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PSA’s Alleged 1964 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas Variation: Real or Not?

I’m a big fan of the Kahn’s Wieners series of basketball cards, printed each year from 1957 through 1965, and I’ve documented them on the Oddball Archive and highlighted Jerry West’s Kahn’s Wieners cards in a dedicated article. But the 1964 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas card has piqued my curiosity lately. 

1964 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas

You see, PSA’s checklist says there are windows open and no windows visible versions of the Lucas card. And in their article about the series of Kahn’s Wieners cards, regarding the 1964 Jerry Lucas cards, PSA writes that “There are also two variations of the Lucas card. One pictures him in a shot with windows open in the background, while a second doesn’t have the windows. The “no windows” version is so rare that there hasn’t been an example submitted for grading to PSA and it’s not part of the Master Set on the PSA Set Registry.”

But here’s the thing, I don’t think the card exists; I have never seen one.

The hobby hasn’t written much about vintage basketball cards, particularly oddball ones. But one guide I used to help me build my 1964 Kahn’s Wiener basketball page on the Oddball Archive showed two Lucas cards, but they listed one version as Three Windows Showing and the other as Four Windows Showing. And this makes sense to me, given all the cards that have been on the market the last few years; each is cropped a little differently. Here are a few examples of the 1964 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas card, each showing the windows a little differently in the background. 

1964 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas
1964 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas
1964 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas
1964 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas
1964 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas

You can see that each card has at least some windows open, as if the photographer snapped two photos from slightly different distances that were then each “miscut” a little when printed. When you compare the two raw images above, in the one with four windows visible, Lucas’ left arm appears higher (even with his chin), and his left arm is lower than his chin in the three windows visible raw copy; however, that’s not a consistent fact when you look at the graded copies (the second graded card has a partial fourth window with a lower left arm).

It’s also possible vintage catalogers mixed up a few Kahn’s sets. As I said earlier, there hasn’t been a lot of vintage basketball card documentation like there has been for baseball. That has led to a few mistakes by the major third-party graders. A few Kahn’s Wieners basketball cards have the wrong year printed on the flip since, many times, Kahn’s only made subtle changes to their design year to year. And, if you look at the 1965 Kahn’s Wiener Jerry Lucas card, you can see that no windows are visible (however, the 1965 card is slightly smaller and has red text, instead of black, on the back). 

1965 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas

A photographer could have shot the photos for the two cards (1964 and 1965) on the same day, they have a similar general appearance, so perhaps someone making a price guide or catalog mistakenly thought they were part of the same set.

There is also the possibility that a card cataloger meant that the No Windows version of the 1964 card was really a no 4th Window Visible (cropped in) version.

Anywho, a collector on Net54 also speculated that the two 1964 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas card variations should be Three Windows Open and Four Windows Open. And if we have to differentiate these subtle variations, that’s a viable pick, or we could use arm position. But I don’t think a 1964 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry Lucas No Windows variation exists. But if you have more information, please let me know in the comments, via e-mail, or on Twitter

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