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The big and small of it


It's amazing what you have time for when you have pages that fit the cards.
Although I loved the 1980 and 1981 Topps Super glossy cards dearly when I was walking or biking to the Greek deli to pick up single-card packs of the stuff back then, they slowly fell out of favor as the years went along.
My patience for collecting cards had grown thin anyway and there was no place to store giant 5-by-7 cards like these. Quite simply, my page game was weak.
So, I ended up selling them all in a garage sale. All of them. Jerry Koosman. Willie Stargell. Mike Schmidt. All gone. And I didn't care.
Move forward about 20 years and now I'm kicking myself for what I did. I could have held on to those shiny, glossy, movie-star-type cards because now I do have the pages!
Awhile ago I finally purchased some four-pocket pages and it's made me so much happier. None of those giant-sized cards are flopping about in a binder pocket or wherever. They're sitting in pages created just for them.
It makes me want to reacquire all of those cards -- mostly from the 1980 Super set -- that I sold. (I've written about this before, by the way). I haven't done much with it, picking up a couple when I find them. But I welcome them all into my collection.
I recently received a few from reader Jonathan that came with all that other stuff that he sent. All of these Supers are from the 1981 Home Team set, and they hail from a couple of teams I don't enjoy all that much.

Yes, Yankees and Mets. Yuck. (Neither John or Mazzilli seem to be too thrilled about me either).

But if I want all of the cards from these sets I have to start somewhere, right? Better to be gifted them than to be forced to buy -- ick -- Yankees cards.

Even after almost 40 years, these photo cards are nearly as fancy as they were when I was pulling them out of packs. The gloss and shine, while not as vibrant, is still there. A few of the cards I received are a bit off-condition, worn corners and a faint crease here or there -- which is weird for an item that was so pristine and fancy at the time -- but I still think they're cool.

Although the fronts of the cards are pretty similar between 1980 and 1981, the backs are different. For 1980, the backs are a question of "white back" or "gray back". The 1981 cards, meanwhile, feature the repeated Topps logo across the board. The Home Team set (there is also a National set), also has a checklist. Look at how many more Yankees there are than Mets!

Someone actually took the checklist suggestion seriously on the Mazzilli card. Clearly they didn't appreciate how fancy these pieces of cardboard were, certainly not scribble material.

I am most excited that I have pages to house these cards and I can't wait to add them. Then I'll have to do something about owning more Mets and Yankees than any other team. This clearly can't be happening.

All right, that's the "big" portion of the post. Here is the "small" portion:

These are bigified for viewing purposes but I think you know how small they actually are.

These are a couple of the Topps 206 cards from this year's set, which is being sold online only (boooooo!)

I received these from Jeffrey at Cardboard Catastrophes (he also threw in a Buster Posey to be cute, but it's already on its way out the door to someone else later this week). I'm glad he took the plunge on grabbing some of these. I will buy online-only cards only if I find them super appealing, but I'm going to say something that's borderline blasphemy among vintage collectors:

I don't find any of the Topps 206/205 tribute sets, nor the actual tobacco-era cards from the early 20th century, appealing. The look has never interested me. OK, you can put away that shocked face.

So, there's no chance I'll be hopping online to chase the rest of these down. But I do appreciate getting a couple to sample.

Oh, right, the backs ...

... we're supposed to care about the backs with these, aren't we?

I'm guessing the Sweet Caporal back is a variation (can you tell I'm over back variations?). 

Once again, the most exciting part of these cards is I have tobacco-card sized pages and therefore I won't be throwing them in a box where they get lost, or fall between the wall and the baseboard, or are carted off by magic mini elves or whatever happens to tiny cards.

Once, I would sell cards like this in a garage sale, just to be done with them.

But today, I have pages so I don't discriminate against the big and the small.


bryan was here said…
I remember those 5x7 '81 Topps National set fondly. You won them by getting a "Walk" in the scratch-off cards in '81 Topps Between my sister and I we had scratched off enough walks to each have our own complete sets. I had a few of the Home Team set cards that I picked up here and there (Frank Tanana sticks out as an example).

I sold off all my oversized cards a few years ago at a yard sale. I had quite a few of the '80 Supers as well. I bought a bunch of 5x7 frames to hang them on my bedroom walls back in the day, and that's how they were sold.
Nick Vossbrink said…
1. As a kid my favorite thing was getting odd pages and putting odd cards in them. I wish I'd paid more attention to what my heart wanted instead of being sidetracked by what Beckett said to focus on.

2. Definitely like the supers though they also sit squarely on the "is this really a card" borderline for me. Lack of anything useful on the backs makes them feel more like photopacks. The oversize 1984-86 cards are also interesting in that they feel better printed (clearer photos) than their smaller counterparts.

3. A little shocked at your not liking T-cards though I have to admit that if the Giants did not have Mathewson and McGraw in those sets my interest would be considerably smaller. As much as I like pre-war cards there is the whole pre-intergration thing that takes a lot of the shine off.

4. T-cards and other pre-war issues however ARE interesting to me in that they're printed differently (number of inks, stippling instead of screening, etc.) and as a print geek I love seeing those print samples.

5. Topps's modern T-like cards however crack me up. Especially when they suggest that the T in T206 means "Topps" and then change the backs to delete any mention of cigarettes.
Chris said…
I've been intrigued by Topps Super cards in all sports, but I haven't bought any yet. I do have some extra 4-pocket pages and they are a godsend.

The minis are a problem for me. I've got enough to fill at least two pages.. but I don't have any pages for minis. Never seen a shop sell single-pages and I don't need a whole box. But I won't be satisfied until I find a way to store them in pages. Same for Panini stickers.
This post made me smile for two reasons:
1) YAAAAAAY! Someone else views the 5x7 cards as worthwhile!
2) YAAAAAAY! Someone else doesn't find T206 and its fauxbacco decendents appealing!

In a world where liking or not liking sets will get you virtually yelled at, it's nice to find someone who shares some of your varying-degrees-of-unpopular opinions.
Michael Ott said…
You are correct, sir. Without the appropriate pages, those oddball-sized cards just flop around and can't be properly appreciated.
GCA said…
So does this mean you do want the Kershaw box topper I pulled out of A&G? :)
Fuji said…
I'm kinda bummed that Topps didn't produce 1981 Topps Super Home Team boxes for the Bay Area. I'd love to own a 5x7 Rickey Henderson for my collection and office wall. And I know it'd be a "stretch" since he didn't have a 1981 Topps card, but I'm sure baseball fans (especially Giants fans) would love a 5x7 card of Willie McCovey.
I feel the same way about the 1977 Sportscaster cards. I'd love to collect them but really have no way of storing them. They don't fit in pages or a standard sports card box so you're on your own in coming up with a good way to keep them organized.
Jon said…
The four-card postcard pages are great for so many things. When it comes to collecting, they truly are a godsend!
Adam Kaningher said…
I ran across a few of the 5x7s several years ago, mostly Cubs. I believe I sent them over to Nick, partially because he's a Cubs fan, and partially because I didn't have pages.

I'm glad I gave them a good home, but I need to find some of these specially-sized pages bedore I end up with more oddly-sized box toppers.
Nick said…
I like T206s, and I understand its appeal to so many, but it's probably not even in my Top 10 favorite vintage designs. The modern offshoots have their moments but overall they got tiring pretty quickly. Also I really should get some of those 5x7 pages because I never know what to do with oversized cards.

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