I’ve got an entire uncut sheet of 1981 Topps baseball in my collection. Pretty cool, right? That’s definitely what I thought when I got it. It didn’t take long to find out that the reality wasn’t nearly as cool as the concept.
Let me give you a little background on this…
It all started with the promotional set that Topps did with Coca-Cola; specifically, with the 1981 Coke set. Sometime during 1981, I picked up a Mets team set.
The Coke packs all came with a “header card” that looks like this:
More interestingly, the back had an offer for uncut sheets of 1981 Topps:
An uncut sheet of cards for only $4 postpaid? How could any self-respecting 16-year-old card nerd resist an offer like that?
The sheet came rolled up in a heavy cardboard tube. I took out the sheet, marveled over it for a good long while, and then rolled it back up and put it in the tube for safe-keeping until I figured out what I was going to do with the sheet.
It wasn’t long before “What should I do with this?” became “What AM I going to do with this?!?” While the sheet is an unquestionably cool item to own, it’s very problematic to display. It’s really too big to frame… well, not without spending many times what I paid for the sheet. One could put it on the wall as-is, but that would ruin the sheet (something that became less of a concern over the years).
One other problem I ran into as the years passed; 1981 Topps has not aged well for me. I liked it just fine at the time, but now, if I were to do a ranking of all the Topps sets from 1952 to 2015, 1981 would probably fall somewhere between 30th and 40th.
Anyhow, here I am in 2015 and I still have the cards rolled up in a tube. I did think about cutting the sheet into smaller, more frame-able pieces, but I’m not sure whether I’ll do that.
In the meantime, how about a little guided tour through the sheet? Stick around, because at the end I’ll tell you about what else was in the tube, forgotten for 30 years…
1981 Topps had doubleprints. I didn’t remember that, but here’s your visual proof.
…As if 1981 Topps cards need help being less valuable…
One of the things I like about the uncut sheet is checking out the markings along the edges. Here’s the text on the left side of the sheet…
And some of the markings on the right side of the sheet.
Here’s a part of the sheet which includes several “Record Breakers” cards:
One thing I’ve noticed about photos of uncut sheets… nobody ever shows you the back.
Here’s the part that surprised me when I took the sheet out of the tube for the photo session… There was an additional offer to get EVERY sheet from 1981 for $4 a pop.
Yep, I could’ve had an entire set in uncut form for $24.
…and another 5 sheets that I’d be looking at thinking “What do I do with this?”
Does anybody else have uncut sheets of cards? Have you figured out a way to keep/display it that’s better than leaving it rolled up for thirty years?