Short printed High Series: First series (1-88) is slightly more scarce than the second series.
Card Size: Standard 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"
Corrected Errors and Variations: none
Best card: Jim Brown second year
Key Rookies: Sam Huff, Alex Karras, Bobby Mitchell, Jerry Kramer, Jim Taylor (UER), Jim Parker, Max McGee
Subsets: Team cards, Team pennant cards
Gimmick: Coin rub trivia
Back ink colors: Black
Team Logos? Yes
Night Owl Style Nickname: The Day-Glo Burlap set
Teams included in the set: Baltimore Colts, Chicago Bears, Chicago Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins (Italics indicates first appearance for the team in a Topps set)
Why I chose this card: BUZZ NUTTER
Yep, this series is back. I shall attempt to get up to at least the '70s by the time to season is over, but as you all know, I am a slacker and I have 170 unfinished posts in my draft folder to prove it. If you've forgotten what this is all about, basically when Topps lost their football license last year I vowed to honor their memory by doing a profile on each of their football base sets. Then I got sidetracked, and skipped a few months and in the meantime Topps got the license back, so there's not really a point now. I'mma do it anyway. Here are the first three profiles:
This set was the largest Topps football set to date at 176 cards. I'm not sure if Topps actually went as far as to release the set in two separate series, but cards off the first sheet of 88 cards are slightly more scarce than the ones on the second sheet. The design seems pretty far-out for the stodgy Eisenhower era. The player's photo is superimposed on what appears to be day-glo burlap, with an interesting team logo stuck wherever it would fit. The name of the player is spelled out in alternate red and blue letter that not only foreshadows the 1960 Topps baseball design but is actually more eye-straining than the names on that set. Thankfully the position and team name are in simple clear black type that acts as a palate cleanser after the assault on your eyes.as wacky as the design is, it really seems to work well with all the portraits and posed action photos of the old-school football players.
As flamboyant as the fronts are, the backs are very austere. The backs have a portrait orientation, the only color used is black. The name, position and team are embedded in a solid black strip at the top, with the card number residing inside a football on the left of the bar. Right underneath that is a small block of statistics or a small paragraph for linemen or other players with no stats. Fully two thirds of the back is dominated by a scratch off trivia cartoon puzzle. The amount of space devoted to the instructions for revealing the Magic Answer is equivalent to the footprint of the box of statistics. Apparently scratching the card to reveal the answer is a big no-no among graders, meaning you can find scratched up copies in otherwise good condition cheap.
The set is notable for not only for the large amount of Hall of Famers in the set including a second year Jim Brown and card #1 Johnny U, but for a pretty darn good rookie class. Any set with the rookie card of Mongo is one well worth collecting. The Jim Taylor rookie card is somewhat odd, instead of a picture of the Packers' Jim Taylor, there is instead a photo of the Cardinals' Jim Taylor. Topps made the same mistake in 1960, so Jim Taylor's first card with the right Jim Taylor is from 1961 Topps, technically giving Jim two rookie cards. Along with the team card subset that returned from the previous year, Topps also added a Team Pennant subset. The cards had the goofy burlap background with a nice looking team logo pennant. The team name is on the top in the alternating color style of 1960 Topps baseball. Underneath the pennant is a football themed line drawing and a list of Championships the team won, if any. It's a very unique subset of the original 12 NFL teams. My favorite card in the set - and maybe in all of Topps Football - is this one of Buzz Nutter, who to my surprise has not been mentioned here yet.
1959 Topps Football card Gallery from www.footballcardgallery.com
A very nice article on the set by TS O'Connell.