This is the last “look-back” for an older card set which has been re-created as part of the Topps Lineage product. I’m skipping over any regular Topps sets as Lineage does have autographed reprints of older flagship Topps set cards and 1952-style cards of current players. But that’s not really in line with the other inserts, which are of the oddball variety. My last one is my second favorite of these oddballs – behind the 75 minis – Topps 3-D.
This was a 12-card test set issued in 1968. Again, I have to direct anyone with more detailed interest in these cards to the “Topps Archives” blog – there is a ton of interesting info that really does more justice to these sets than I do below. In short, these cards were produced by a company named Visual Panographics, which later produced the Kellogg’s sets of the 1970’s. I’m not positive, but they may have then become or started the company Optigraphics, who released the Sportflics cards of the mid-late 1980’s. They eventually created the Score and Pinnacle products under the name Pinnacle Brands.
- Set Design: The cards measure 2-1/4″ x 3-1/2″ – just a little bit smaller than standard size – with rounded corners. The cards were printed using a technique called lenticular printing that creates a 3D / movement type effect with the player’s interaction with the background. The player name is in colorful block letters at the top, above a circle containing the player’s position and team. Most cards come with blank backs.
- Packs: Topps issued the set in 2-card test packs (5¢) that came 12 to a box. Each pack came with an easel that could be folded up to display the cards. The picture below is from an auction last year – this may be the only known box of these remaining.
- Hall of Fame: There are 2 Hall of Famers in this set – Roberto Clemente and Tony Perez. (See below for the Brooks Robinson proof)
- Last Active player: Perez played his last game on October 5, 1986 – some 18 years after this test set was issued.
- Variations: Some cards come with a stamp on the back in either Red or Black. The stamp says: “This is an experimental XOGRAPH card produced as a limited edition. Not for public circulation or distribution. Not for resale. To be returned to: Visual Panographics, Inc. 488 Madison Avenue New York, New York.” There are also some small variations in the pictures used on the front.
The box has the Topps logo with an ad for “3-D Baseball Picture Cards”. Next to that is a picture of one of the cards and the 5 cent pack price – and apparently these came with gum. The box advertises that the cards are “Real 3-D without glasses”.
- A proof card of Brooks Robinson has been found that is similar in design to the 1967 set. The only wording is “Orioles” at the top of the card.
- There have also been 3 unissued cards turn up in uncut sheets with the 1968 design – these are Rick Monday, John O’Donoghue and Tommy Davis.
- There have also been some findings of square cornered proofs as well