Thursday, May 14, 2015

A look at the 1984 Topps Dodgers "Encased" Cards

Just when I thought I knew everything about Baseball cards from the 1980's something comes along to knock me off my perch. 

I recently became aware of a not-so-well-known variant/proof/prototype/test issue of the 1984 Topps Baseball card set.  It is commonly known as the "encased" cards, and if you look closely at the portrait found on the bottom left in the photos below you'll know why.  On the normal card the players head overlaps the black border.  In the "encased" version the portrait stays within the square.

From what I understand these cards are scarce and command a premium.  They were never inserted into packs, so you won't find them in any of the stack of cards you have at home.  Instead, they appear to all come from uncut sheets that were subsequently removed from the presses at Topps. 

It's unclear to me if these sheets were given away, sold through the back-door or possibly sold later on by ToppsVault on eBay.  Although, it appears that all three scenarios are possible.  In either case, an enterprising collector decided to take these sheets, recognizing their uniqueness, and had them cut-up into Baseball cards themselves. 

There appears to be some debate as to whether these are proofs or test issues.  Frankly, I could care less about that.  What I do know is that a Dodger collector should be looking to add these little strange issues to their collection. 

BTW, there are only 66 different cards that are "encased" and this represents a single sheet of cards.  All cards are blank backed.  There are also three Dodger players to chase after:  Greg Brock, Steve Sax and Fernando Valenzuela.  Check them all out below.  I have paired an "encased" variant with the normal card on its right.

Greg Brock

Encased Prototype/Proof                           Normal Base Card 

Steve Sax

Encased Prototype/Proof                           Normal Base Card 

Fernando Valenzuela

Encased Prototype/Proof                           Normal Base Card 

Below is a peek at an uncut sheet of "encased" cards found through Net54.  If you look closely the photos used for the Steve Carlton card features Greg Mathews, and the Greg Mathews card uses a pic of Steve Carlton.  Click on the pic to embiggen.
(pic link: ALR-bishop on Net54)

Hat Tip: The Tim Wallach Collector

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