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Puzzles on the Backs of Vintage Football Cards

Some 1960s and 1970s Topps football cards have puzzle pieces on the back. The assembled puzzles typically show images of star players. The pictures below show the puzzles from the 1964 Topps CFL, 1968 Topps, and 1969 Topps sets. You can click on any puzzle piece to see the front of the card.

The puzzles were actually printed whole on the backs of the uncut sheets, then sliced up into individual cards.

1964 Topps CFL: A Big Football

I believe that the 1964 Topps CFL set was the first football card set to include a puzzle. When assembled, the backs of the nine team cards in the set form a picture of a football with the teams' logos on it. The image isn't too exciting, but the idea was novel at the time. The teams on the back match up with the teams on the front, a nice touch. (Check out the Saskatchewan Roughriders card; the team pictured on the front is actually the NFL's Cleveland Browns!)

back of 1964 Topps CFL Edmonton Eskimos football card back of 1964 Topps CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers football card back of 1964 Topps CFL BC Lions football card
back of 1964 Topps CFL Montreal Alouettes football card back of 1964 Topps CFL Calgary Stampeders football card back of 1964 Topps CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders football card
back of 1964 Topps CFL Toronto Argonauts football card back of 1964 Topps CFL Ottawa Rough Riders football card back of 1964 Topps CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats football card

1968 Topps: Bart Starr and Len Dawson

The backs of some second series 1968 Topps football cards form puzzles of Bart Starr and Len Dawson, the quarterbacks of Super Bowl I. The puzzles were printed intact on the backs of uncut sheets of 1968 Topps cards; my 1968 Topps virtual uncut sheet page shows their locations.

It is odd that Topps chose Dawson to be on a puzzle in 1968, since Daryle Lamonica was the AFL's Super Bowl quarterback the season before. Topps did honor Lamonica and the rest of the Raiders orienting their cards horizontally in the 1968 set. The cards of the other Super Bowl II team, the Green Bay Packers are oriented horizontally, as well.

Some 1968 Topps cards are snow white on the back, while others have a yellow-brown tone. You can see in Bart's face and in his jersey number that I have some of each.

back of 1968 Topps Fred Biletnikoff football card back of 1968 Topps Craig Morton football card
back of 1968 Topps George Saimes football card back of 1968 Topps Brad Hubbert football card
back of 1968 Topps Lenny Lyles football card back of 1968 Topps Buck Buchanan football card
back of 1968 Topps Joe Kapp football card back of 1968 Topps Bill Kilmer football card
back of 1968 Topps Andre White football card back of 1968 Topps Miller Farr football card

It is also odd that, in 1968, Topps still had Len Dawson in his Browns uniform! Dawson played for the Browns in 1960 and 1961, completing a total of 15 passes.

back of 1968 Topps Ernie Wright football card back of 1968 Topps Ode Burrell football card
back of 1968 Topps Willie Richardson football card back of 1968 Topps Al Atkinson football card
back of 1968 Topps E.J. Holub football card back of 1968 Topps Frank Emanuel football card
back of 1968 Topps Tommy Nobis football card back of 1968 Topps Paul Krause football card
back of 1968 Topps Nemiah Wilson football card back of 1968 Topps Andy Russell football card

1969 Topps: Fran Tarkenton

The backs of some second series 1969 Topps football cards are pieces to a puzzle of Fran Tarkenton. My 1969 Topps uncut sheet page shows where the cards were located on the sheets.

back of 1969 Topps Darrell Dess football card back of 1969 Topps Bobby Walden football card
back of 1969 Topps Bruce Gossett football card back of 1969 Topps Billy Lothridge football card
back of 1969 Topps Paul Martha football card back of 1969 Topps Tom Sestak football card
back of 1969 Topps Steve Stonebreaker football card back of 1969 Topps Johnny Robinson football card
back of 1969 Topps Willie Wood football card back of 1969 Topps Jack Snow football card

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