25 May 2015

Hobby Archaeology: 1979-1983 Coral-Lee Postcards

     The semi-recognized nature of the 1979-83 Coral-Lee Postcard set has bugged me for awhile. Mainly what bothered me was the seemingly random ordering of the checklist by Beckett. Oddly, Beckett no longer includes this set in their database at Beckett.com.

Here is what the checklist looked like as of the 2004 Beckett Almanac:

1 Dave Lopes
2 Billy Martin MG
3 Willie Mays / Ronald Reagan PRES / Ed Stack
4 Pete Rose /issued in 1979
5 George Steinbrenner OWN / Billy Margin MG / Reggie Jackson / Thurman Munson
6 Fernando Valenzuela / Jose Lopes Portillo PRES / Nancy Reagan
7 Dave Winfield /UER Name spelled Windfield
8 Carl Yastrzemski / Jimmy Carter PRES
9 Bobby Grich /Card numbered as number 8 on back
10 Reggie Jackson
11 Joe Morgan /Phillies
17 Lou Piniella /Batting

     According to Beckett, they just listed the cards alphabetically, which is clearly not the case. After browsing around eBay for about 5 minutes, it also becomes clear that this is not a single set, but a mish-mash of multiple sets stuffed under a single heading. Coral-Lee Postcards were issued for a very wide variety of subjects, sports just being a minor component of that. However, judging from the backs of the cards above, all but three of them were part of a specific C/L Sports set that had their own numbering, while those three in question were from two other sets entirely. And it's odd that they actually numbered Piniella as #17 (the actual number on the card) instead of 12.

     The first Standard Catalog edition I own that recognizes the set is from 2005 and didn't make quite the hash of it as did Beckett. According to SCD, cards 14 and higher are all larger format 4"x 6" while all the rest measure 3.5"x 5.5". It could be the 'C' indicates the larger cards. The SCD checklist is missing cards 13 & 17, but still includes the two 'Reagan set' cards as #69 (Mays) and #81 (Valenzuela).

In an hour or so, I've reconstructed the C/L Sports checklist as follows:

1 Pete Rose (Phillies)
2 Davey Lopes (Dodgers)
3 Dave Winfield (Yankees)
4 Billy Martin (Oakland)
5 Billy Martin / George Steinbrenner / Thurman Munson / Reggie Jackson
6 Reggie Jackson (Angels)
7 Bruce Kison (Angels)
8 Bobby Grich (Angels)
9 Rod Carew (Angels)
10 Tommy John (Angels)
11 Dick Howser
12 George Brett
13 Brooks Robinson
14-C Cal Ripken Jr.
15-C Carl Yastrzemski
16-C Joe Morgan (Phillies)
17-C Lou Piniella (Yankees)
18-C Graig Nettles (Yankees)
19-C Lyle Alzado (Raiders)
20-C Dan Marino (Dolphins)
21-C Cliff Branch (Raiders)
22-C Don Shula / Dan Marino (Dolphins)
23-C Joe Theismann (Redskins)
24-C John Riggins (49ers)
25-C Jim Plunkett (Raiders)
26-C Marcus Allen (Raiders)
27-C Joe Montana (49ers)
28-C Joe Namath (Jets)

     I'm not sure if this is complete, but I have completely re-worked the baseball checklist in the Inventory Manager over at SportsCardForum.com. The presence of the later football cards makes it clear this was intended as a multi-sport set and not just baseball.

     Of the three oddball cards, the Willie Mays and Fernando Valenzuela cards actually belong to a larger set about Ronald Reagan. The Carl Yastrzemski postcard is listed as "CL-LTD. SER#100/57" and seems to come from a Jimmy Carter postcard set.

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