I know that many collectors out there will tell me of the perils of the 1972 Topps high series or 1952 Topps with its Mickey Mantle cards that cost more than a new family sedan. I understand all of this. It’s just that 1971 OPC, in all its black-bordered, off-centered, fuzzy-edged glory, is a particularly tormenting thing to finish.
When looking on eBay, one thing that always appears in vintage auctions is that “OPC was only produced in about 5% of the volume of Topps!!! These cards are rare!!!” For the most part, nobody cares. Rare does not equal desirable in and of itself and as an OPC collector, the cards can generally be found if one knows where to look – particularly if you are in Canada to begin with.
OPC is also nice in that for the most part, there are no miserable high series cards to deal with as I can only assume OPC shifted out of baseball and into hockey mode in October/November. Canadian kids either never saw the high series or OPC imported Topps to repackage and distribute. Whatever the reason, 1972 OPC is only 525 cards. 1970 had just 546. 1969? Just 216 cards. From 1972-76, they had all the cards, but 1973 was released as one big set. There is no high series and thus no scarcity.
1971 is different. It was released in series just as the US set was. Every series is replicated and – just as eBay always claimed – the high series were in real short supply. As a result, they can be pricey. For reasons unknown to me, the 1971 OPC Ron Swoboda runs anywhere between $65 and $90 if you see it at all. I think it’s Expo collectors driving this.
At any rate, after many years of working on it, I have finally reached the milestone of 600 distinct cards with the arrival of this – the sixth-series checklist. It’s not all that exciting in that it looks much like all the other checklists in the set, but it’s unmarked and in good shape. High number 1971s are different from the earlier series in the set because OPC stopped altering the backs and adding the French text. They look like the Topps cards other than the colour. That shift isn’t as apparent on a checklist.
And for putting up with my complaining, I’ll also post card #598 which also arrived relatively recently – Ernie Banks. He has so many great images out there and was really photogenic, so I have no idea what happened here. Still, it’s a Banks and I’m glad to have found it.
Ernie appears somewhat blue due to the holder the card was in when I scanned it. Same with the reverse: