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Friday, November 16, 2012

Topps Decade In Review: 1961-1970

It's been about a year since the last part of this series! I left you with the 1970s decade in review, and before that were the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

We still have two decades to go, and now I'm finally bringing it back! Here are the 1960s in order of worst to best designs as determined by my preferences alone. So there.
 The 1960s were the first of two decades of stagnation for Topps. At some points, I think they were just being lazy. Most of the designs this decade use plain rectangles full of text, or circles with text or pictures. The 1968 set uses a circle with text, which isn't bad in its own right. The real problem I have with this set is that it reminds me of 1960s wallpaper. The texture look is just extremely dated, in a non-reminiscent way. As a side note, when I went on a tour of a 1960s style "futuristic" house a couple years ago, it had wallpaper just like this set's border.
 If there wasn't wallpaper on the borders of the 1968 set, this 1970 issue would have been at the bottom of the list and the top of this post. A gray border with plain text on the front over a boring portrait photo and no logos to be found anywhere at the front of this card makes it about as boring as possible. At least Panini's recent offerings try to use some dynamic design.
 The 1961 design has some color to it, even if it's not team-specific, which gives this card a little boost. And at least Milt here gets to wear a cap. Really, there isn't much to say about this design other than it's got more color than the prior two.
 The 1966 design uses rectangles with text, but at least there's a diagonal rectangle in the upper corner with the team name! And colors again!

 The 1969 set is similar to the 1967 issue below, just with rounded corners and the use of a circle for the player's name and team. It's a little less appealing than the 1967 set because of the use of a text circle, though without a facsimile signature this design is probably better for autograph seekers.

 The only set of the decade with a facsimile autograph is the 1967 issue. Something else special about this design not found in any other 1960s release is the placement of all the text over the top of the photo. All other sets in this post use boxes, circles, or borders to place text (such as the 1969 issue above).
 Again, it's a tough decision to figure out how to rank all these cards in the 1960s. This 1964 card has lots of color, but what I really like is the lower-case printing for the position. They also did that in 1966.

 Some people are going to be mad at me for ranking the 1962 set so low, though I enjoy the wood design. But like the 1968 set, the wood borders with the peeling photo feels too much like fake wood paneling found on 1960s furniture, housing design, and even cars. The 1987 wood border set has grown on me, though, and this set might as well if I ever get around to collecting it.

 Now, the two cards that stand out and actually interest me. This set has a great colorful design and two photos on the front, the last time two photos would be used until 1983 - 20 years later. The 1963 set is one of my favorites, but the design is still quite simple.
Two years after the great 1963 set came this colorful, fun design. It was the only time in the 1960s - and the last time until 1985 - a team logo was used on the front of the card. The text and border use multiple colors and a pennant-shaped overlay holds the logo and team name. It's quite unique for the decade and a lot of fun. 

So what do you think? Any sets I ranked low that you absolutely love? Or any sets near the top that you despise? Let me know!


  1. Good rankings. It is very similar to what mine would look like except 62 would be 1st and 69 would switch spots with 68 just because 69 used a lot of the same photos as 68. Plus as you said, the 68 set looks like 60s wallpaper which at least gives it a good for the time period aspect.

  2. Yeah, the '69 basically took the '67 and '68 designs and smashed them together. I tried to judge solely on design though, regardless of copying - though it had some effect I tried to choose the best design out of the similar bunch. If '69 was an improvement over '68, then it should show it. I agree - it feels like a '60s card and I ranked the 1972 Topps set (which feels totally dated) pretty high. But I think that texture just doesn't appeal to me on a card... unless perhaps the card surface was actually textured like the wallpaper.

    I can't wait to finish this up with the 1950s. That's where my favorite Topps designs come from.

  3. I happen to think 1968 and 1970 Topps are the greatest designs of that era and the '65 set is vastly overrated ...

    Nah, just messing with you. I never get to do that, just wanted to see what it was like.

    Think your rankings are pretty much perfect.

  4. Spot-on rankings there. '65 Topps is my all-time favorite set.

  5. Night Owl: Thanks for your comments! It's always fun to play the sarcasm game. I should do a post where all I do is be sarcastic...

    Nick: Until I really sat down and thought about it for this post, I didn't appreciate it as much as I could have. Perhaps when that design reaches Heritage I'll consider putting a set together.