Fifty years ago, collectors were beginning to pull the first of what would be Topps’ biggest set to date at 664 cards. Baseball was expanding and so, too, were the number cards you needed to make a set. Still issued by series, the collecting would continue for the next several months but in addition to its standard bubble gum card set with the famous (or infamous) pinkish-orange backs, they also produced some other sets.
Here’s a look back at the satellite sets and separate issues from the 1969 baseball season.
1969 Topps Decals
There were two inserts to look for inside 1969 Topps wax packs. The decal set included 48 players and idea was to use some water to rub it off the white backing and onto your school books, bike or somewhere else mom probably didn’t appreciate. The set includes Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson (rookie), Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and several other Hall of Famers. A big find of unused rolls containing 10,000 decals each was made in 2001.
Other than the major stars, most decals are available on eBay for a very modest amount.
1969 Topps Deckle Edge
Creating a look you might find in mom and dad’s photo albums, the Deckle Edge cards were the other half of the “bonuses” Topps used 50 years ago. These were advertised on the side of the boxes they appeared in. One per pack, the cards are prone to showing print roller marks and paper loss on the back from the production process, but if you’re not a mint freak, these are some of the cheapest and most plentiful vintage Topps inserts you can find.
There’s no Mantle, Aaron or Reggie in the set, which helps keep set prices modest, but you will find Rose, Clemente, Mays and several other Hall of Famers. At any given time, there are usually hundreds on eBay.
1969 Topps Stamps
Topps toyed with stamp sets throughout the 1960s and this was among their better efforts. Sold in wax packs, the stamps came in strips of 12 with 240 in the set. That left plenty of room for a pretty comprehensive set. The pictures are different from what you’ll find in the main Topps card set and the checklist includes Mantle, Aaron, Mays, Clemente and more. There was an album for each team to hold them.
Interest in the stamps has been somewhat tepid over the years, even with grading companies willing to slab them. Storage and display can be a challenge but prices are generally not very high except for high-grade, slabbed singles.
1969 Topps Super (Glossy)
Seeing these in person will make any collector want one. Produced ahead of the equally stunning 1970 Topps Glossy football set, the baseball cards were of a quality unlike anything Topps had ever done. Borderless with bright colors, no text on the front and a beautiful glossy coating make the cards stand out.
They were about the size of the Deckle Edge set but unfortunately, only a small section of the country ever saw them at the time. In fact, their distribution remains very much a mystery today with different collectors sharing different memories of acquiring them at the time. They were undoubtedly available only in a very limited area but thousands have now been graded so they’re not really that scarce. You can usually find a decent selection on eBay.
The set of 66 includes Mantle, Jackson, Aaron, Rose, Clemente, Mays and several other Hall of Famers.
1969 Topps Team Posters
Like the rest of the world, Topps loved posters in the late 60s and early 70s and made them a regular feature both as inserts in wax packs and by themselves as separate products.
Their 1968 issue feature individual players, sold in a nickel pack. In ’69, the packaging stayed the same but the poster was a collage of individual head shots of players on an individual team. There were 24 posters–one for each MLB team–measuring 12″ x 20.”
Topps included Mantle on the Yankees poster and for obvious reasons, the ’69 Mets is popular too. These weren’t widely distributed and today, both sets and better grade individual posters can be a little pricey.
1969 Topps 4-in-1
Another rare test issue, the 4-in-1 set included four mini stickers on a 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ card. The photos used were duplicates of the players’ regular issue card and all 25 cards (100 stickers) were from the second series so the set includes Rose, Mays, Carl Yastrzemski and Bob Gibson.
Sold in three card packs for a nickel, they were apparently distributed in small areas of the eastern part of the country. PSA has graded over 700 cards. In 2017, the third best set on their Registry sold at auction for $1,872.