15 August 2015

Hobby Archaeology: 1991 O-Pee-Chee/Topps Pre-Production Sample Sheets

     I've covered this ground before, but it is not often that I'm able to add another item to my Hensley Meulens collection.  This post originates in yet another undocumented item that I just happened across on eBay.

     From 1971-1976, the O-Pee-Chee Company (often abbreviated to "OPC"), the Canadian firm that licensed with Topps to produce baseball cards for the Canadian market, issued sets that were nearly identical to Topps in design and card count. From 1977-1989, O-Pee-Chee issued sets that were usually half the card total of the Topps equivilent.  In 1990-1992, O-Pee-Chee briefly returned to issuing yearly sets that paralleled the entire Topps base set.  1992 would be the last Topps parallel set O-Pee-Chee would issue.

     As a preview of the 1991 sets, both Topps and O-Pee-Chee issued pre-production sample sheets showing off the design of the new Topps 40th anniversary set.  The sheets measure 7.5 inches by 10.5 inches, feature the full front representation of 9 cards from the upcoming set and a large advertisement for the set on the back.  Beckett does not recognize either set of pre-production samples and the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards only recognizes a single sheet for for O-Pee-Chee.  The single Topps sheet is different in that each card has a separate back, and is often seen cut into individual cards.   Below are the sheets I have identified.  I do not know how many different sheets were issued.

1991 O-Pee-Chee Pre-Production Sample Sheets

NNO Sammy Sosa / Tommy Greene / Jeff Innis / Juan Samuel / Julio Valera / John McNamara / Darryl Strawberry AS / Pat Tabler / Chris Nabholz

NNO Barry Larkin / John Patterson / Jeff Kaiser / Rickey Henderson AS / Todd Hundley / Jeff Robinson / Rob Ducey / Steve Searcy / Juan Gonzalez

NNO Greg Colbrunn / Russ Swan / Ken Griffey Sr. / Matt Williams AS / Rex Hudler / Eric Davis / Jim Lefebvre / Alex Fernandez / Hensley Meulens

NNO Bill Bathe / Jeff Blauser / Jose Canseco AS / Wes Chamberlain / Norm Charlton / Mike Dunne / Craig Grebeck / Carmelo Martinez / Mike Scioscia AS

1991 Topps Pre-Production Sample Sheets

NNO Jose Canseco / Wade Boggs / Kirk Manwaring / Bo Jackson / Benito Santiago / Willie Randolph / Walt Weiss / Roger Clemens / Rickey Henderson