Wednesday, February 27, 2013

For the sake of organization: The '75 mini page quest

I have been communicating with Ultra Pro's representative on Twitter about manufacturing a style of page that fits 1975 Topps-style minis.

No promises have been made, but Ultra Pro said that they would study the issue.

I got the impression that they weren't exactly aware that there was a need for pages this size, or that there were even cards this size.

That's not a reflection on the company, that's a reflection on how old I am. Even a card set as iconic as 1975 Topps minis is "so old" that we can apparently just ignore them because "nobody collects that stuff anymore."

But, take it from me, trying to organize my '75 minis is a real problem because I can't find the proper pages.

I recently received a whole bunch of '75 minis from Andy at High Heat Stats. I love '75 mini packages more than anything that is not alive. What a great bunch of cards. They make me giddy like nothing else. But the whole page-sorting problem puts a damper on the excitement of these cards.

You can't put them in the pages that traditionally fit Goudey-style cards or late '40s Bowman. Because this happens:

They don't fit width-wise or height-wise. That's a whole lot of corner-dinging danger right there.

There is always the option of putting them in a regular-size, nine-pocket page, but the minis' tendency to float around in the page ruins my binder aesthetics. (Yes, I have binder aesthetics. You don't?)

The cards fit, but they're crooked and not uniform at all. This gets me all bunched up.

Ultra Pro recommended first putting the cards in sleeves that fit the cards and then putting those sleeves in the page, but I don't think that would look any better.

It also recommended this:

I don't really know what pages those are. The only 8-pocket pages I have would not accommodate '75-style minis. They'd be floating around worse than the 9-pocket pages. So I don't think this would work.

What WOULD work, of course, are the old pages that were manufactured back in the '80s and '90s just for these kinds of cards.

Like so:

I keep trotting out the two old-style '75 mini pages that AdamE sent me just because I'm so obsessed with this topic.

But notice how great they look. All uniform. No card taller than the other. Snug in their pockets, just like a baby roo.

I realize that UltraPro deals with a lot more than baseball cards. It makes pages for collectible cards of all sorts, as well as other memorabilia. And I have a feeling that Magic cards and Yu Gi Oh and other stuff that I won't mention for fear that I'm totaling screwing up the names take up a lot of their time and make them a lot of money.

So if this isn't on the top of their priority list, I understand.

But I do have one thing going for me.

Notice how well certain modern cards fit into that same old-style '75 mini page:

Those are all mini cards manufactured by Topps in the last couple of years. 2011 Lineage, 2012 Topps minis, 2012 Topps '87-style inserts, 2013 Topps '72-style inserts. And the 2013 Heritage minis haven't even hit the market yet.

Very soon -- if not already -- there are going to be collectors clamoring for pages that fit these kinds of minis, since Topps has suddenly gone loopy over this particular size and shape. No longer will it be just some 40-year-old like me trying to relive his childhood collecting days. I will have company.

I sent the Ultra Pro Twitter guy a list of all the recent card sets that feature '75-style mini sizes and I assume they'll see what they can do (I already let him know that the old-style '75-mini page are slightly smaller both height-wise and width-wise to accommodate the smaller-sized card -- that may be sticking point, I would guess, if they're dealing with templates).

What prompted this whole discussion was a fit of disgust after I knocked over my stack of '75 minis while trying to get to a binder. I kind of called out Ultra Pro in my 140-character rant after re-assembling the cards. Fortunately, it struck up a conversation.

But I won't put my '75 minis in any page until I can find a proper fit. It's an organization thing. And I'm not handy enough to try that jury-rigged page that was recommended to me once before. There would be blood all over the pages.

So out the '75 minis sit, unprotected, cowering in fear over the thought of someone knocking them over again.

I'll keep you posted if I hear anything else from Ultra Pro.

Meanwhile, I want to feature my favorite minis that I received in the package from Andy:

One of the first cards I ever saw that was not part of my collection or my brother's collection. I traded with a friend for it. This card became an instant favorite out of the entire set.

Whenever I played baseball as a kid in the backyard in 1975, I envisioned myself as Bernie Carbo as pictured on this card.

This card was the epitome of cool in '75, and as I've mentioned before, the card always makes me think of the frogs we used to capture in the backyard as kids. I don't know what the connection is between imprisoned frogs and this Holtzman card, but it's there forever.

Finally, there is this card -- which was, by far, the worst-conditioned card in the package Andy sent.

This looks like a lot of my original '75s, although I would never treat a Cey card this poorly. Out of my four or five 1975 Cey minis, this gets the honor of the most "loved" card.

As you can see, the 1975 Topps minis hold a deeply personal connection in my collection, more so than almost any other card that I have. These cards deserve to be preserved and presented in a fashion that says "look, there are no more special cards than these ones."

All it takes is a page that can properly house a 2 1/4-by-3 1/8 card.

They existed before. With the technology -- and the new minis -- in place today, I think they can exist again.

(EDIT: Here is the latest communication with Ultra Pro, sent after this post was published:

So, if you want '75-mini style pages, let them know!)


  1. N.O. - is the manufacturing code on your sheets "Rotman Plastic Sheets Worcester MA" Style PS1000TL? That's what the vast majority of mine are and they also do a great job holding 48-52 Bowmans, and smaller west coast regionals like Remars and Mothers Cookies. One other style I found is named "Hytech Collectors Page 9 pocket topload"; but that company is probably from the 80's as well. There may be some of these buried in long forgotten binders in some old bay area shops, will keep my eyes open.

  2. As a matter of fact, that's exactly what it says.

    Larry Fritsch Cards used to sell this size sheet regularly, as recently as a few years ago. But they don't anymore, I don't think.

  3. Greg, I've seen those conversations that you've had on twitter. I've tried to keep up with them, just to see what the end result would be.

    I don't collect '75 minis, but as you mentioned in the post, the proliferation of minis in modern sets is creating a need for this size of sheet, as even team collectors will need these for storage eventually.

    I know I need them already...

  4. I told you when I sent you those that it would cause you endless suffering until you found more...

  5. See, this is why I generally don't like minis.

    Here's the page size they were recommending. It might be okay sitting horizontally since it would lay slightly flatter than a 9-pocket.

    If Topps does the mini set again this year, that should help a lot. And like we mentioned to them, Topps Magic FB has been pumping a bunch of that size since 2009 as well. The 2006 Fleer minis might be about that size, too.

  6. Durn. I thought these existed and asked for some at a friendly card shop just this evening. The proprietor thought he had some too.....but turned out the other proprietor must have sold them all.

    Minis seem to be the rabbit of cards lately. Everywhere I look there are more of them hopping around when I have my cards all spread out everywhere. And you just can't corral them very well.

    Thanks for pushing Ultra-PRO's buttons on this. And I'm glad I know where to look for the news that these become a reality again.

    Until then though, I just don't know what to do with all those cute little bunny cards.

  7. I bought a whole box of Ultra Pro 12 pocket sheets hoping to put my double set (green & red backs) of 2008 Goudey. They are also the smaller size. Guess what! they don't fit in the 12's either. I imagine the mini size would be perfect.

    Still also looking for six pocket sheets that are 3½" squares instead of tall and narrow. I want to put those cheesy Isaly's/food store discs from the 70's in them. Four pockets would leave just way too much empty space.

  8. Those size minis aren't just limited to baseball either. I opened some Topps Magic football the other day and thought of you and Ultra Pro when I saw the minis in there. I'm pretty sure they're right about the same size.