Sunday, September 10, 2017

Baseball Cards Magazine + 1988 Topps UK Set

In the process of moving into my family's new house, I have been taking things, especially things related to my baseball card collection, from my mom's house.  I previously took all the baseball cards, but today I went back to Mom's to get my old price guides and baseball card magazines:

My old price guides, which are mainly Baseball Cards magazine.
In this post, though, I wanted to mainly talk about the 1988 Topps UK Set.
Box for the 1988 Topps UK Set.
This is a set of what we would call miniature cards, and there were 88 of them in the whole set.  You can find unopened packs for sale on ebay; I only ever saw the complete sets for sale, though, and that's what I bought.  Here are a few samples, Harold Baines, Wally Joyner, and Juan Samuel.

Three of the 1988 Topps UK cards.
I think it's unusual that the cards appear in alphabetical order, from #1 Harold Baines to #87 Robin Yount, with #88 being the checklist.  Here are the card backs, with only a couple lines of statistics, a little cartoon and fact about the player, a faux signature and some vital statistics, and then a description of baseball rules and statistics, for the UK audience, in the category "Talkin' Baseball."

The card backs.
I always thought this was a handsome set, and I kind of wished they would make a whole US-sized set (size meaning both not minis, and 700+ cards) in this design.  I could lose the "Talkin' Baseball" feature, but otherwise I think the design would go great for a full set.

The top of the complete set box, with American flag.
I'm including a couple more pictures of the box, namely the top and the bottom.  The top is mostly a picture of the American flag, to help make clear where they play American baseball.  The bottom of the box indicates that the cards were manufactured in Ireland by Topps Ireland.  I would be interested to find out more about Topps Ireland, since I've noticed that this isn't the only set I have which was made in Ireland.

Bottom of the complete set box, indicating it was made by Topps Ireland.
I started out this post by mentioning that I have just reclaimed my old magazines and price guides, and so I'll close by drawing the connection to the 1988 Topps UK set.  Baseball Cards magazine was partially a price guide, but was largely an advertising vehicle for many baseball card dealers.  One dealer, Texas Sportcard Company, frequently placed a multi-page ad; here's just one page:
Page 4 of 5 of the Texas Sportcard Company ad in the July 1991 issue of Baseball Cards magazine.
I'm sure it's hard to spot, but among all the sets advertised there is the 1988 Topps UK set.  It's marked "SCARCE!!" and was on offer for $14.95.  Here's a close-up:

Close-up of the above ad, showing the 1988 Topps UK set.
I'm sure that I bought the set from an ad in one of the magazines, but I certainly don't remember which dealer I got it from.  I do remember being surprised when I started seeing a UK set in the ads, and ordered it fairly soon afterwards.  Looking at these ads (and there are many, many ads per issue) I see so many offbeat sets, and part of me wants to find them now and buy them.  But then part of me thinks, what's the point of buying the 1987 M&M's set, and the 1978 Tastee-Freez discs set, and the 1988 Bazooka set, anymore?

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