Late one swirling, peaty evening with a glass of Scotch haphazardly in hand, I came across a rather forgettable player’s even more forgettable card: Gary Redus from Topps, 1987. Not to disrespect Mr. Redus who ultimately batted a .252 average with 322 bases stolen after over a decade in a career that eventually came to a close with some unfortunate, mounting series of injuries (thank goodness for that ubiquitous “research” tool of Wikipedia), but I wonder if even the most diehard of baseball fans could recall Gary’s playing days.
Yet when under the lamplight I tilted the front of the card with those infamous, lamentable wood panel borders, I observed a slight but perceptible difference in added surface gloss. Then I turned the card over and saw that this 1987 Topps card had a white back instead of the customarily ashy stock of these often pitiful cards. (Indeed, the common Topps cards from 1987 seem so utterly loathed by some collectors that there is even a fellow who started a site called The BurnCardBurn Project, which releases videos of the cards being burned in a backyard fire pit, which actually seems a comparatively distinguished end for such undistinguished, inauspicious cards.)
Surely many collectors already know about these specialized Topps “Tiffany” card variations—of considerably lesser print run quantities and greater reputation. However, for me this was yet another small though intriguing discovery in the land of pulp ephemera.