1977 Topps Mexican Test Issue
"Estampas de Jugadores Profesionales"
Countdown to Set Completion:
Countdown to Set #2: Pending total
chose to test the waters of Mexico in 1977 by releasing an American
football set manufactured and issued in Mexico with the text written in
Spanish. While the exact details of the printing and
have been and remain somewhat a mystery, it is known that the
production of this issue was quite miniscule in comparison to the
regular issue 1977 Topps Football set issued in the States.
The 1977 Topps
Football set resembles the standard issue in many ways, but it is the
subtle (and very distinct) differences that make it unique, mysterious,
extremely collectible, and almost a cult-like obsession for those that
collect and are trying tediously to complete the set.
exact same 528
cards as its
American counterpart, the Mexican set was printed with Spanish team
names and position abbreviations on the obverse of the card.
reverse was printed entirely in Spanish. Player's weights and
measures are listed using the Metric Standard. The cards were
much differently than standard issue cards. The Mexican cards
were cut utilizing a perforated system (has ANYONE actually seen a
full, intact sheet???) that left remnants of the perforations
each corner as well as three additional perfs across each the top and
bottom of the card and two perfs on each side of the card.
14 perforations on each card. Some of the perfs are much more
evident than others and vary from card to card. In fact,
are some cards that appear to be virtually void of the perforations.
one has been able
the existence of an uncut sheet, portions of sheets have been seen from
time to time. Often referred to as "panels," two, three, four, and six
card panels have been offered for sale over the past few years.
of the cards may
be one of the zaniest oddities of the issue. The cards were
packed in both two card and
four card packs with 36 packs per box, and a very unusual number of 54
boxes in a 2 card per pack case. The two card packs
a piece of banana and grape flavored gum that was flat on one side and
had a railroad tie appearance on the other. There also have
reports of some two card packs without gum. The packs that
included the gum almost always caused one of the cards to have either a
gum stain (which vary greatly in degree) or other damage associated
with the gum. This resulted because of the humidity and
which caused the gum to dampen and subsequently flaw the card it was in
contact with. The other card was usually gum stain free,
subject to wax stains. The four card packs did not
the stick of gum and are highly coveted as they typically yield at
least three stain-free cards. I do not have any information on how many
boxes were in a case of this type. Additionally, the packages were
manufactured with 5 different and equally distributed
The wrappers featured O.J. Simpson, Bob Griese, Steve Bartowski, Mike
Boryla, and Brian Sipe.
the cards within
the boxes is nothing short of a nightmare. It is not uncommon
to open a box and get numerous duplicates. I have heard of
boxes yielding as few as 9 different players with as many as 17 of the
same player in the box including packs with two of the same
player. From a set builder's standpoint, that would be
horrible, but if one of the duplicated cards was a Walter Payton or
Steve Largent, I doubt that many would complain. Also, of the
72 cards from the packs, half will probably be damaged by the
gum. And given the horrible quality control (was there really
any such thing???) that appears to have been practiced during the
production, many other cards suffer from factory creases, roller marks,
miscuts, ink stains and printing flaws, wrong or missing backs, and a
myriad of other detrimental characteristics.
as well as
the most frustrating aspect of this
set is the scarcity of more than two dozen cards within the
set. The scarcest of them, often referred to as the "Dirty
frequent almost every want list and command significant premiums when
offered for sale, regardless of condition. Additionally,
are several other levels of scarcity within the guise of the shorts in
this set. There is no definitive list that will identify the
exact scarcities and their relationship to other cards in the
set. Several dealers have set up websites and have listed
levels of short prints. Keep in mind that some of the short
prints these folks list are predicated as much by their current
inventory as they are by their actual scarcity. For the sake of sanity
and to eliminate argument, we will avoid referring to any card in this
set as an SP, short print, short print plus, or a super short print.
However, the prices we quote, report, or use as trade value will be
representative of the difficulty in locating them.
