Monday, September 15, 2014

My Quarrymen custom adds to Spins and Needles

I don't know about the kids in your neighborhood in the 1950s and 1960s, but where I grew up the guys on the block were distinctly divided into card collectors and non-collectors.

There weren't any fence sitters as I recall; you either collected bubblegum cards or you didn't.

Until the late 1960s, I always counted Denny Smith among the non-collectors.

Denny was a year and a half older than I, a classmate of my older brother. If you can conjure up images of Fonzie from Happy Days, you've got Denny. In the vernacular he was a greaser. He was a little guy with slicked-back hair and a short-man's complex. He had the reputation as a prodigious fighter, though the only time I actually saw him in a fistfight, he lost to a jock.

Denny was a car guy as opposed to a card guy. In the years just before he got drafted and went off to Korea, he had a white 1959 Buick; Le Sabre, as I recall. When he returned from the Army he bought a brand new purple 1969 Dodger Charger 440.

I never knew Denny to be a card collector in our younger days, so I was surprised in the late 1960s to see a small stack of 1960 Fleer Spins and Needles cards on the closet shelf in his room. As far as I know, they were the only cards he ever had.

I also had a few Spins and Needles cards as a kid. I probably never bought more than a pack or two. I was the type of card collector that would buy a pack of anything new I saw on the candy store shelves. I really wasn't into music before my mid-teen years, so I guess the subject matter of the Spins and Needles cards didn't hold any special appeal for me.

By the time I got back into card collecting in the late 1970s, the Spins and Needles cards were more up my alley. Some of the recording artists from the set were now being played on the oldies stations that I preferred (still do). I don't recall now whether I built or bought a set, but for some years I had the complete set of Spins and Needles. 

As part of my new-found interest in creating custom cards in the formats of some of my childhood favorite non-sports sets, I've added a modern take on Spin and Needles by creating this card of The Quarrymen. 

You might not recognize the name, but you should recognize the faces. The Quarrymen was the group co-founded by John Lennon, who was later joined by Paul McCartney and George Harrison (and a rotating cast of musicians). They were the Beatles in the years before Pete Best and Ringo Starr.

The official web site of the current iteration of The Quarrymen -- -- will tell you everything about the group's history and provided the details necessary for me to write up the card back.

In the back of my mind I've a notion that other Spins and Needles customs could be forthcoming, such as Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Ricky Nelson and Roy Orbison, in keeping with the 1960 issue date of the original cards. Some would even fit into additions to the 1957 Topps Hit Stars issue. They're not high on my priority list, though.

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