I am in the process of emptying all of my sportscard and memorabilia storage areas.
In my 50+ years as a collector and with more than 25 years spent in hobby publishing, I have amassed a (literal) ton of stuff. I am now seriously working to dispose of the accumulation so that it doesn't fall to my heirs in the event the dispersal outlives me.
Upon opening one box from the basement, I discovered a kraft-wrapped package of 200+ three-card panels that were intended for insertion in the October, 1988, issue of Baseball Cards Magazine.
Because we always printed the insert-card panels in advance of the printing of the body of the magazine, there was always a bit of an overrun. While most of those extra card panels were taken to the recycling center, I got in the habit of setting aside 100 or more of each in the (largely mistaken) belief that one day they would be valuable.
At any given time there are being offered on eBay about a dozen of the repli-cards that we inserted into issues of Baseball Cards (later, Sports Cards), Baseball Card Price Guide, and the other glossy newsstand magazines that we published from 1984 through the early 1990s. They are offered as single, strips and panels.
Generally there is little bidder interest, but occasionally, a couple of superstar player collectors will get into a bidding war and one of our inserts will sell for $10 or more.
I'm going to give all of my readers a chance to get a free three-card repli-card panel that features a Mickey Mantle card that has raised many questions in the hobby over the years, and even cost unwary buyers a lot of money.
The theme of the repli-cards in the October, 1988, issue of BBC was "cards that never were."
One such card was a 1956 Bowman Mickey Mantle.
Prior to being bought out by Topps late in 1955, Bowman prepared some samples of proposed designs for a 1956 baseball card set. One of the proposals featured a knot-hole design that would later be incorporated in the 1958 Hires Root Beer issue.
Since Bowman only created a front design, the staff at the magazine came up with a back design that drew on the 1955 format.
You can see on the other two cards on this panel that there is a 1988 copyright date. There was also one on the Mantle card's back, but due to an error in the stripping (it's an old printer's term) process, the 1988 copyright line that was supposed to appear was masked off and overprinted.
Almost since the magazine first hit the newsstand, some collectors became confused about the Mantle knot-hole card, and more than once unscrupulous sellers led buyers to believe this was a genuine 1956 card.
The middle card on the panel is a 1952 Bowman-style Jackie Robinson. Robinson, you'll recall, had been included in Bowman's sets in 1949-50, and in Topps sets from 1952-56.
The Bowman-style card on this panel features a painting by Wisconsin artist Dan Gardiner, who did several repli-cards and other assignments for us in the late 1980s. He later did some paintings for the Ted Williams Card Co., and perhaps a few of the other card manufacturers.
The third card on the panel is a WASHINGTON / "NAT'L LEA." variation of Dave Winfield's Topps rookie card.
Early in 1974, Topps acted under the mistaken assumption that the San Diego Padres were going to be moved to Washington, and printed 15 of the Padres cards with the Washington designation, later correcting it to San Diego. Other Padres cards, including #456, Dave Winfield, were printed only with the S.D. designation.
If you'd like a free copy of the three-card panel, send a business-size (9-3/8" x 4") self-addressed stamped envelope to: Bob Lemke, P.O. Box 8, Iola, WI 54945. I'm just going to drop the panel in your envelope, so if for some reason you want it better protected, prepare your envelope that way and make sure it has sufficient first-class postage. Only one panel per reader, please.