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Vintage Topps cards with Mickey Mantle
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1937 Gum Inc. Wild West #46 The Hold-Up n card

Price = $ 12.50
EX

'Reach for the Sky!'

1937 Gum Inc. Wild West #46 The Hold-Up n cards value
         

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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.

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The issue below is featured elsewhere on this website:

1956 Topps Baseball Cards

1956 Topps Wax Box 1956 Topps Wax Pack I 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 compared to 1957 than just 1 year. We thought they looked "ancient" !!!

I 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 Mantilla 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 some 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).
Cards #1-100 gray backs are scarcer with a slight premium
Cards #101-180 white backs are much scarcer with a larger premium
... rumor has it gray outnumbers white about 9-to-1 in the above run.

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.

1956 Topps Hank Aaron 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle
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 high into the stands trying to catch a home run ball. The artist did a great job and Mantle makes the catch !!! An awesome play to put on this great card - right ? Only problem is that on the real play, Mantle missed the ball. 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle 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.
Click for complete 1956 Topps PINS Checklist and Prices

Click for complete 1956 Topps baseball cards Checklist and Prices
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1968 Baseball Marbles (Creative Creations)

1968 Baseball Marble
These 'Marbles' were issued in 'blister packs' of 20 marbles. The 'Marble' was a ¾”-diameter clear plastic orb containing a paper insert with the player's portrait on the front a facsimile autograph on the back.
The blister packs themselves are collectible. They measure 9-3/4” x 10-1/2”, with the marbles positioned on front; the pack’s back features a baseball design awash in approximately 60 player's facsimile signatures. 1968 Baseball Marbles The package mentions 24 series of 20 marbles per but only 120 different marbles were created.

1968 Baseball Marble One of the more interesting collectibles from the late 1960's, they are sought after by both Team and Player collectors.

For another similar interesting issue see the 1970 Chemtoy SuperBalls.

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1970/1972/1973 Topps Candy Lids

1973 Topps Candy Lids Box 1973 Topps Candy Lids Tub
Thru the years, Topps has tried some crazy products, often called "test issues". Test issues were usually only distributed in limited areas and were somewhat difficult to find. One of Topps most unusual were the 1970 and 1973 Topps Candy Lids; little tubs of candy with player's photos on the bottom of their 1 7/8" lids. The unnumbered lids were issued in 10 cent containers, 24 to a box. Sealed tubs can still be found with asking prices in the $150 to $200 range. Called "Baseball Stars Bubble Gum", the 1970 Topps Candy Lids set had 24 different players, the 1973 Topps Candy Lids set had 55.

1970 Topps Candy Lids Front 1970 Topps Candy Lids Back 1972 Topps Candy Lids Ryan Topps released their first Candy Lids in 1970. The 1970 Topps Candy Lids are very, very hard to find. The 1970 lids had small photos of Tom Seaver, Carl Yastrzemski and Frank Howard on the top.

They returned in 1973 with some minor changes. The candy was replaced by gum, the mini photo of Frank Howard was gone from the top of the lid and team logos were airburshed off the player's caps. Even the tiny Yaz and Seaver photos had their logos removed. 1973 Topps Candy Lids are hard to find, but not nearly as scarce as the 1970's. There was also a 1972 Topps Candy Lids issue in the works but it was never released although a very few proofs do exist.

1973 Topps Comics Topps released two other test issue sets in 1973 (1973 Topps Pinups and 1973 Topps Comics), each with very limited distribution. The 1973 Topps Comics and 1973 Topps Candy Lids shared many of the same photos. Just like the candy lids, those sets had no team logos. If you're thinking "licensing dispute", you are likely right. Topps received player's union's permission for these test issues, but not Major League Baseball's permission. Apparently issues over rights and fees with Major League Baseball Properties and the player's union resulted in Topps shutting down future production of test issues, supplemental sets and insert sets, putting an end to some of their most "fun" collectibles.

Due to licensing issues, after 1973 Topps released very few "oddball" issues. In 1975 did release a "Minis" set but they reportedly cut production on the regular set to produce the minis, so the players and owners probably got nothing extra. Topps next major test issue was the 1977 Topps Cloth Stickers. Afterwards Topps started producing sets for other distributors like Burger King, Zest Soap and others having the distributors cut the licensing deals, saving them the aggravation.

Click for complete 1973 Topps Candy Lids Checklist and Prices
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1963 Bazooka ALL-TIME GREATS

In 1963, competitive pressures compelled Topps to add a bonus to it's 1963 Bazooka boxes. These cards were inserted inside boxes of Bazooka bubblegum at 5 per box. The 41-card set of Hall-of-Famers features black and white photos of the player inside a gold plaque. A short biography appears on the back, a first (and last) for Bazooka. The 41 numbered cards measure 1 9/16" by 2 1/2". Scarcer silver colored plaques also exist.

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