Is this a great football card, or what? ...

Right around 1962 or so, I got out of the football card collecting end of things, trading my entire stash at the time, maybe four years worth of cards, to a friend who lived nearby. The deal was he got all of my football, and I got all of his 1960 Topps Baseball. Since he wasn’t as enthusiastic about his cards as I was about mine, his 1960s were a lot more pristine than my cards, so unlike so many of the cards that I owned back then, many of them have never felt the indignity of an upgrade.

But after doing a story in SCD last week about 1961 Topps Football, it sorta made me wish I still had those beauties around nearly a half century later. I’d forgotten what a great set of cards that is, and few things work better to get you re-involved with a card issue than researching and writing about it.

I won’t rehash the article (SCD May 22), but I will say it’s maybe one of the best vintage Topps sets ever, with the reasons more elaborately enumerated in the article. But I have a kinda grim rule of thumb for cards: they are winners if they would work well with an obituary for the individual, meaning essentially the the image on the card nicely (dare I say elegantly) illuminates something about the player and his personality.

By that morbid rule, I’d say about half of the issue fits the bill. Hard to pick a favorite, though I could contend that it starts right off with the No. 1 Johnny Unitas gem, but for pure, unadulterated joy, I gotta go with Leo Nomellini’s No. 64.

It probably wasn’t used with his obituary (the Hall of Famer died in 2000), but it should have been. If there is a better card that says “1950s-60s football” than this one, I’ll eat my beret. I also assume that he was the inspiration for the comic strip character Tank McNamara, but of course I can’t prove it.


Auction of the Week


Charitybuzz's October 2021 Premiere Trading Card Auction

Headlined by the coveted ‘52 Mantle rookie card, and featuring some of the most valuable trading cards in the world. Auction live now through Oct. 28.


Sports Wax Promotions

Halloween Card Show October 30th - Toys, Sports Cards, Non-Sports Cards & Memorabilia