September 2017
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on: 9/15/2017 2:03:00 AM

Lot #58: 1966 Topps USA Test Hockey Uncut Proof Sheet


Following the 1966-67 hockey season, the National Hockey League doubled in size from six to 12 teams, putting the "original six" in the East Division while adding expansion teams in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Los Angeles and Oakland to form the new West Division. With six new American cities joining New York, Boston, Detroit and Chicago, Topps decided it was worth exploring whether the hockey card market could be expanded as well, producing a regional USA test set in very limited numbers that catered specifically to Americans. Cut down to 66 cards, the issue looked almost identical to the mainstream collection that was so popular in Canada except the French bio was removed from the reverse and the wood-grain border had a slightly lighter shade. Rather than just chop the 132-card collection in half, some of the players from the set were removed and replaced with others from the high half of the series, but one that remained was the debut of Bobby Orr. While the rookie card of "Number Four" is considered one of the most important issues ever produced, Orr's USA Topps test rookie card is far more scarce and without equal. USA Topps test cards surface from time to time, but to stumble across a rare proof sheet like this is the dream of any advanced collector. Chock-full of Hall of Famers like Richard, Howe, Beliveau, Hull, Mikita and at least a dozen others, the main attraction of course is Bobby Orr, situated at the right end of the seventh row. Unlike most uncut sheets from the time period that exhibit creases, tears or fraying along the perimeter, this sheet is in immaculate condition, showing no significant surface problems with edges that clearly qualify as NM or better. The Orr card is clean and unadulterated, giving the observer a preview of how the iconic finished product will appear. Measuring approximately 23" x 28" the sheet is from an early stage of the printing process, sporting only blue (cyan) ink on a bright white backdrop that would soon become famously wood-grained. A circular stamp on the reverse that reads "Topps Auction NYC, August 1989" assures its authenticity and verifies its origins as having come directly from the Topps vault. An extraordinary and unique piece of history that carries the sports's most legendary card.
Final Bid (Includes Buyers Premium):$6,150
Minimum Bid:$3,500
Number of Bids:4