The ’74 OPC Hank Aarons – how six cards became nine

1974 Topps baseball opens with a six-card Hank Aaron tribute set that displays all of his previous Topps cards and lists personal records and season highlights on the back.  Other than card #1, they’re all done exactly the same way – four images to a card.

1974 OPC, on the other hand, takes those six cards and breaks them into nine.  Cards 1,2 and 6 (which is now #9) all carry over the Topps design.  Cards 3, 4 and 5 are each broken in half.  The vertical layout is swapped for a horizontal layout, two images per card.  The yellow border is replcaed with a bunch of blue stars and the text “Collector’s Souvenir Card” is added along the base.  It looks kind of hastily thrown together and also resulted in three Topps cards being dropped from the set of 660.  Why was this done?

The answer is fairly obvious when one flips the cards over.

OPC generally got away with reusing the basic Topps layout because the backs weren’t all that wordy.  OPC could thus simply print the text in both French and English using a much smaller font.  This is also why (in my opinion) OPC always went for a lighter card stock – it made a smaller font easier to read.

In this case, Topps had loaded the backs with so much information that there was no way to put it all in two languages and keep everything legible. (Card #2, for example, is kind of ridiculous.) To get all of Hank’s myriad accomplishments in the set, they had to add three extra cards to the subset.

I have no idea why they didn’t work with the existing Topps border.  It would have looked a lot better.

Note – as per Oh My OPC, cards 7-9 in the Topps set (Jim Hunter, George Theodore, and Mickey Lolich) were moved into the slots formerly occupied by the Brewers Leaders, Royals Leaders and Jim Fregosi, all of which were dumped out of the OPC set.

This entry was posted in Card Design, OPC, Uncategorized, Vintage Baseball and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The ’74 OPC Hank Aarons – how six cards became nine

  1. Sal Barry says:

    I don’t really collect baseball cards, but this was very interesting. I love reading about the differences between Topps and OPC sets, regardless of the sport. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I knew about those cards at some point in my life, but had completely forgotten about them… I might have to seek those out just to have something from 1974 to chase after.

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