Uncut Sheets of 1962 Topps Football Cards
There are 176 cards in the 1962 Topps football card set. The cards were printed on a 264-card sheet resembling this 1966 Topps baseball card sheet. The full set fit once on the sheet, with room for 88 of the cards to be printed a second time. The 88 that were printed once are short prints.
I have seen one half-sheet of 1962 Topps cards, and I have constructed a virtual version of it below. I have not seen the other half-sheet, but I am piecing it together by looking at uncut panels and badly miscut cards. You can see my progress at the bottom of this page.
Below is a virtual uncut 132-card half-sheet of 1962 Topps football cards. It is modeled after an actual half-sheet that appeared in an online auction. If you hold your cursor above a card, your browser should show you the number of the card and the name of the player. Clicking on a card will bring up the full-sized scan.
This is how the cards on the first half-sheet were numbered. The cards in green are the ones I believe are short prints.
According to the price guides, most of the cards in the leftmost four columns of the half-sheet above are short prints. I believe that, in fact, all of those 44 cards are short prints. The price guides also say that some of the 88 cards in the rightmost eight columns are short prints. I don't believe that any of them really are. From looking at other uncut sheets, I believe that the rightmost eight columns of this half-sheet were repeated on the other half-sheet, so none of the cards in those columns are short prints. Also, I believe that the 44 cards in the set that do not appear on the half-sheet above are short prints. The price guides, however, designate only a couple of those 44 cards as short prints.
Here are a few reasons why I believe the price guides have misidentified many of the short prints in this set:
- My Beckett catalog--a few years old, but I doubt if it has changed--lists only 69 short prints in the set. Assuming that Topps used only one full sheet for the set, the math for this doesn't work: if there were 69 short prints, there would be 195 spots left for the remaining 107 cards. That's not enough spots to print two of each of them.
- On all other Topps sheets I have seen, entire rows (columns in this case, since the cards are horizontally oriented) are repeated on the sheet. Individual cards are not. Thus, if Bart Starr is a short print, as the price guides say, on the sheet above I would expect all of the cards directly beneath it to be listed as short prints, too. They aren't.
- Some cards that the price guides call short prints are far more abundant than I would expect. Fran Tarkenton's rookie card is supposedly a short print, but PSA has graded 648 of them, many more than any other card in the set. (By contrast, PSA has graded just 407 Mike Ditka rookie cards, and the Ditka card is not designated a short print.) Also, the price guides say that Pete Retzlaff, Bobby Joe Conrad, Les Richter, and John Reger are short prints, but they are actually among the easiest cards in the set to find.
- Conversely, some of the cards that the guides don't call short prints are extremely scarce. The six 1962 Topps cards that PSA has graded the fewest times are Joe Walton, Art Hunter, Bobby Walston, Preston Carpenter, Myron Pottios, and Jim Kerr. Of these, only the Pottios appears on this half-sheet, and the price guides say it is a short print. None of the other five are designated short prints.
My Beckett catalog says that the following cards are short prints, but I don't believe they are: 5 (Raymond Berry), 15, 27, 45, 63 (Bart Starr), 66 (Jim Taylor), 68 (Jim Ringo), 69, 72 (Henry Jordan), 76 (checklist), 78, 86, 90 (Fran Tarkenton), 91, 92 (Hugh McElhenny), 99, 120, 130, 132, 135, 141, 154, 171.
I believe that the following cards are short prints, but Beckett does not designate them as such: 1 (John Unitas), 4, 9, 12, 17 (Mike Ditka), 19, 22, 28 (Jim Brown), 31, 35, 37, 42, 47, 50, 55, 59 (Joe Schmidt), 71, 82, 84, 103, 105, 106, 109, 114, 115, 119, 123, 129 (John Henry Johnson), 131, 136, 139, 143, 145, 147, 153, 156, 159 (Leo Nomellini), 162, 163, 166 (Bobby Mitchell), 173, 176 (checklist).
My Beckett book says that there are 69 short prints in the set. If I subtract the 23 I believe are incorrect and add the 42 I think are missing, I get 88 total short prints. I am fairly sure about these, so I changed the short print designations for the 1962 Topps set in the Gallery.
Mucking things up further, the black borders of these cards show wear easily, so cards on the edges and corners of the sheet were even more susceptible than usual to damage in production. The cards in the interior of the sheet tend to be easier to find in high grades. (The cards above that I said are easiest to find in high grade--Tarkenton, Retzlaff, Conrad, Richter, and Reger--all appear in the interior of this half-sheet.) As I've said on my other uncut sheet pages, the price guides don't take the edge-vs.-interior factor into account when setting prices, either.
The bottom line: don't rely too much on your price guide for this set.
I can also piece together a few bits of the second half-sheet. The first clue to its layout is an 8-card panel that appeared in an eBay auction. Here is a virtual representation of that panel:
I have also found a few miscut cards that show parts of the cards next to them. First, one Jim Brown card shown here shows a piece of Preston Carpenter's card on the left, and the other shows a sliver of Bobby Walston's card on the right.
Here is the bit of the second half-sheet that I can glean from these two cards.
Next, here are two San Francisco 49ers team cards, one with a bit of Bob St. Clair's card on the left, and one with a bit of Jim Shofner's card on the right. The St. Clair card also appears on the first half-sheet. Following the pattern I have seen on sheets from other Topps sets, I assume that the entire column in which the St. Clair card resides on the first half-sheet was repeated on the second half-sheet.
Here are the 49ers team card and the cards adjacent to it:
Here is the corresponding piece of uncut sheet:
Next, this checklist card shows a bit of Bill Forester's card on the right, and the John Unitas card has a sliver of the Forester card on the left.
The cards together looked like this:
Here are the corresponding bits of uncut sheet:
Here are the corresponding bits of uncut sheet:
The following diagrams show how the pieces of the second half-sheet were arranged by number. I combined the pieces that had cards in common, and I also included the column containing Bob St. Clair's card from the first half sheet. As I find more miscut cards, I can piece more of the second half-sheet together.
For general information on uncut sheets of vintage football cards, see my blog article, U is for Uncut Sheets. Also see my other virtual uncut sheets, listed in the left column of this page.
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