Friday, May 18, 2012

1969 Topps Baseball Team Posters #5, Baltimore Orioles

Born today, All-Star, Hall of Famer, and glove legend Brooks Robinson. Happy birthday to the Human Vacuum Cleaner, who turns 75. As a very partial observer, I note that Brooksie wore #5 on his uniform for 20 years (1957-1977) and it's now one of Baltimore's seven retired numbers.

Actual size is 12" x 20"

I consider 1969 the most ambitious year for Topps test issues, as they ran the gamut from tiny rub-on decals to this wall-ready poster set.

Team posters sold singly (and folded into wax packs) for ten cents each. All 24 franchises get a poster with several players, including the four expansion clubs (Montreal, Seattle, San Diego, Kansas City). The visible folds aren't considered condition issues unless they tear or start to flake off ink.

Value: Several posters prove popular and hard to come by, including the Series champion Miracle Mets, Yankees (Mantle's final active appearance), Pirates (Stargell, Clemente, Mazeroski), and aforementioned one-year Pilots. I've never seen an unfolded proof, but they might exist, and would command a hefty premium. The Orioles include two HOFers, so runs more than "lesser" teams. This mid-grade #5 cost me $40 on eBay.

Fakes / reprints: It'd be tough to fake the complete look, but they might exist. Make sure you're buying a 12" x 20" poster and be suspicious of any without folds.

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