Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Elusive Topps Blue Back '51 Billy Pierce

I've known very little about the 1951 Topps set. But one thing I DO know is that the Billy Pierce card has been very hard for me to find. Especially at a decent price.

I really have never looked into the '51 set. Collecting Orioles meant that I sought out cards as far back as the '54 Topps and Bowman sets. Anything earlier than that was just 'cool old stuff' that I liked to look at but never knew much about.

The '51 set, put out in two groups of 52 players with blue and red backs, was intended to be used as part of a game. This page has a bit of the back-story on the cards. Interesting stuff. I enjoy reading these sites that give some history of Topps' business decisions back in the day. I seem to remember the stir that came about when a huge cache of the red backs were discovered in the '80s but I hadn't thought about that in a long time.

Anyway the Billy Pierce Blue Back is listed as a 'rookie card' but I suppose it must be considered one in tandem with his (much sweeter) 1951 Bowman card. I let quite a few of these go buy through the years on eBay and such because the price was never right. I finally was able to find a decent one with a 'Best Offer' that I went after and won.

It is better looking 'in hand' than in the scans because I scanned it while still in the case. This is the last of the 'mainstream' vintage issue Pierce cards that I had been lacking. The rest of my want-list consists of things like the 1957 Swifts Franks card, the '59 Bazooka and Venezuelan versions of a couple of his Topps cards, etc. I don't expect to dig up many (if any) of those 'white whales' any time soon but I'll continue to grab (and post) things like photos, pins, oddball items as I come across them. I have several here already and one or two on the way. (EDIT...I just found a '64 Venezuelan Pierce I may grab)

And, btw, I'll set Billy P. free the next time I crank up my Dremel tool.


  1. Nice card, the blue backs are much scarcer than the red backs. Took me a while to complete the Sox sets of both

  2. You open them with a dremel? I've always taken side-cutters across one of the top corners, then pried it with a slot screwdriver. What's the trick with a dremel?

  3. I have a cut-off wheel sort of attachment. Used it a lot when I was building golf clubs. I used a small screwdriver until I stabbed myself trying to open a stubborn case.

  4. I only have a couple of re-prints of these. I think I got them in a couple of those value boxes from Walmart I think. If those look nice the originals don't need description!