Tuesday, June 15, 2010

1955 Topps Baseball Double Headers #5, Ted Kazanski

Today's distinctive 132-player set is actually a 66-card issue, all picturing a pair of baseballers on one piece of cardboard. Topps "reused" a portion of each picture by adding an off-center fold.

Card front (folded)

When "closed," you get a player like Gordon Jones on one side and stats on the other. It seems odd that the higher-numbered player gets the front, but let's face it, the whole set's a little unusual.

Card "back" (unfolded)

Compare Ted's "huge bonus" bio to his Mendoza line batting average. Three homers in 134 games doesn't make the Phillies president seem very prescient.

Open up the card to see another player, such as #5 Kazanski. (This pair of players shares just a single foot and red stirrup along the bottom, while others get a partial uniform swap.)

Card inside (unfolded)

Topps added some nice artistic detail to these cards, somewhat offsetting the lack of real photos. If you start to build the set, a really cool pattern emerges. Laid out side-to-side, the background pictures turn into panoramic stadiums!

Read my 1955 Red Man post for more on this art style, since it's almost certain that Topps issued the Doubleheaders set to compete with the chewing tobacco maker's own painted cards. (Indeed, 1955 proved Red Man's final year, which might mean their competition succeeded in driving Red Man out of the card business.)

Value: Judging from completed eBay auctions, "common" player combos cost about $10 and stars go for $20 and up. (As is often the case with eBay, many sellers set high Buy It Now prices, without any of those cards actually selling.)

Fakes / reprints: These cards would be easier to reprint than those with photos, but perhaps aren't well-known enough to make it worthwhile. (I've never seen fakes in the market.)


Anonymous said...

Were these sold in packs? If so, how many came per pack? Did it include a stick of gum or some other kind of insert? Thanks. This is a neat set.

Matthew Glidden said...

According to this complete set auction listing, they came in packs of 1 card plus a piece of gum for 1 cent.