The Allure of 1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panels: A Must-Have for Collectors

Today, I’m wrapping up my five-part series of articles focused on 1978 Topps baseball and its associated sets and promotions. Here are the previous four articles, in case you missed them:

In this one, I’ll discuss the six-card 1978 Topps uncut panels that came inside issue 47 of Scholastic Inc’s Dynamite Magazine. It’s a super appealing collectible to me as the hobby library guy.

Dynamite Magazine 101

Scholastic Inc.’s Dynamite Magazine launched in March 1974 and continued to be released through March 1992 (165 total issues). It was Scholastic’s most successful publication and inspired four other magazines you might be familiar with if you were a kid aged ~8-14 at the time; Bananas, Wow, Hot Dog!, and Peanut Butter. It was a bit of a pop culture update and included articles, comics, puzzles, and other interactive content like puzzles, games, masks, etc. They’d often contain inserts like stickers, glow-in-the-dark items, 3-D posters with glasses, and of course, baseball cards.

Dynamite Magazine Issue 47, April 1978, Happy Birthday, Mad!

The issue that included 1978 Topps baseball cards was number 47, released in April 1978, titled “Happy Birthday, Mad!” This edition has over a dozen features, with the headline being “a look at the MADmen and their MAD magazine on its 25th birthday.” Other blasts included a feature about the magazine’s one-year-old horse, how to decorate bicycles, and mini-skits that kids could perform. Shorter pieces, “bombshells,” included cartoons, sneak peek calendars, jokes, puzzles, and advice. The magazine also had a bike poster and, of course, “Free Baseball Cards!”

Dynamite Magazine – Issue 47 – Front Cover
Dynamite Magazine – Issue 47 – Back Cover

1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panel Details and Examples

The 1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panels are the same as regular 1978 Topps cards. They’re a six-card strip from an uncut sheet, then folded to fit in the magazine. No one’s really sure if the whole set made it into the magazines. While my 2010 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards wrote that just three six-card panels of 1978 Topps baseball issues had been found at the time, there are definitely more than that, but likely not the entire set because an 11-card wide sheet doesn’t make an even number of 2×3 card panels. 

Of the four examples I’ll share, three are cut from Sheet A and one from Sheet B. The Standard Catalog shares two other examples, one with Steve Kemp, Reggie Smith, Roguish Jackson, Rick Burleson, Duane Kuiper, and Davey Lopes, and another with Toby Harrah, Gary Carter, Jeff Burroughs, Fred Lynn, Bucky Dent, and Jim Rice. Both are Sheet A cards. If you’ve seen some from other sheets, please let me know in the comments.

Here’s the example in my library; it features Wayne Garland, Lerrin LaGrow, Enrique Romo, Rick Waits, Rick Manning, and Jim Kern. I bought it for $15.

1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panel Example 1 – Image 1
1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panel Example 1 – Image 2

Here, you can see where the six-card panel was on a regular 1978 Topps uncut sheet (Sheet A).

1978 Topps Uncut Sheet A With 1978 Topps Dynamite Panel Example 1 Highlighted

This second example includes Ellis Valentine, Steve Stone, Willie McCovey, Mark Belanger, Willie Montanez (of Topps Zest Fame), and Mitchell Page.

1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panel Example 2 – Image 1
1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panel Example 2 – Image 2

This panel was cut from the left edge of Sheet A.

1978 Topps Uncut Sheet A With 1978 Topps Dynamite Panel Example 2 Highlighted

This third example is the most famous one and was documented on The Chronicles of Fuji blog in June 2013 after the author sniped it off of eBay for $22.50 + $3.95 shipping. It features Eddie Murray, Amos Otis, Ruppert Jones, Bobby Bonds, John Mayberry, and George Scott. 

1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panel Example 3 – Image 1
1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panel Example 3 – Image 2

The Eddie Murray panel was cut from the lower right corner of Sheet B.

1978 Topps Uncut Sheet A With 1978 Topps Dynamite Panel Example 3 Highlighted

By the way, ToddUncommon on Twitter mentioned that there’s a cottage industry of hand-cutting Murray cards from sheets and passing them off as pack-pulled since the in-card pack Murray’s are often terribly off-center.

The following example is slightly inconsistent with the other three, which is interesting since it features superstars Dave Winfield and George Brett, Roy White, Bobby Murcer, Jim Barr, and Cesar Geronimo. It’s been listed on eBay for $49.99.

1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panel Example 4 – Image 1
1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panel Example 4 – Image 2

You can see that it’s also a Sheet A cut panel, but it seems to have been inserted oppositely. The first three examples all look the same, with a pair of cards over the edge of the poster on top of the magazine’s index.

1978 Topps Dynamite Magazine Panels – First 3 Examples
1978 Topps Uncut Sheet A With 1978 Topps Dynamite Panel Example 4 Highlighted

If you’re looking for individual panels, they’ll all have a bend across them, just like this 1983 Topps Hot Dog Magazine example. 

1983 Topps Hot Dog Magazine Panel and Sheet Placement

There are a handful of examples advertised as Dynamite or Hot Dog panels that don’t have bends; they’re probably legitimate cards but not magazine inserts. 

Topps partnered with Scholastic for many years, so you can also find examples for other baseball (and football) sets.

1978 Topps Series Wrap Up

That wraps up my 1978 Topps baseball series! From the base set to partnerships with Burger King and Zest Soap, the mail-in checklists, and these six-card panels, Topps certainly maximized their brand’s reach! And I acknowledge that I COULD have included a review of the 1978 O-Pee-Chee baseball set in this series. Do you think I should have? Let me know in the comments or over on Twitter.

You may be interested in reading more about a pair of topics related to this article. First, if you’re into uncut material, I’ve shared five reasons to collect uncut sheets and 13 incredible O-Pee Chee examples in the past. I’ve also used them to analyze the 1961 Fleer basketball and 1948 Bowman baseball sets. Second, if you like hobby books & magazines, you can read about why I collect hobby books and an older article about the items that made up my hobby library at the time.

Last, if you like these longer-form articles here on the blog, you might find the shorter content I release in The Post War Cards Newsletter interesting; consider subscribing.

Happy collecting!

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