Topps’ Little Cracker Jack Idea

Topps used its early 90s magazine to advertise many of its own releases, including its partnership with Crack Jack in 1991.

This partnership was included in a section of the magazine called “Topps in the Field: News From Around The Collecting World” and shared the page with a few words about Topps’ partnership with Bazooka and Nintendo Systems Base Wars game. 

Here’s the text accompanying the “Little Cracker Jack Idea” image.

The promotion must have been successful because a second Series was eventually released, making the set a total of 72 approximately one-fourth-scale cards. 

And don’t worry, the cards weren’t thrown in loose with caramel corn.

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.

The Favorite Cards From The 1991 Topps Baseball Set By The Readers Of Topps Magazine

I’ve shared this photo of “The Topps 10” 1991 Topps baseball cards before, and I’ll do it again because the photography in this set is top-notch; some say it’s the best of any Topps set ever.

I may not order them the same way the readers of Topps Magazine did since I think the image of Cecil Fielder barrelling toward Carlton Fisk is a true classic, but that’s ok.

In addition to these ten, you could argue for the inclusion of many others, like the Sandberg or Ripken record-breaker cards, any of the White Sox cards with the 1917 throwback uniforms, some of the great landscape shots like Shane Mack’s, or portraits like Mariano Duncan. And lastly, let’s remember this fellow, Chipper Jones!

Complete Topps World Series Card Guide

“The 111 World Series cards Topps included in its regular sets from 1960-1981 are not only nostalgic treasures but also increasingly valuable collectibles.” Topps Magazine Fall 1990 – Edition 4.

Do you have a favorite among these? Mine is the 1964 Topps #136 World Series Game 1 Koufax Strikes Out 15.

A close second would be the 1971 Topps #332 World Series Celebration! I love those black borders.

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.

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