ACU-Card – America’s First Independent Sports Card Grading Service

I scanned this ad for ACU-Card from the Spring 1990 issue (Edition 2) of Topps Magazine

Frankly, dozens of third-party authenticators have come and gone. You can see a great list of them here on the Collectors forums. What I’m more interested in is where that 1952 Topps Mantle card is today (by the way, there’s no way it’s real).

I’ve read that a coin dealer named Alan Hager started the company. Many collectors have shared that he wasn’t really a high-integrity character. But If you want to add a piece of hobby history to your collection, you can still find a bunch of ACU-Card slabs on eBay.

Bill Russell’s 1957-58 Topps Basketball Canceled Paycheck

Back in 2011, at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, IL, Topps held an auction exclusively for VIP ticket holders on Wednesday, August 3, at 2:30 PM. It featured “10 magnificent TOPPS items direct from the Vault!” 

One of the items was this 1957-58 Topps basketball card Bill Russell canceled paycheck.

Here’s how they described it: “Direct from Topps legendary vault, comes Hall of Famer Bill Russell’s very first Topps basketball card cancelled paycheck. Mr. Russell was the key card in the celebrated 1957-1958 Topps basketball card set. The 1957-58 Topps basketball card set was the first basketball card set issued by Topps and is the most important of the three major basketball sets issued prior to 1969 (the other two are Bowman’s 1948 set and Fleer’s 1961 set). The reverse is endorsed by Mr. Russell, in bold black ink. Overall condition is very-good-plus. PSA/DNA Certified Authentic. A Topps Vault certificate of authenticity accompanies this one-of-a-kind piece of Topps hoops history.”

1992 Upper Deck Denny’s Grand Slam Holograms Advertising

The 1991 Upper Deck Denny’s Grand Slam Hologram cards were so popular that the partners doubled down on the promotion the following year with this awesome teaser ad that I pulled from the August 1992 edition of Baseball Cards Magazine.

Denny’s then ran this ad the next month, showcasing the cards.

Denny’s partnered with Upper Deck for six total releases (1991-1995) before switching to Pinnacle for their 1996 and 1997 sets.

Topps T-Shirts And Sweatshirts

When this ad was placed in edition 7 of Topps Magazine in the summer of ’91, the price was just $15.95 per t-shirt or $27.50 per sweatshirt, plus $3.25 per order for shipping and handling for Anniversary or Traditional series items.

Apparently, a special edition Mickey Mantle one was available with this 52 Topps card on it and a Babe Ruth, too, featuring his ’73 card. About twenty players were available, including George Brett, Will Clark, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco, Ken Griffey Jr., Gregg Jefferies, Wally Joyner, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Cal Ripken Jr., Nolan Ryan, Darryl Strawberry (Mets or Dodgers), Ozzie Smith, Frank Viola, among others. Checks were payable to Insta Graphic Systems based in Cerritos, CA.

I’m unsure what these look like, so if you have one, please let me know.

Chuck Klein Signed 1934 Goudey Endorsement Contract

This is an incredibly cool piece related to the 1934 Goudey baseball set, sometimes called the “Lou Gehrig Says…” series; Chuck Klein’s signed endorsement contract to use his picture and name on cards in the set.

You see, Gehrig’s name and picture (blue background) are used on the bottom of most cards in the set.

But 12 (cards 80-91) feature Klein’s (red background) who had just come off a Triple Crown season.

The 7” x 8-1/2” document, dated July 18, 1934, defines the business agreement. A sample 1934 Goudey card featuring the “Chuck Klein Says…” ad is attached to the top of the document.

1962 Post Cereal Mantle And Maris Store Banners

Mastro auctioned off this huge 1962 Post Cereal Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris store banner in April 2002.

The overall 34″ x 48″ head-to-head format was meant to be hung over a string mid-aisle to afford a 24″ x 34″ view from either side. Mastro described it as a very fragile and exceedingly scarce collectible.

In the spring of 2012, Robert Edward Auctions sold the following banner variant used in Canadian stores.

It’s visually a little different and slightly smaller, 20” x 30” unfolded. It sold for $1778.

The Great Topps Auction

Hobby historians learned a lot from Guernsey’s Topps Auction, which occurred on August 19th/20th, 1989, following a two-day public exhibition at the Hunter College Sportsplex in NY, but photos from the event are scarce.

This one’s from the Premier Issue of Topps Magazine, which accompanied an article called The Great Topps Auction. In it, Kenneth M. Liss wrote that Topps baseball photos and art were the big hits of the auction. He highlighted that the original color painting used to create Mickey Mantle’s 1953 Topps card was the #1 attraction and sold for $121k.

Based on the auction’s catalog (pictured below), here are the players pictured in the image:

  • BF 3 is three action frames of Rocky Colavato while on the Detroit Tigers.
  • BF 4 is Lenny Green
  • BF 5 is George Altman and Billy Cowan.
  • BF 6 is Chick Cotter
  • BF 7 is Glen Clark
  • BF 8 is Pete Cimino
  • BF 9 is Ernie Fazio
  • BF 10 is Camiio Carreon
  • BF 11 is Don Loun and Ron Stillwell