Friday, May 20, 2016
Selling 1950s-1980s Card Reprints... A Big Deal?
There's a seller on eBay right now who is selling reprints of baseball, football, hockey and basketball star cards from the 1950s through 1980s. In his store, you can find everything reprinted from a 1951 Bowman Willie Mays to a 1990 Topps Traded Emmitt Smith. The cards are the same sizes as their original issue.
To be fair (if that's the right term), I don't know if the backs are fully printed. I'm assuming that the word "reprint" does not appear anywhere on the cards, but even if it does, The Topps Company, Inc. firmly maintains the copyright to all Topps and Bowman card issues.
The photos used for this blog post were taken directly from this seller's eBay auctions. The reprinted cards include a 1985 Topps Walter Payton record breaker (the real thing retails for $2), a 1972/73 Topps Julius Erving rookie, a 1968 Topps Roger Maris and a 1986/87 OPC Patrick Roy rookie... Bundles are also being offered, such as the fifteen-card lot of 1965 Topps baseball pictured at the left. All cards feature star or superstar players, but some of the card choices are more surprising than others.
One reprint card, a 1957 Topps Bart Starr rookie, is being sold with artificial wear. This card is being sold for $9.95 as opposed to the usual $2.45. Is this considered a suspicious act, or is this just a way to make the reprint more visually appealing but not in a deceptive way? I personally don't have an opinion on the added wear, as in my mind the bigger issue is still the fact that these reprinted Topps and Bowman cards are illegal regardless.
I mainly collect oddball cards, and don't have any special interest in vintage regular-issue sets. I do love the hobby, however, and began collecting in 1979 with a small handful of Topps football cards. If these reprints do indeed feature full fronts and backs, without any type of "reprint" designation, I certainly don't want to see any collectors (especially beginners) getting tricked into purchasing reprint cards at authentic prices. Even is this current eBay seller is up front about these cards being reprints, there's no guarantee that future sellers will be.