September 2017
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/15/2017
Before releasing their iconic 1969 basketball set, Topps toyed with the idea of getting back into the basketball biz the previous year, producing a 22-card black and white test issue that was never meant for distribution to the general public. The simple black and white design was very similar to 1960 Leaf baseball cards and contains 15 Hall of Famers, 14 of which were listed in the top-50 all-time as of 1996. Since they were issued prior to the 1969 "tall-boy" collection, the card of John Havlicek (misspelled Havilcek on the card) is his true rookie card, as are the issues of Bill Bradley and Earl Monroe. There's a lot of speculation around this amazingly rare set, the most plausible theory being that Topps made a small number of cards and test packs to distribute to suppliers, executives and NBA offices, which required a sample of the product to be approved for licensing. Even the year of manufacture (1968-69) is in question, with many speculating they were produced toward the end of the 1967-68 season. The St. Louis Hawks had been sold and the new owner announced the franchise was moving to Atlanta well ahead of the 1968-69 season, though the cards still list the team as the St. Louis Hawks. Additionally, Wilt Chamberlain had been traded to Los Angeles around the same time though his card still shows him wearing a Philadelphia uniform. Well, we feel we can clear up the controversy once and for all with this once in a lifetime opportunity for advanced basketball card collectors. Presented is a 1968 Topps Test pack, the only unopened one known to exist. As Topps usually did with their test packs, the cards are wrapped in a plain white sealed envelope with a label pasted to the front. Since we were able to acquire an opened test pack, also featured in this auction, we can confirm that the pack consists of three cards, a stick of gum and a booklet on how to play better basketball, just as advertised on the label. This pack comes from the family of a rival trading card company who likely acquired it from a Topps executive in order to get their feedback, since they also operated a confectionery company that distributed trading cards but was not a competitor in the sports card market. A notation on the back - 3/6/68 - is probably the date the pack arrived to our consignor, which supports the contention that the pack is actually from the 1967-68 season. It also puts to rest the question as to whether there really is a booklet included in the pack or it was something that might be added at a later date, since it wasn't required for NBA licensing. We now know that test packs actually do exist, the contents of the packs and the likely date of production. Steve Hart of Baseball Card Exchange, the foremost authority on unopened material, has examined the pack and verified its authenticity. This is one of the most significant discoveries to hit the basketball card hobby since we first learned of this test set's existence and stands as the most unique unopened pack of the entire hardcourt world!
Extremely Scarce 1968 Topps Test Basketball Unopened Pack (Three Cards) BBCE
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $4,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $16,693.20
Number Bids:15
Competitive in-house shipping is not available for this lot.
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