Friday, August 20, 2010

Fifties Friday: 1951 Topps

Today we feature Topps' first baseball card release. Some collectors debate whether this should be considered Topps' first cards, since they aren't much like what we know today as baseball cards. They are much smaller and had no information on the back.

I am in the "they're cards" camp. They have a picture of a baseball player and they're cardboard. That's good enough for me!

The cards were sold in pairs, along with a piece of caramel; no gum until 1952. The two cards were attached and had to be separated at a perforation in the middle of the two. They were to be used as a baseball game, kind of like a card game. Following the card game theme, there were 52 cards in the first game (with red colored backs) and another 52 in the second game (the blue backs).

There were a total of five Cubs among the 104.

Only one Cub was among the red backs, Wayne Terwilliger

Four made the cut among the '52 blue backs, Andy Pafko, Hank Sauer, Johnny Schmitz, and Roy Smalley.

When I was getting these, I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced they were and how available they were, too. I figured that Topps' first cards would be super rare and super expensive. I was glad to be wrong on both counts. If you don't have any '51's in your collection, you should look into picking up a couple.

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