Product Highlight: 1997 Topps ProShooters Photo Marbles

Now this is one of those times you really don’t want to lose your marbles. Especially once you see how crazy collectors go for these tiny little orbs.

One of the most sought after Topps test-issued products from the 90s are the ProShooters Photo Marbles released in 1997. Collectors in Canada and Northeast U.S. had the opportunity to buy these before they disappeared off of store shelves.

Packaged inside each box are (24) packs. Inside each pack are (2) marbles and (1) of (2) checklist cards. That’s a total of (48) marbles and (24) checklist cards per box.

Much like a baseball card, each marble houses a picture of a Major League Baseball player. There are (60) total marbles in the set. Guys like Ken Griffey, Jr., Chipper Jones, Hideo Nomo, Roberto Alomar, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa all have marbles made. Many other popular players of the time are also included.

The marbles themselves are difficult to pin down. Only a small handful ever appear on eBay. What is really hard to find are the (2) checklists. Each checklist has (30) player marbles pictured on it. Player collectors go nuts for these because very few surface. Most checklists were likely thrown out by those who opened the packs.

Test Issues Are Fun!

Topps has had some funky test issues in the past, but their “Pro Shooter” Photo Marbles have to be near the top of the funky list.  I can just see kids (and adults) chucking these hard plastic balls at each other.  These were distributed with two marbles per package and there are 60 marbles in the entire set.  They are extremely rare to find and I’m sure some player collectors would love to get their hands on some of them.  Don’t ask how you would store it or grade it, but they do make interesting conversation pieces.

Test issues are some of the most ironic releases.  Topps issues a product in a certain region to “test” how it sells.  If it performs well they release more of it, and if it doesn’t sell well they stop.  What makes it ironic is that a lot of these “test issue” products only become desirable because they didn’t sell.  So what wasn’t popular, now is, because of how unpopular it was 🙂  I’m confused and have a headache!

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