U is for Uncut Sheets

March 6th, 2010  |  Published in ABCs of Vintage Football Cards, error cards, General Collecting Info, Interesting Message Board Threads  |  7 Comments

Occasionally you will see uncut sheets of vintage cards up for sale. Studying uncut sheets can give you insight into why some cards are much harder to find than others. For example, by looking at the uncut sheets for a set, you can see why some cards are considered short prints or double prints. For most sets, the price guides indicate which cards are short prints or double prints, and they adjust the cards’ prices accordingly. I say most, because some short prints are not documented–those in the 1964-1967 Philadelphia sets, for instance.

Uncut sheet of 1966 Philadelphia football cards

(Image from legendaryauctions.com; click on it to see whole sheet.)

Short prints and double prints are just part of the story. A card’s position on an uncut sheet can also affect its scarcity, because cards on the corners and edges of the sheets were more likely to be damaged in production. I have not seen this factored into price guides’ prices, though: if two common cards were printed in equal numbers, the price guides will usually–if not always–assign them the same price.

The price guides do assign higher prices to the first and last cards in a set, asserting that the first and last cards generally got more wear than the other cards. Supposedly, lots of kids sorted their cards into numerical order, put rubber bands around them, and banged them around. In practice, though, I find that first and last cards aren’t noticeably scarcer in high grades than the other cards, unless they happened to be on the corners and edges of the sheets.

A recent–and timely!–thread in the Collectors Universe forums includes pictures of numerous uncut baseball card sheets and a nice discussion about short prints and double prints. The thread shows the patterns that the card companies used when arranging cards from sets of different sizes on the sheets. Depending on the size of the set (or series within a set), the card companies repeated rows of cards on the sheets in different patterns. I recommend reading the thread.

Pictured here is the card I always use as an example of one that is scarce because of its position on the sheet. It’s a 1960 Fleer Jim Woodard card, and it was in the bottom-left corner of the sheet. The Woodard is easily the toughest card in the set–PSA has graded only four of them 7 or better–and a PSA 8 would sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay. Most other PSA 8 1960 Fleer commons sell for $10-20.

Over the past year, I have put together a number of “virtual” uncut sheets in the Vintage Football Card Gallery, including one for the 1960 Fleer set. I have included a little discussion for each sheet, as well. Rather than repeat the information here, I’ll just point you to the pages for the sheets:

Here are more of the ABCs:

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Responses

  1. Jesse says:

    March 6th, 2010 at 1:31 PM (#)

    Great! Now I’ll have to send my Woodard card off for grading and pray the PSA dart thrower hits 8 or higher.

  2. Vintage Topps Football Cards, 1970-1973 | Nearmint's Vintage Football Card Blog says:

    October 1st, 2010 at 1:54 PM (#)

    [...] Next: U is for Uncut Sheets [...]

  3. Darrin Silverman says:

    July 30th, 2011 at 10:06 AM (#)

    I like your page. I have a complete 1948 bowman set on 18 uncut 6 panel sheets. The cards divisible by 3 plus 1 have overprinted backs. I posted them on Facebook if you want to see them.

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1939662884703.2105245.1036345355

  4. Partial Uncut Sheet of 1959 Topps 1st Series Football Cards | Nearmint's Vintage Football Card Blog says:

    August 8th, 2011 at 5:27 PM (#)

    [...] card, with a sliver of Bob St. Clair’s card on the left side. A previous blog article, U is for Uncut Sheets, contains a full list of the virtual uncut football card sheets I have completed. As always, if you [...]

  5. Sean says:

    July 23rd, 2012 at 2:41 PM (#)

    I have an uncut printer sheet of 8 Emmitt Smith cards i am curious to know the value of

  6. Miscut 1967 Topps Johnny Robinson and Jim Hunt football cards | Nearmint's Vintage Football Card Blog says:

    August 7th, 2012 at 4:51 AM (#)

    [...] a full list of the virtual uncut sheets I have assembled, see my previous blog article, U is for Uncut Sheets. If you happen to have pictures of full sheets, partial sheets, or miscut cards that would help the [...]

  7. Miscut 1957 Topps Football Cards and Uncut Sheets | Nearmint's Vintage Football Card Blog says:

    September 3rd, 2012 at 1:13 PM (#)

    [...] sheet is progressing. For a full list of the virtual uncut sheets I have assembled, see my article U is for Uncut Sheets. As always, if you happen to have pictures of full sheets, partial sheets, or miscut cards that [...]