Q&A – What’s Up With Those Black Marks On 80’s Topps Boxes?

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Question: Dear Sports Card Info: I really enjoy your blog, especially the weekly contests.  I’ve got a question for you.  I’m looking to purchase a box of 1984 Topps Football.  Why do so many of them have black marks on the front?  It seems like a lot of Topps boxes from the 80’s have these markings.  Thanks!

Answer: Great question!  Congrats on wanting to purchase a box of 1984 Topps Football.  That set has some great rookie cards including Dan Marino and John Elway.  Opening a box like that can be really fun.  If that’s what you plan to do.

During the 1980’s, Topps allowed distributors and stores to return older products that they were having a difficult time selling.  A way to get rid of old inventory.  The people making the return would get a little something back.  When an old case would be sent back, Topps would open it, place a black mark on the front of each box, and then send it back out to discount retail outlets for sale.  If I’m not mistaken, Topps would even allow individual boxes to be sent back too as long as they contained all (36) packs.  Back then, Topps did not seal their boxes with plastic like they do today.  Its possible that individual boxes sent back could’ve been compiled from other boxes in order to make a complete box.  Its almost impossible to know if the packs inside are the original ones Topps put in there.  They could be from other ’84 Topps Football boxes.

Authentic boxes without the marks will almost always be more desirable.  I wouldn’t purchase a valuable older box without the people at Baseball Card Exchange looking at it.  They have a great reputation with collectors.  The last thing you want to do is spend $1,000 and find out your box was tampered with.

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In The Game’s 2011 National Plans Are Coming Together

ITG has announced some of their plans for the 2011 National Sports Collectors Convention.  They got a lot going on!!!

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ITG will be producing a special National version of Decades – 1980s Hockey.  In this version, one of the three relic cards will be replaced with a Chicago Blackhawks Decades quad relic card.  There are 8 different Blackhawks Decades quad relic cards to collect.  In addition to this, anyone who opens a box of Decades – 80’s at the ITG booth will received a memorabilia card serial numbered 1/1.

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Collectors can also look for autographs of Dominik Hasek, which can only be found in this special Decades – 1980s version.

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Anyone who opens a box of this special version of Decades – 1980s will also receive a free ticket for a Mark Wells autograph.  Wells will be signing at the ITG booth on August 6 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  In addition to all of that, collectors who open a box of this stuff will receive a redemption card that qualifies you for the ITG wrapper redemption program.  More information to come on that.

Q & A – 1953 Bowman Color Reprints?

Question:  How do I tell the difference between a card from the real ’53 Bowman (color set) and the reprints from the ’80’s?

Answer:  One of the main differences between cards from the original 1953 Bowman Color set and the reprints of the 80’s would be condition.  Cards from 1953 will be harder to find in really good condition.  There are some people that would “artificially” age reprints to make them look like the real thing, so you need to be on the look out for that.  Specifically, the Mickey Mantle 1989 Bowman ’53 Color reprint actually has the word “Reprint” printed on the front.  Another major area that separates the originals from the reprints would be the color of the back.  If you take a look at the back of an original, the color will be a brown or grey.  A lot of the reprints will have a white back.  The original cards measure about 2.5″ x 3.75″.  Reprints may come in different sizes depending on the set.  The best way to be 100% sure is to buy one that is certified and/or graded.

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1989 Bowman Mickey Mantle ’53 Color Reprint

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Original ’53 Bowman Color back

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’53 Bowman Color reprint back