When it Comes to Topps Checklists, Uncut Sheets Rare
by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
March 21, 2005
Dear Babe: I have a couple of questions about the unnumbered, blue-bordered Topps team checklists
from 1973. These are the ones with the facsimile autographs on the front and the checklist of team
cards in the 1973 set on the back. I know these checklists are harder to find than the red-bordered
versions from 1974, but can't find a definitive answer on why they're rarer. I also wonder if certain
team cards are rarer than others. I'm having a heck of a time completing this subset in good condition,
in part because some team cards never appear on eBay and because of the horrific centering problems with
these tough finds. Also, I have one that's in French on the back, which must be the O-Pee-Chee edition.
I've never seen anyone even mention having a French language version of this card. Does such a set exist
or is this rouge Franco version just a tease?
Jordan Perry, Redding, Calif.
There are 24 unnumbered 1973 team checklists that were included in packs of cards and also available on
uncut sheets through a mail-in offer. There's a difference of opinion between The Standard Catalog of Baseball
Cards from the editors of Sports Collectors Digest and Beckett's Almanac of Baseball Cards on exactly how the
cards were distributed, but both attest to their rarity in 1973 as opposed to 1974.
The Standard Catalog indicates the 1973 cards were in high-number packs, which were traditionally produced
in lesser numbers than other cards from the same year. Beckett's Almanac indicates the checklists were in test
packs that had cards from all series in them. Meanwhile, the ones from 1974 were simply inserts in packs of
cards. 1974 was the first year Topps issued the cards all together as opposed to in series, which explains
why they are easier to find and, therefore, have lower values.
As you noted, the checklists were also produced in Canada as part of the 1973 and 1974 O-Pee-Chee sets. Beckett
lists the 1973 checklists at $6 each, while the Standard Catalog has them at $2-$4. The ones from 1974 list
Beckett's Almanac has much higher values for the 1973 checklists. They book at $8 each with the Yankees and
Mets valued at $10 each. The Standard Catalog has them at $3.50 with the two New York teams booking at $6
each. The 1974 checklists book at $1-$1.25. As for the OPC cards, again the Almanac has much higher values
for the 1973 versions. They book at $6, while the Standard Catalog has them at $2.50. The 1974 checklists
list for $1.50-$2.50. Apparently the uncut sheets are extremely rare finds. Beckett lists uncut sheets at
Dear Babe: I have a book, "Best Plays of the Year," from 1963 by Robert Riger. It is a second
edition and came in a case. It also has five prints in a folder.
Hassie Boddy, Oxford, N.C.
As luck would have it, I found one that sold for $19 with S&H in a recent eBay auction. It was advertised
as having "a great color cover, 96 pages, great game photos, stories and a special tribute section
honoring the recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy." It also mentioned several Riger
illustrations. The auction description indicated the book was produced exclusively for the Liggett & Myers
Tobacco Co. (L&M), which indicates it was some type of premium from the days when cigarette companies were
big sponsors of pro sports.
Dear Babe: I purchased a box of Upper Deck cards in 1995. I pulled a Willie Mays autograph trade card. The
number on the back is 99160.
Ken Wooten, Sun City, Calif.
Did you or didn't you? That is the question. Since you mentioned a number, I assume you sent in the trade
card and received an autographed card in return. Mays autographed cards are worth $80-$100, according to
Beckett's Almanac of Baseball Cards and The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards from the editors of Sports
Collectors Digest. The Standard Catalog actually lists the unredeemed Mays trade cards at $6.
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About the author
Bill Wagner is a veteran journalist with 37 years in the newspaper business as well as being
a former Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. He developed the Babe Waxpak sports card column
in the 1980s and took over authorship in 1993, expanding into sports memorabilia and autographs
as well as answering questions on cards.
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