Monday, March 2, 2015

Standard Catalog Update: 1962 Auravison records variations

The Auravision baseball player records of 1962 and 1964 have been popular collectibles since they were new. 

The 6-3/4" x 6-3/4" records are quite baseball card-like in that they feature color photos on front and player bio and stats on back. They were originally issued as mail-in premiums through offers found on Milk Duds candy boxes and Meadow Gold milk cartons, and possibly in other ways. There were eight player records in the 1962 version and 16 in 1964.

Because large quantities of the 1964 set of 16 were remaindered into the hobby in the 1970s, they remain readily available and reasonably priced even today. On any given day several hundred of the '64s will be found listed on eBay (though only a relative handful of the 1962 versions are seen in that venue).

Pennsylvania collector Fred McKie, who was a regular contributor to the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards when I was editing the book, reports that at least two of the 1962 records can be found with back variations.

The '62 Mantle and Spahn records have been found with large stickers on back "updating" the stats through 1962. These appear to have been an interim version created between the "normal" 1962 and 1964 issues.

Here's how Fred explains it:

A few years back I found a strange Mickey Mantle Auravision record. As you may recall there are two Mantle poses. The 1962 pose has Mantle swinging full-length with a player in the background. The 1964 version has a smaller batting pose. Of course the stats on the back were different. The '62 has stats through 1961, and the '64 has stats through 63.
I have found a Mantle batting full pose with the player in the background with stats through 1963. The back has an almost full back sticker that has been attached to the record that I assume has the '61 stats underneath. You can see that the "sticker" version is missing the horizontal orange line that goes across the center of the card. You can see part of the original orange line through the punch-out hole that was included in the sticker if the owner wanted to play the record.
Also note the different cropping of the Mantle photo on back in the upper-left of the record. In the sticker version his head is much farther from the top border than on the others. I figured this was sticker-back variation was only found on the Mantle.
But recently I found another on eBay: Warren Spahn.
If you recall, the 1962 Spahn was the only one in the set that had stats only through 1960 for some reason.The '64 version "caught up" and had stats through 1963. The '64 version had a different photo on the back from the '62 issue.
The new variation I got on eBay has the full sticker back, again with no orange line through the center with 1963 stats and the same basic photo on the reverse as the '62, though there is a small difference in the photo with a tree showing by his left shoulder while the original '62 photo did not show this.
I hope this all makes sense to you. I have attached scans of the cards for you to see.

Hopefully you can post this and ask others if they have any other players with the "sticker backs" with no orange line across the back.

For ease of reference, here are pictures of the three versions of Spahn and Mantle.

1962 Mantle front
Normal 1962 Mantle back.
1962 Mantle sticker-back.
1964 Mantle back.

1962, 1964 Spahn front

Normal 1962 Spahn back.

1962 Spahn sticker-back.
Normal 1964 Spahn back.

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