Latest on a Mantle error card

A reader – whose name and contact information I am embarrassed to admit I lost in my jumble of e-mail accounts – has inquired about a possible variation on the regular-issue (No. 50) 1964 Topps Mickey Mantle card.

   On his card, authenticated by PSA (though not as a variation), there is no period after the “Y” in the team name at the upper-right on back. Typically, of course, a period appears there.

   To try to get a feel for this anomaly, I contacted a major dealer in vintage cards and his findings were pretty much in line with my personal opinion of the status of the card in question. I believe the period disappeared as a result of over-inking of the red-orange background and/or deterioration of the printing plate. It is likely that many cards exist with not only this period, but also other punctuation is differing stages of being all there or not there at all. This result is typical of reverse (white on color) printing in that era.

   For the present, I’m not going to add this to the checklist for 1964 Topps in the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, but I’m certainly willing to listen to pro-inclusion arguments, and will revisit the subject if it ever appears like the “no period” card is finding acceptance in the marketplace.

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While my official responsibilites with the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards only cover the vintage (pre-1981) major league and minor league sections, I’m always willing (time permitting) to work with collectors to enhance the more modern listings.

   Thus, I hope to see added to the 2012 edition a newly reported regional disc set: 1981 FBI Discs.

   Among the many types of 27/8-inch discs issued in the 1970s and 1980s, the currently listed 1982 FBI Discs are probably the rarest. These were issued in pairs on the bottoms of cardboard six-pack contains of Bantam (and possibly other brands) soft drinks in Canada. Because of their appearance on the bottom of a box, most discs suffer from scuffing on the front, or show indentations from the soda.

   The 1982 discs are so rare that we recently were informed that the catalog’s checklist of 30 players is incomplete by at least two. A panel of the 1982 discs has recently been offered at an outrageous price on eBay. That panel adds Ron Guidry and Richie Zisk to the known 1982 checklist.

   Now we learn that there was also a 1981 FBI issue. The Reggie Jackson from that set is pictured here. Like the 1982 discs, the earlier issue has black-and-white player portraits at center that have had the cap logos airbrushed away. A green-and-orange FBI logo is at top, with the player’s name at bottom.

   Unlike the 1982 FBI issue, there is no copyright date on the 1981 discs. The MLB Players Association logo flanks the portrait at left, with the players position (in English and French) at right, along with his team’s city. The team nickname apparently appears only on those discs that have more than one team in a city. The unnumbered discs are checklisted here in alphabetical order. This list is certainly incomplete and the set probably comprises at least 30 discs.

Near-Mint to Mint
Rick Bosetti ……………………………… $25
Warren Cromartie ……………………… $25
Steve Garvey……………………………… $35
Reggie Jackson …………………………. $75
Nolan Ryan …………………………….. $400

   If you can add any names to the list, please send a scan for verification to my e-mail address at

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Regular contributor Larry Serota has tipped us off to a previously uncataloged regional issue of 1951 Chicago Cubs promotional player pictures.

   I’m frequently amazed at the breadth and depth of Larry’s vintage “card” interests. He obviously spends untold hours scouring eBay for the type of collectibles that veteran collectors used to label as “oddball.”

   Even more importantly, he is willing to share what he finds with the rest of the hobby by presenting the information to the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards.

   Larry’s latest report is of a trio of Cubs player pictures issued by a Chicago area clothing emporium. This type of premium was often issued in conjunction with player autograph appearances at retail outlets in a by-gone era when a ballplayer was willing to spend a couple of hours meeting and greeting the fans in exchange for a new suit.

   The premium pictures are 51/2-by-8 inches and are printed in black-and-white on blank-back stock. Each photo has a facsimile autograph. Printed in the wide bottom border is “COMPLIMENTS OF HIRSCH CLOTHING STORES.”

   The players known to date are: Hank Sauer, Johnny Schmitz and Bob Schultz. Whether this trio represents the entirety of the issue, or there are players yet to be reported, is not known.

   Check back in a future SCD column for your chance to help Larry with one of his collecting endeavors with another scarce 1951 baseball issue. 

   Bob Lemke is the editor of The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. Reach him by e-mail at: scbcguy@yahoo.


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