Monday, August 22, 2011


Adventures in grading, part 2.

To see the grade, you'd think I really spit the bit on this one. But as far as I can tell, there are no obvious issues with the card. The centering is good, the corners are acceptable, and I don't see any apparent creases.

I suspect that what knocked this card down was its surface. The good folks at Beckett probably didn't know what to make of all that slickness...

I bought this Gentry several years ago in a Topps Vault auction, where it was classified as a “slick proof.” It was one of a run of 1971 high numbers to which Topps had applied a layer of some sort of varnish. I imagine that this was an early test for the type of coating that would enter commercial production with later issues such as the 1983 all-star glossy send-in set and the 1984 “tiffany.”

The card has a complete back, which leads me to wonder exactly how Topps executed the test. Did they coat a finished sheet of cards and then cut them as well? Or was it a piece-based process, where they just pulled some individual cards from the high-number series and brushed on a layer of gloss?

It's a mystery wrapped in a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a Beckett 4.5 slab, and I love this card for all that...


  1. What's going on in the back of the card? There appears to be a black block obscuring part of his last name and there also seems to be some kind of defect running from his teeth down to his chin.

  2. The scuff marks are on the scanner and/or the case. The blob on the back is a Topps authentication sticker. I do wonder if the grader rater the sticker as a surface defect...