Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Topps and Quality Control

I was putting together a trade package tonight, and I was struck by how many really off-center, mis-colored, and otherwise less-than-decent printing jobs I found throughout especially the 1977 Topps set.  These aren't the worst by any stretch of the imagination, but they are representative:

This doesn't even touch the surface of some of the amazingly horrible airbrushing jobs they did to create cards for the Mariners and Blue Jays in that set.  I mean, as an example, it appears that Topps got Grant Jackson's photo above while he was standing in front of an aquarium somewhere -- but hey, it's not an airbrushed hat!  

After going through those cards and some of the cards before it in the 1970s and then getting into the 1978, 1979, and 1980 sets, I will say that those later sets seemed to get better.

Then, as production increased with the competition in the early 1980s, things didn't stay wonderful, unfortunately -- badly cards still got by their quality control personnel:

From this perspective, certainly, I do not long for the "good old days."  Technology has helped even these issues out, I believe.


  1. There's at least one or two bloggers out there who actually collect these off-centered/mis-cut cards. I for one have a few in my damaged card pc. Just proves there's a piece of cardboard for just about anyone out there.

  2. Off-Centered and miscuts make collecting the 70s (and a few of the earlier) sets interesting. I don't mind minor off-centering sometimes It has helped me get some more expensive cards for cheaper.

  3. The differences in centering were somehow comforting to me while looking through my 80's and 70's cards. I'm not talking about Leon Roberts there, but slight differences seem to make the cards seem more like individuals I guess.