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A whiter shade of pale, er, cream in 1960 ...

In the middle of preparing for a photo shoot for a feature story about 1960 Topps Baseball for next week’s issue (March 26) ofSports Collectors Digest, I visited the Topps Archives website (, which is where this cool uncut sheet image came from.

The blog talks about the issue being printed in three different types of card stock: white, cream and gray. And by golly, the images included with the blog clearly suggest as much, but wherever those “white” backs came from, they didn’t make it to my neighborhood in Yonkers, N.Y., in 1960 and I didn’t pick up any in the ensuing half century as I grudgingly upgraded several hundred cards from the originals.

In fact, the only way I could see much of a variation in my cream-colored backs from the first, third and fifth series was from looking at the cards as they are stacked in a box and spotting tiny slivers of “whiter” cards.

But the ones I have aren’t really white, they are just a bit less creamy than the surrounding cards.

After a couple of calls to two of the great vintage Topps experts that I know, Bob Lemke and Mike Jasperson of the Topps Vault, I was a bit relieved to be assured that my assessment – if not necessarily gospel – at least matches the conventional wisdom surrounding 1960 Topps card stock.

But I gotta admit, in the three images posted on the guy’s website, the third card back sure looks white to me. I just couldn’t find anything to match it in my modest inventory of barely more than one complete set.

And that got me to wondering if some of the bleaching mischief that went on in the 1980s might have accounted for the odd super-white 1960s Topps back here and there.

And I certainly not impugning anything with the guy who created that website mentioned above, which is an absolutely incredible source of information about vintage cards.

I’d certainly appreciate any feedback from readers about their own inventories: one of my favorite guys on the planet, Dave Czuba, is going to call me later this week with his own report about his 1960 Topps cards.


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