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1971 Topps #640 Frank Robinson (Orioles) Baseball card

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1971 Topps #640 Frank Robinson (Orioles) Baseball cards value
         

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Below are some tidbits on baseball and sportscard collecting. Visit our web site for more info on vintage baseball, football, basketball, hockey, sports and non-sport cards and card collecting.
Baseball
Q7: What are some additional useful to know baseball card collecting terms ?

(part 3)
High Numbers - vintage cards were issued in the 50s-70s in a series. During the baseball season, the largest number of cards were made. As the schedule progressed into September, when there would be less interest in baseball cards , Topps for one, specifically decreased production and hence much less product was available. As a result, a scarcity-factor was created and a premium holds for these first type of "short-printed" cards.

Inserts - special randomly-inserted cards which are not part of the regular set. Many modern inserts are sequentially-numbered and rarer than the card sets into which they are inserted.

O-Pee-Chee / OPC - a subsidiary of Topps, this card issue was produced specifically for distribution in Canada.

Promotional Card - generally referred to as cards issued to show what the product will look like on release and intended to help spur future sales. Often called a "promo" card.

Reprint - cards issued to reproduce the originals. With the current trend of vintage reprints, the new versions have a distinguishing characteristic evidenced by numbering.

Restored - a card or piece of memorabilia which someone has tried to return to a "like-new" condition. A restored card is considered to be of very little value.

Rookie Card - any league-licensed, widely distributed card to feature a player in his first year of trading cards.

Series - a group of cards within an issue deliberately split up by the manufacturer to distribute at different times of the year. (i.e.- vintage 1st series cards 1-100 were released in April and 2nd series cards 101-200 were released in July, etc.).

Short Print (SP) - a card printed to a lesser quantity than other cards in a set. Many recent short prints are also individually & serially-numbered.

Baseball
The vintage issue below featured elsewhere on this website:

1952 Topps Baseball Cards
Checklist & Values


1952 is often thought of as Topps 1st baseball card set, but it was not.
Topps issued the following baseball card sets prior to their huge 1952 set:
• 1948 Topps Magic Photos
• 1951 Topps Red Backs
• 1951 Topps Blue Backs
• 1951 Topps Connie Mack's All-Stars
• 1951 Topps Major League All-Stars

The 1951 Red & Blue Back issues (52 cards each) were similar to a deck of cards and could be used to play a baseball card game. The sets left out all the game's stars and were not fan favorites keeping Bowman far ahead in the baseball card market.

In response, Topps issued their "BIGGER is BETTER" 1952 Topps set they described as: "GIANT IN BOTH SIZE and NUMBER of CARDS" (407).

Series one cards (#1-80) can be found with black or red backs. The key card in the 1952 Topps set is card #311 MICKEY MANTLE. It is often called Mickey Mantle's Rookie card but it is not. The honor goes to his 1951 Bowman card. The 1952 Topps set also featured my favorite and THE greatest player of all-time, WILLIE MAYS !!! Again, this is sometimes called Willie Mays' Rookie card but it is not. That honor also goes to his 1951 Bowman card. Another 1952 Topps card of note is card #1 Andy Pafko. Pafko, a fine player, is basically just a "Common card" and should be worth no more than any other "Common" in the 1952 Topps set - But SURPRIZE !!! It's worth TONS more because it's card #1 and absorbed much more damage than most cards from rubber bands and other damage, thus high grade cards are very, very tough to find accounting for the super high values.
BUT --- That should not account for the super high asking prices on lower grade copies. THose prices do not make sense (supply and demand).

The 6th (last) series, starts with #311 Mickey Mantle and ends with #407 Braves Hall-of-Famer Eddie Mathews. These "High Numbers" are significantly scarcer and can almost be called rare. In addition to Mickey Mantle, other star High Numbers included #312 Jackie Robinson and #314 Roy Campanella.

The most common explanation for their scarcity is as follows.
This HUGE set was released in series weeks apart. When it came to the last series the baseball season was winding down and football was starting. Most candy store owners had boxes of baseball cards leftover from earlier in the year so most eliminated their orders for the 6th series of 1952 Topps thus creating the scarcity.

To add interest to the story, it is often said that the unsold 6th series cards (including THOUSANDS of 1952 Topps MICKEY MANTLEs !!!) were disposed of by Topps, dumped offshore into the Atlantic Ocean like most of New York's trash in those days.

Click for complete 1952 Topps Baseball card checklist, values and prices.
Note: You may be on that page right now.

Baseball
The vintage issue below featured elsewhere on this website:

1956 Topps Baseball Cards
Checklist & Values


1956 Topps Wax Box 1956 Topps Wax Pack My fondness for 1956 Topps started way back in 1964 when I first started collecting as an 11 year old. My friends and I wandered 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, thicker, fluffier making it look much, much older compared to a 1-year old 1957. "Ancient" we thought.

I changed neighborhoods in 1966 leaving my childhood friends behind. Before I left, except for a small cigar box of my favorites, I "donated" all my cards to the neighborhood - and stopped collecting. I had a great 3 year run but 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 was Topps first issue to feature team cards and checklists. A much moire boring addition was the addition of the 2 league presidents.

With Bowman gone, Topps could again make cards of Mickey Mantle missing from Topps issues since 1953. After Mickey Mantle, it is a fun and simple set to complete with no high numbers or extremely expensive rookies with Hall-of-Famer Luis Aparicio being the top rookie.

With over 200 variations, things are much more difficult for master set collectors. Most deal with card stock (gray or white backs).
Cards #1-100 gray backs scarcer with slight premium
Cards #101-180 white backs much scarcer with larger premium
... rumor has it gray outnumbers white about 9-to-1 in the above run.

There are also several cards with color line variations on front. For example: Ted Williams' card has either no line over his name or a thin green, red, blue, or yellow line between the white border for a total of 5 variations. Whitey Ford and Early Wynn also have no line or a thin red or yellow lines. In addition, many team cards had 3 different variations with team name either on the Left, Center or Right.

1956 Topps Hank Aaron 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle
There are a few uncorrected errors, the most famous being card #31 Hank Aaron which actually pictures Willie Mays sliding home ! Card #135 Mickey Mantle is also an interesting card. Exciting 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 likely love Topps side issue '1956 Topps Pins' which used the same portrait photos as the cards. Seems collectors preferred cards to pins and Topps cut 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 card checklist, values and prices.
Note: You may be on that page right now.

Baseball
The vintage issue below featured elsewhere on this website:

Auction's most costly vintage baseball cards


The auction history of vintage baseball cards is long and colorful.

The 1909-1911 T-206 Honus Wagner tobacco card has been auctioned reaching as high as 2.8 million in one auction. Often called the "Holy Grail of Sports Cards", to me it's super-high auction value can mostly be attributed to good PR and "auction fever". It is not even close to being the rarest baseball card and Honus Wagner was not the most popular or important player. Yes, the T-206 set is beautiful and special in it's own right but because of it's huge size and many scarcities, it is not one many collector's ever try to complete, which should keep auction competition way down compared to say the 1933 Goudey or 1952 Topps baseball card issues.
BUT IT DOES NOT...

There is a back story about Wagner banning his card because of his anti-tobacco stance but there are other stories about a more financial consideration.

I am sure you have all heard of the grading company PSA. You may also already have heard that this card was the FIRST card graded by PSA. But did you know that a dealer (B... .a...o) admitted in court to tampering with the card, perhaps by trimming it down to size, before PSA graded it so highly before it was placed in the auction ?

Click for more info on my Weekly Vintage BASEBALL CARD AUCTIONS


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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