Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Topps 1963 Airbrushing

The 1963 set is one of the more popular set from the 1960's because of the bright colors on the card. Remember, these followed the rather boring 1961 design (see Heritage 2010) and the 1962 wood grain set.

Two photos were featured on each card. The large picture was more of a portrait type pose. The smaller circle insert was in more of a positional type pose. It was also in black and white.

One interesting feature of the Cubs cards was how Topps dealt with players that were recent acquisitions by the team (I'll assume they did the same thing with all the teams, but the only '63's I've got are Cubs). There were cards for 26 players and six of them were picked up by the Cubs after the 1962 season was over.

Topps had no picture of these guys in a Cub uniform. They dealt with this problem the same way for all six.

Instead of airbrushing, they used a hatless picture.

But, on the smaller circle-insert pictures, a C was plastered on the hat and any uniform logos were removed.

On most of the cards, it was pretty obvious that a C was added. It seems that the technology of the day made if possible to doctor black and white photos, but changes to color pictures were more difficult and Topps didn't bother to try.

By the late '60's Topps was removing logos on color cards. But the earliest cards I could find that had color logos actually changed were in the last series of the 1971 set.

From the looks of these two cards, it seems like the technology still had a long way to go.

Here is one other oddity from the 1963 set. Look at the insert picture on Ron Santo's card.

It looks like the C was taken away. I wonder what happened here? Did they cut and paste it onto Lindy McDaniels' hat??


  1. I think they did it to save on licensing fees.

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  3. I'm surprised that they even did any airbrushing in 1963. I have a 1964 Don Demeter card (Tigers) and a 1961 Turk Farrell card (Dodgers). On both of these cards, they are wearing Phillies uniforms, with a red cap and the white "P" clearly showing.

  4. I love the '63s. That's a nice catch on the caps.

  5. Hey Jim, Topps did some color airbrushing in the late 50's and early 60's. The '57 Ray Jablonski has him in a Cubs uni painted on a Reds one. The 58 Bob Cerv has a horrible A's cap painted on, with a Yanks uniform. 1960 had a few, and one 1961 I remember was a terrible Jim Marshall with a blue (!) SF hat painted over a Cubs hat.