Sunday, November 28, 2021

A Year of Topps Designs: 1964

In 1964 Topps went for a pretty simple look for their baseball and football sets. The big design elements were the big team name on the top of the baseball cards, and the star border on the football cards. To me, the lack of backgrounds on the football cards is a big detriment. So much is lost with just a plain background.

The hockey design is a lot more memorable. It is very reminiscent of the 1962 Football design, with a big color portrait and a small black-and-white action shot. The hockey stick is a fantastic design element. However, the room for the action photo is quite cramped - most don't look as good as this one does.

1964 was a big year for non-sport cards for Topps, though in most cases there wasn't much work for the design team. The company put out a 77-card set for the late President John F. Kennedy, killed tragically near the end of the prior year. The set was just a black-and-white photo on the front, including this one of the President at a ballgame.

1964 was, of course, the year of Beatlemania in the U.S., and Topps was fortunate enough to have their trading card license. They put out five Beatles sets that year. Four of them were, like the Kennedy set, simple photo fronts. Two of those sets were black-and-white, and two were in color.

Topps also put out Beatles "Plaks". Plaks were oversized cards that had a funny saying or photo, and the "wooden plaque" could be detached from the card and attached to others. Many Beatles fans in 1964 strung Beatles Plaks across the walls of their rooms.

A little more effort went into the design of the other non-sport issue by Topps in 1964, for the horror TV show Outer Limits. The black, ragged background was appropriate for a set that was basically a collection of space-monster images.


  1. Really jarring how obvious it is that McKinney was wearing a Bruins uniform, at least for this Ranger fan!

  2. I don't collect presidential stuff, but the Kennedy set does have some really interesting photos in it.