- # 8
Volk - Giants
- # 21 Lawrence Gaines -
- # 89 John McDaniel -
- # 98 Ray Rhodes -
- #231 Eddie Brown - Redskins
- #269 Archie Griffin - Bengals
- #276 Wilbur Jackson - 49ers
- #404 Ray Jarvis - Lions
- #434 Eric Torkelson - Packers
- #444 Mike Pruitt - Browns
- #488 Rich Sowells - Jets
- #528 Super Bowl
This list is
based upon evaluating numerous want
lists and discussion with other collectors.
that suggest card numbers 3, 147, 295, 332, 374, 417, 453 and/or 474
are equally difficult to locate
and are worthy of similar
consideration as, or could be substituted for the above.
More on the "Dirty Dozen"
additional research, it
there is a basis for understanding the scarcity of certain cards within
the issue. Given the assumption that the cards were printed from the
same metallic printing plates as the American version of the set (see
sheet pictured above) after the plates were remastered with the Spanish
text, it appears that many of the so-called short prints actually are
border cards in the printing process. This would lead one to
rationalize, based upon the fact that printing plates deteriorate
during use, that many of the outlying cards on these sheets were
damaged or poorly printed and subsequently destroyed without making it
into circulation. If you note this specific sheet, you will
find most of the "Dirty Dozen" are included here. Additionally, on
several other sheets, the outer edge cards tend to be the tougher cards
to locate. As I gain further
insight upon this theory, I will amend or augment my findings.
Bear in mind
that there are
also some cards
in the set, that while not exactly scarce, are extremely difficult to
find without specific flaws (stains, ink errors, centering, etc). As a
result, there are some "common" cards that command surprisingly high
prices when found without flaws. Why? The answer is simple. A small
segment of the collector base for this set are working on graded sets,
typically PSA (Professional Sports Authenticators),
and are trying to obtain the cards in the highest grade and/or upgrade
their existing cards. While building a PSA Set Registry set, qualifiers
(notations of specific flaws) tend to be frowned upon as most Registry
Set builders would prefer their graded cards to be "qualifier-free."
the issue and the virtual impossibility of locating the "Dirty Dozen,"
its not difficult to understand why there are less than 15 known
complete sets that exist in the hobby. From time to time, some of the
tougher cards show up, usually in G to VG condition. And recently, a
few partial sets have changed hands, but all-in-all, there is nothing
to suggest that there is much of this product that will suddenly
unknown. Topps has no records that they can provide, claiming
records were lost when the Mexican plant was closed. A
limited amount of the product was discovered nearly a decade after
and shortly before scheduled disposal. This small find
was brought to the States by a New Jersey collector.
Estimates suggest the quantity may have been as few as 20
cases, all of which were opened prior to entering the US by customs
agents, so there are no "sealed" cases. The
eventually sold off the inventory,
and at this time, it is believed that only a very limited
amount of unopened boxes exist and it is suspected that there
are no longer any complete or original cases.
several pricing sources for this issue on the Internet, but none are
very realistic, so after
exhaustive research and
of private sales, auctions, and communique with other Topps Mexican
traders, buyers, and sellers, I have compiled a representative price list
of the entire 528 card set, commons, minor stars, 2 card and 4 card wax
packs, and complete unopened 2 card wax boxes. Please feel free to
visit the PRICE GUIDE by
or using the navigational button on the upper
left of each page of the website. Keep in mind, that while
common cards will typically sell at or around the common price, there
are some that due to certain characteristics may have very high demand
in strict NM-MT condition and subsequently command very significant
I will add it
to the site. Thanks for visiting and feel free to contact me
you have any additional information, questions, can offer additional
input or stories about this great set, or wish to buy, sell, or trade
this great set.
I will be
with regard to sales, trades, and want list to formulate an accurate
and representative price guide for this issue. As I near completion of
this task, I will add the price guide to the website on a new page. As
always, I welcome any input or information that anyone can provide.
solitary action and without the help of other collectors, this site and
my Topps Mexican Football collection would be only a fraction of what
they are now. Therefore, I offer my
thanks to several that have been great aids in helping me gather
information or filling the holes in my set(s): Don, Tom, Andy, Al,
Leighton, Jim, Wes, Luis and many others!
visitors to this page since May 2006
© 2006-2008 toppsmexican.com. All Rights Reserved.