The Topps Vault is cyber heaven …

Camp59.jpg    As I suspect many readers understand, this business of blogging is a learning process for me, which has resulted in my spending more and more time in the mysterious world of cyberspace, bouncing about from one website to another trying to acclimate myself to something that doesn’t remotely come easily.

   As you might suspect, there are more misses than hits, but I suppose if you can bat .300 or so you’ve done just fine, or if you hit the occasional triple or home run, it’s even better. If you’ve never poked your nose into the Topps Vault (, I’d urge you to do so, even if it means stopping at the local library to take advantage of their Internet capabilities. (The original photograph from the famed 1959 Topps Symbol of Courage Roy Campanella card is shown at right)

   See, I understand there are readers who don’t have the Internet, an observation that I suppose is a bit goofy when blogged like this to people who presumably do have it. Still, I transfer many of these blogs to the pages of my column in SCD, so the recommendation isn’t nearly as silly as it sounds.
   As the photos here suggest, for the old geezers like me who love SCD and a half century of hobby history, the stuff in the vault is as cool as it gets. Currently, they are offering Topps Archival File Copy trading cards and pages from the binders that Woody Gelman & Co. used to create an historical record of their creations.

   Some of those album pages with two or three cards pasted in to show both the fronts and backs were sold in the famous 1989 Guernsey’s Topps Auction, but hundreds of others were retained in the files. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to go the site and see some of the pages that are currently available (1961 Topps Baseball as I blog this) or the many that have been auctioned on eBay over the past year-plus.

   The website notes: “The Topps team also inserted many of its original file copy cards onto special die-cut pages. These striking cards are free of any staining and present themselves in high-quality condition. The stain-free cards are encapsulated two ways, either as “Authentic” or with an actual BVG numerical grade, i.e. BVG 8. The Topps team archived only one of each stain-free card into the presentation binder and this rarity is identified on the label as 1/1.”

   For many years, Topps used to face criticism, largely justified, for being way to “present focused,” a byproduct of an understandable company mantra that they were creating a product aimed at youngsters. Just as it’s difficult for me to make a transition from a printed-page philosophy to something that accounts for all the confusing stuff that occurs in cyberspace, Topps officials have for many years now understood the adult-orientation to so many of their products – old and new – and adjusted accordingly.

   We both starting to get it.

P.S. Happy 75th birthday, Mr. Aaron.

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