Topps began releasing unique baseball card sets in Venezuela in 1959, targeting the country’s strong baseball fan base. These sets, released in 1959, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, and 1968, closely resemble their American counterparts but can be challenging to differentiate. So, I thought I’d share the basics to help collectors identify them.
First, the consistent attribute across all years of Topps Venezuela baseball cards is that the card stock is darker, rougher, and less glossy than the American cards. Additionally, each set has a few unique characteristics, like copyright/trademark information, language, color, and size differences that I’ll cover below.
1959 Venezuelan Topps
The unique thing about the 1959 set is that some cards have a Venezuela trademark; however, some don’t. That trademark that some cards have says, “Impreso En Venezuela Por Benco C.A.”
1960 Venezuelan Topps
The 1960 Venezuelan Topps cards are the hardest to identify, so having the card in your hands is the best thing. But there is some information that can help with online sales. For the first series of cards, the Venezuelan ones are on gray paper stock, and the Topps are on white. For the second series, both are gray, so the best thing to look for is the gloss on the American cards and the matte finish of the Venezuelans. Also, I’ve read that the whole first series has a trademark, other than the three-team cards (but those Topps cards don’t have a trademark either). In the second series, 46 cards don’t have the trademark, and 42 cards do.
1962 Venezuelan Topps
1962 Venezuelan Topps cards are pretty easy to identify, so long as you have a scan of the back because they are printed in Spanish.
1964 Venezuelan Topps
The 1964 Venezuelan Topps cards are easily distinguishable from the American versions because their backs are black, and the cards are usually cut a little smaller.
1966 Venezuelan Topps
It can be tricky to identify without an American example nearby, but the biggest thing to notice about the 1966 Venezuelan Topps cards is that the back’s color is orange while the American cards are more pinkish. The Venezuelan cards can also be found cut slightly smaller.
1967 Venezuelan Topps
The 1967 Venezuelan Topps cards are also super easy to identify. There are three distinct groupings of cards in the 338-card run.
Cards 1-138 are Winter Leaguers.
Cards 139-188 are Retirado cards.
And cards 189-338 were active players (but the backs were totally different).
1968 Venezuelan Topps
The 1968 Venezuelan Topps cars have a trademark on the back that reads, “Hecho en Venezuela – C.A. Litoven.” Since the printing was of a lower quality, sometimes the ink bled, so it can be hard to see the white lettering, and occasionally it’s not really there at all. The back is a different color too.
In conclusion, it’s important for those interested in collecting Venezuelan Topps cards to educate themselves on the card’s nuances to avoid misidentification. There are a lot of resources available, including a few experts who tend to hang out in a dedicated (private) Facebook group to help with this. While graded cards can be helpful, third-party graders have made some mistakes. Keep this in mind if you decide to tackle this tough hobby niche. Happy collecting!
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