With professional baseball becoming popular in other regions of the world, Topps decided to try and cash in on it. Starting in 1946, the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League was formed. Given the time of year they play baseball in Venezuela, it gives players from North America an opportunity to play in what would normally be their off season. Its a way of keeping their baseball skills sharp.
Topps teamed-up with a company called Benco to help print what would be their first Venezuelan set. 1959 Topps Venezuelan consists of 198 cards. Its basically the same first two series of cards that were released in the United States. The first series of Venezuelan cards has a mix of grey and cream colored backs. In the U.S. counterpart, they were all cream colored. Cards normally show that they were printed in the U.S. or Venezuela. The Venezuelan team cards don’t state a country of origin. Plus the Venezuelan team cards have numbered checklists on the back too making the set look bigger than 198 cards. This can be very misleading for some collectors.
The main difference between the U.S. and Venezuelan cards is the lack of gloss. The Venezuelan cards don’t have gloss at all. You normally don’t think of vintage sets like this having gloss, but they do. Because the Venezuelan cards don’t have gloss, almost every single card you find will have some type of damage. Its just not a little damage either. There is going to be a bunch. But don’t let the damage fool you though. This Bill Virdon 1959 Topps Venezuelan #190 recently sold for just over $200.00. The U.S. version can be bought for under $5.00 in most cases.