Saturday, December 22, 2018

1961 Topps Stamps (Revisited)

In late October I posted my 1961 Topps Sticker Album, You can check it out at this link. I've been chipping away at these for a while. I hate the fact that I have to pay over a buck for some of them. Even a dollar seems high but whatcha gonna do?

I'm not bringing this up again to show off new stamps but rather to add some info to what I had previously written. It turns out that not all teams were created equal in the Topps Stamp world in 1961. I was wrong in that previous post when I noted that each team had twelve stamps issued. That is the case in the NL...8 teams, 12 stamps per team to fill ten album slots. So there were 96 NL stamps to fill the 80 spots on the NL pages.

But the Junior Circuit, with two clubs debuting in '61, gummed up the works. Over there 5 clubs got 12 player stamps...the Red Sox, White Sox, Tigers, Indians and the Twins who had just slid in from Washington. My Orioles got 11 stamps. More on that in a bit. The Yankees (no surprise) and the Athletics (big surprise!) had 13 stamps each. The two expansion clubs, the Angels and Senators (who replaced the departed for Minnesota version) got 7 stamps each. That's 111 stamps (or 112 if you count Al Kaline twice as he got a stamp in both colors).

The other aspect of the stamps that I hadn't given much thought to was the color. Obviously, there were brown and green stamps and it's easy to see that the league designation had nothing to do with which player was done in which color.

           But the two colors actually give us the notion that there were two 'series' of these. The Twins stamps can be used to show this. The green Twins have the team listed as Minn.-St Paul. The Twins with brown stamps carry the whole new name, Minnesota Twins. According to Wikipedia, the Twins' name was announced late in November of 1960. Too soon for the first series of stamps to carry it.

The 'green early/brown late' also tells us why the Orioles got jobbed by having only 11 and the perennial doormat and unofficial Yankee farm club Athletics had 13. In January of 1961, those two clubs pulled off an eight-player trade. Whitey Herzog, already a green A's stamp guy, went as part of the deal to the Orioles. Heading the other way was outfielder Bob Boyd who appears on a brown stamp as an Athletic. It would make sense that the deal was too late for Topps to change Herzog's stamp but they were able to show Boyd as a member of the A's. Boyd was supposed to be the Orioles 12th stamp.

Here they are in my album with future A's manager (and twice-an-Oriole) Dick Williams in between.

I figure the Yankees got an extra stamp because there was a slot to fill to complete the printing sheet and they are, after all, the Yankees.

I've 'completed' three team pages. And others are getting close. Below are a few of them. I have a brown Kaline stamp. Likely he replaced a player scheduled for the later series but was removed and so he has stamps in both colors.

The Athletics' page is full, all 10 slots covered. I actually have 11 different A's players but Bud Daley came too late to make the album. I haven't decided what to do with the 'latecomers'. I don't want to squeeze them onto the team pages. I may do what I figure I would have done as a kid, stick them on the inside front cover pages where there is some open area. We'll see.

The Braves were the first team to have a full complement of 10 stamps. I have Henry Aaron, Spahnie and Ed Mathews on the page. I would have held open a slot for any of those three had I needed to.

Over on the right side of the blog, I have added a page link for my 1961 Stamp build. Much of the info I typed here can be found there along with a checklist/needs list and more. I will not link to the site which characterized these as 'bland' and praised to 1962 stamp set. That one was full of murky, out-of-focus pictures. Not even the fun team logo stamps that were included could make it as sweet as the 1961 bunch. Some folks just don't appreciate classic beauty.


  1. I love the design for these sets... A dozen years ago there was a standard-sized Bazooka insert card set which used this design, and I uncharacteristically chased down the entire insert set (even Bonds, Chipper and A-Rod!). The main thing keeping me from chasing down a few of these is the "What do I do with these?" factor.

    ...Speaking of which, what did you do re: mounting these? Did you go with the glue stick?

    1. Yup, I use an Elmer's glue stick. It puts done a nice layer of glue without being too 'wet' and soaking trough the album page. And on that note, most of these stamps still had the original glue on the reverse. I decided not to try using it to mount them. I wasn't sure of the effect of cheap 57-year-old glue on cheap 57-year-old paper.

    2. Oy vey It puts down a nice layer of glue without being too 'wet' and soaking through the album page.

  2. Oh man I'm loving that you're actually mounting the stamps.

  3. Love these. Don't think I've ever seen Whitey Herzog so young.