Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trying to top Topps' 74 Namath

As I said in my Oct. 27 posting when I introduced by 1977 Topps-style football card of Joe Namath in a Los Angeles Rams unifiorm, an apparent contract dispute between Topps and Broadway Joe prevented Namath's appearance on a Topps card after 1973.

Few collectors have ever seen the proof card Topps prepared for its 1974 football set before Namath pulled the plug. As far as I know, there are at least two examples of the blank-back proof 1974 Topps Joe Namath card. Larry Fritsch showed me the one he had more than 25 years ago. In 2004, Heritage Auctions sold an example for $2,340. I'd be surprised if more than two or three other examples of the Namath proof card exist.

In one way, that's not a bad thing, because what Topps was contemplating issuing in 1974 was one ugly-ass card.
I never planned to do any other Topps-style Joe Namath cards for those missing years, but when I gave the '74 proof another look, I thought it might be fun to see if I could improve on the Topps prototype.

For my 1974-style card I decided to adhere to the spirit of Topps' license in that period. That is, since Topps didn't have a license with the NFL, they couldn't depict uniform or helmet logos. Most of the 528 cards in the 1974 set have players in portrait or posed-action photos, usually bare-headed. (The cards are a great resource for researching football player hair styles in the mid-1970s.)

The few game-action photos in the set have been airbrushed to eliminate helmet and jersery logos.

My search for a helmet-less pose of Namath offered few decent choices that dated to that era, but I was fortunate enough to find an eminently suitable picture, as shown here.

As mentioned, the 1974 Topps proof card of Namath is blank-backed. I created a back that I have put on both my reprint of the proof and on my custom card.

I'll let you be the judge of whether I was able to improve on the Topps product, at least in this one instance.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely LOVE this! I guess it's all about reliving the childhood.


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