Quite the Sox Oddball

Hello all, been a while since I blogged but I felt todays pick up required some background info and it would be harder to do so through my usual Twitter feed. The newest addition to my Red Sox collection, is a card I remember reading about while looking for test issues to add to my 80’s Oddball Collection but didn’t know a Sox existed.

1985 Topps/OPC Mini #65 Bill Buckner

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Wait—what? 1985 Topps mini? Yup your heard me right. Topps DID produce … err O-Pee-Chee did produce … whoa, whoa, whoa. A Topps/O-Pee-Chee mini???

These cards were never actually released for public sale, but somehow managed to sneak out into the collecting world. Allegedly a result of O-Pee-Chee’s testing of new printing equipment, an undersized “set” of 132 cards (the number of cards traditionally found on a single sheet) were printed. These minis are about 10% smaller than the typical Topps card and on brighter paper than the typical cards. The result is a smaller card, more vibrant and reminiscent of some of the “premium” cards that would become the standard in the hobby half a dozen years later.

The 132 cards with completed backs are identical in format to their 1985 regular counterparts. I have read that only about 100 of each of these cards are thought to exist with blank backs thought to be numbered less than 20 per card.

There is speculation that all the 1985 Topps Minis were discarded in uncut sheet form, and subsequently professionally cut. One school of thought suggests that the cards were indeed factory cut. Another suggests a small amount of cards were actually issued in packs. A former O Pee Chee employee, suggests that the cards were never cut at the factory at all, meaning all the cards in the hobby were cut after the fact. As if this mystery doesn’t get any deeper, you can also find these minis in blank backs (tan and white) AND “Red” backs in which only the red ink is printed (no green ink).

In my research of trying to figure out these minis, I can across the following posts from Net54Baseball.com:

“I have a handful of these cards. I’m almost positive I bought them at a local Tom Thumb in Maple Grove, MN”

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“If they were sold at retail in the US that would be worth knowing and new info. By all accounts they were produced in Canada and never retailed here. In putting my two sets together I had to buy most of mine through Canadian sellers … My info about the 100 or less comes from SCD and several other hobby sources. I do know the blank backs are much tougher than the regular backs, and the red only backs toughest of all.”

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One of the sellers promoting 1985 mini’s indicates that he has correspondence from Topps which, in part confirms that more than 130 sets were issued. By his accounting Topps hired O-Pee-Chee to make the mini-test set. OPC then sold among other things, 210 sheets to a scrapper, which then sold 110 of the 132-card “sets” to a Long Island dealer. The dealer then cut the sheets in to cards.

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By the dealers account, the sheets may have included 3 color progressive proofs, later shown to exist—which presumably may be where your red backs came from.

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He also indicates that the cards were printed on normal OPC “white” stock or regular Topps cardboard stock—possibly explaining the 2 types of blank backs (tan AND gray cardboard). Other accounts in a previous thread indicate some of the sheets were thrown away and retrieved from dumpsters due to smeared ink, etc.

And yet MORE info from the auction I won:

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Comparing the two

I happened to have a regular 1985 Topps Buckner in my collection, so it makes for a perfect side-by-side comparison. As you can clearly see, the mini is slightly smaller than it’s flagship counterpart and the back is lighter as you would find on O-Pee-Chee stock from the time period. Notice more paper fibers in the regular Topps card (bottom card), where as the mini appears smooth. One thing I noticed right away is how deep the solid colors are—the red and blue team band just pops on the mini.

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Here is another image I found on the Net54Baseball.com board showing three different backs to these minis; blank (tan), red ink, mini test.

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I’d love to land a blank back or red ink version, but those are pretty pricey. There are a couple Jim Rice PSA graded blank backs on eBay right now, but those are close to $600. But of course, in the meantime, I need to grab another mini and a blank back for that 80’s Oddball Collection because the 1985 Topps/OPC Mini truly is, an oddball with many tales.

Thank you for reading and let me know if you have any of these minis and/or you have come across them in your collecting travels.

Red Sox Mail Day—1979 Tradin’ Card Butch Hobson

Finally over a couple of big work initiatives, but that hasn’t stopped me from picking up some rare, unusual or cool Red Sox cards lately. Just go check out my Twitter feed @ShaneKatz73. I’ll be sure to post some of these here in time. I still need to post at least four trades too!

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But today, I give you a card I found when searching for something else, one that even fellow Red Sox collector @MarkHoyle hadn’t come across! The above front is something we’re going to call 1979 Tradin’ Card Butch Hobson.

This measures at a standard size baseball card and the weight and thickness is same as say, a regular 1979 Topps card. Supposedly, this was issued thru Topps Chewing Gum Subsidiary—Hadfield Enterprises. Further below is an image of the advertised card on back of 1979-80 Topps Hockey Team Sticker Insert Card. The card certainly smells as if it’s 35+ years old.

