browns move to Baltimore after the '53 season also made things interesting for Bowman. When the 1954 cards were designed, Bowman's artists had no idea what an Orioles jersey would look like - so they made them up.

1954 Bowman Wax Pack Through the years companies would try out various card numbering schemes. The 1954 Bowman set was made up of 14 cards for each of 16 teams. Cards were numbered in a rotation with all the cards of a single team being 16 apart. Example: the Yankees were card #1,17,33,49...

TOP ROOKIES: Don Larsen,Harvey Kuenn,Frank Thomas TOP STARS: Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Whitey Ford, Phil Rizzuto ... Ted Williams was not considered part of a complete set.


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