Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More '75 mystery


This is another one of those posts that is probably only of interest to me. And I don't have the time to do any real research that would make it interesting to others. Such is life. This blog really is about me, isn't it?

Anyway, a week or two ago, Chris from View From The Skybox asked me a question that made me think something that I think all the time: "where do they come up with this stuff?"

He wanted to know if cards 1-132 in the 1975 Topps mini set were more difficult to find than the other cards in the set.

I told him "no," because they haven't been. But I have heard in the past that even though the 1975 Topps set was issued all at once and not series by series, cards 1-132 were printed in smaller quantities and considered short-prints. But I always looked at that statement quizzically. Because when I was collecting in 1975, that wasn't the case at all.

I have excellent recollection of my first year of collecting cards and if I suspected any segment of the 1975 Topps set to be short-printed, it would not be the front end of the set. It would be the back end. Cards 529-660 seemed more elusive than any other group.

This isn't based on anything scientific, of course, just on my observation in 1975 of the cards I pulled and the cards my brothers and friends pulled.

So I decided to put my recollection to the test. Was I just remembering what I wanted to remember or was the back end of the set more elusive for me? I broke the set down by "series," or more accurately by checklist, which I am assuming reflects each print sheet. Cards 1-132 printed on one sheet, cards 133-264 printed on another sheet, etc.

Then, going on recall, I listed which cards I saw in 1975. Those cards had to be either in my collection or my brothers' or friends' collections. They couldn't be cards that I saw in an ad or during my trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame that year (which discounts Ralph Garr and Vida Blue, two cards that I drooled over at the Hall). These had to be cards that were actually "pulled" in 1975.

Again this isn't based on anything other than personal memory. But it will answer a question for me.

Here we go:


Cards 1-132

Cards I saw in '75, by number: 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 32, 33, 36, 37, 38, 40, 46, 47, 51, 54, 56, 63, 64, 66, 69, 71, 72, 73, 75, 76, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 87, 88, 91, 92, 96, 101, 102, 103, 111, 112, 113, 114, 120, 123, 128, 129, 130

Total number I saw: 60

Percentage I saw: 45.5 percent



Cards 133-264

Cards I saw in '75, by number: 135, 140, 141, 142, 145, 146, 149, 151, 154, 155, 156, 157, 165, 167, 170, 171, 174, 178, 179, 180, 182, 183, 186, 188, 190, 191, 193, 194, 196, 198, 200, 205, 209, 212, 213, 216, 220, 222, 223, 227, 233, 237, 239, 240, 243, 245, 246, 254, 256, 258, 260

Total number I saw: 51

Percentage I saw: 38.6 percent

Already this isn't matching up with the statement that cards 1-132 are short prints



Cards 265-396

Cards I saw in '75, by number: 267, 268, 269, 270, 276, 277, 278, 279, 282, 283, 285, 287, 288, 292, 294, 296, 299, 300, 304, 306, 309, 312, 314, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 322, 324, 326, 327, 328, 331, 335, 339, 342, 343, 346, 348, 351, 352, 354, 358, 361, 362, 364, 365, 366, 367, 369, 371, 372, 373, 374, 376, 377, 379, 381, 385, 388, 390, 393, 396

Total number I saw: 64

Percentage I saw: 48.9 percent



Cards 397-528

Cards I saw in '75, by number: 404, 405, 409, 410, 412, 415, 416, 417, 418, 421, 425, 426, 427, 429, 431, 435, 437, 438, 439, 442, 444, 446, 448, 450, 452, 453, 454, 457, 458, 460, 461, 462, 465, 472, 473, 475, 478, 479, 481, 483, 484, 486, 487, 489, 496, 498, 500, 501, 505, 506, 507, 509, 511, 512, 519, 523, 525, 528

Total number I saw: 58

Percentage I saw: 43.9 percent



Cards 529-660

Cards I saw in '75, by number: 532, 535, 536, 541, 545, 547, 551, 552, 554, 558, 564, 568, 571, 584, 588, 590, 594, 596, 597, 598, 600, 601, 603, 604, 606, 609, 612, 620, 625, 628, 629, 637, 640, 642, 643, 645, 647, 650, 652, 653, 657, 660

Total number I saw: 42

Percentage I saw: 31.8 percent

Yup, that's what I thought.

I saw far fewer cards from the back end of the set than in any other segment.

Again, this doesn't satisfy much except my own curiosity. I'll file this under the other 1975 Topps mysteries, like that statement that 1975 minis were issued in limited quantities exclusively in Michigan and California even though I bought them in 1975 in New York.

My ultimate objective in posting this is that someone in the know -- someone from, I don't know, Topps maybe -- will confirm that cards 1-132 were short-printed or, better yet, that cards 529-660 were short-printed. Or that, yes, '75 minis were distributed in Michigan and California, but they also dropped a few boxes at a tiny corner store in Binghamton, New York, just for me.

But that's probably not going to happen.

So this will have to do.

I guess my favorite set of all-time should retain a little mystery.

8 comments:

  1. The following is going to be based on memory, so if I am wrong please correct me.

    When Topps went to printing the whole set at once they mixed series on each sheet. For example, a sheet would contain a mix of all series an not just 1-132. To tell which card was on which sheet you have to look at the back. On the back there will be a letter from A -E that will indicate which sheet the cards were printed on.

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    1. I'm not sure. I'll have to check the backs of my cards when I get a chance.

      This may or may not answer the question: http://nightowlcards.blogspot.com/2011/10/reading-between-sheets.html

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  2. Solution: We team up and buy 100 unopened boxes of '75 Topps, open them and do the math. Maybe we can get a research grant.

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    1. The government has sponsored plenty of stupid research projects, but I think this one would be awesome.

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  3. Why don't they just tell us?!? There's so much we as collectors end up having to guess about, but there's somebody at Topps right now who knows. This industry needs more transparency.

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    1. You nailed it. A couple days ago, I was watching ESPN's Mint Condition interview a Topps rep about whether there would ever be gum in packs again. The guy said they discuss this topic "internally" every year. Really? Internal discussions about gum?

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