As far as the dealer and myself know,  they still are not cataloged. The long-time Boston-area dealer, Hall’s Nostalgia, believes that it’s possible about only 10 of each card exist. In other words, if you look at the ad on the back of the Topps Hockey Sticker card, these cards appear to be printed by mistake—or sort of some type of custom card maybe a kid sent to be printed with a photograph he took at a Red Sox game?

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Flip side of the Hobson card notes it’s printed by Hadfield Enterprises.

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Up close detail here, looks like some sort of laser jet printing.

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Said back of a Topps Hockey Sticker insert promoting these Tradin’ Cards. Obviously, this was meant for a customized card of your son or daughter but clearly someone had other ideas.

The dealer recalls seeing about five different Red Sox and two or three different Yankee players in this set back in 1979. They had listed; the above Hobson, Jerry Remy, and Fred Lynn. When I gave Mark Hoyle a heads up, he grabbed the Remy.

In doing some other research for this post, I came across this tidbit from a Jerry Remy that sold in 2014:

… on the back on the 1979/80 Topps Hockey Team Logo Stickers there was an offer to send in your photo and have a card made up (I think the idea was that parents or kids would have little leaguers make up cards of themselves). I sent in a few actual players (I think Thurman Munson, Carl Yastrzemski, etc.) and to my surprise I got back my first order (they gave me twenty of each card). I then tried to send in more but was told they could not produce major league cards. I have NEVER seen any others! This Jerry Remy card is the only card I have left.

Or this other Butch Hobson card—my hockey sticker has the Hartford Whalers on the reverse, not the Bruins. There’s are a couple of replies to a post—and Greg (NightOwl) if you are reading, check out the Don Sutton Dodgers card in the thread!!

Does anyone else have any other information or seen others out there? I keep looking at this and want to say I have seen one in my travels, but can’t truly recall.

If any Red Sox collectors are out there, there’s the Fred Lynn left. Throw a $20 buck offer and you’ll probably get it for that. Thank you for reading and look forward to hearing if any other of these cards exist out there!

Mail Day from Dub

So earlier this week, Joey from @DubMentality and DubMentality.com had posted some pics of 1983 Donruss Action All-Stars that needed a home. I accepted in exchange for some goodies that will be headed his way on Monday.

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The 1983 Donruss Action All-Stars is a 60-card oversized set that was sold on it’s own in cello packs. The set is designed horizontally and measures 5 x 3 1/2″. Each pack also contains three pieces of a 63-piece Mickey Mantle puzzle. Somehow, I never had any of these as a kid due to no Jim Rice card in the set. I remember seeing boxes and boxes of these in the LCS I work at as they were never big sellers. Anything that fell outside the “standard card size” generally didn’t move too fast at the store. Maybe it was a storage thing or that is was just new, I’m not sure. In any case, I now have some in my hands thanks to Dub!!

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The Yaz card will move to my Sox oddball album while the others will go into my 80’s album. Unlike the Donruss flagships issues of the day, these oversized cards show the full career statistics along with some bio/highlights information if there was room.

Donruss would produce this set line from 1983-1987, the last two years borrow the design of the flagship more or less.

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Dub also included some bonus Red Sox too!! I didn’t have the Benintendi card (funny I almost bought this last week at my LCS) so win there, and the two Heritage will go nicely in my All-Time Sox album replacing their 2016 Heritage High Series cards.

Thank you again Joey — I’ve already got those Ron Gants and some other goodies set aside for a PO run Monday before work. Seriously, if you were a kid in the 80’s and collected cards, give @DubMentality a follow on Twitter, it’ll be a fun trip down memory lane!

Picking Up My Sox

Soccer season is about to take up both Saturdays and Sundays and so it was good to able to steal a couple minutes at the LCS in between soccer games on Saturday. The quick trip yielded a pick up another Sox oddball piece along with a couple of ’17 Heritage commons.

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1977 Pepsi-Cola Baseball Stars Carl Yastrzemski

The above Yaz disc card/glove tag is from the 1977 Pepsi-Cola Baseball Stars set that consisted of 72 discs that measure 3-3/8” in diameter, and  approximately 9 1/8” x 4 3/4” still intact with the checklist, T-Shirt offer insert card. There are five color variation of each the Reggie Jackson, and the Mike Schmidt discs bring the total to 80 cards.

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The disc, to be removed, was attached to the baseball glove portion of a checklist, and T-Shirt offer, which was inserted into cartons of Pepsi-Cola. The card (disc) has a higher collectors value attached to the original insert. The back has a send away offer, for a Personalized T-shirt with your name on it. Pete rose is used as an example, and you can also send away for Rico Carty, Joe Morgan, and Rick Manning.

Hmm I bet those Rico Carty shirts were the sh#t!! I’d like to know who was the marketing brains behind this offer. In any case, was happy with this $5 pick up that’ll look nice in the Red Sox oddball album. Believe it or not, this disc is my first from those ’70s MLBPA issues so if anyone has some, I’ll gladly trade for ’em. Thank you for reading!