Over the weekend I added 1974 Parker Brothers cards to the Vintage Football Card Gallery. These fifty cards were pieces in a game called Parker Brothers Pro Draft. They were printed by Topps for Parker Brothers, and they closely resemble 1974 Topps regular issue cards. A message board thread at tradingcardcentral.com has some nice photos of the game. (Note that the box cover pictures 1973 Topps cards, not 1974.)
The object of the Pro Draft game was to assemble a complete starting offensive lineup, so the set of Parker Brothers includes only offensive players: five quarterbacks, five tight ends, five centers, ten running backs, eight guards, eight tackles, and nine wide receivers. (Topps labeled Dan Dierdorf a guard, though he played tackle from 1972 to 1981.) The cards are not ordered sequentially; they have the same numbers as the corresponding cards in the regular 1974 Topps set. The only differences between the Parker Brothers cards and the Topps cards are:
- Six of the Parker Brothers cards have different images on the front than their counterparts in the Topps set.
- Cards from early editions of the Pro Draft game have 1972 stats on the back instead of 1973 stats.
- Cards from early editions of the game also have two asterisks in the copyright line on the back, whereas their counterparts in the regular Topps set have just one asterisk. (Complicating matters, some of the regular 1974 Topps cards also have two asterisks in the copyright line, but those cards don’t have counterparts in the Parker Brothers set. According to Beckett.com, the regular Topps cards with two asterisks are 26, 129, 130, 156, 162, 219, 265-364, 367-422, and 424-528.)
- Cards from late editions of the Pro Draft game have 1973 stats and one asterisk on the back. Except for the six that have different pictures on the front, the late edition Parker Brothers cards are indistinguishable from the regular 1974 Topps cards.
Here are the six cards whose fronts differ between the Parker Brothers set and the regular 1974 Topps set. Click on any picture to see a slightly bigger image.
|Number||1974 Parker Brothers||1974 Topps|
Here are examples of the backs. The back on the left appeared on Parker Brothers cards in early editions of the game. The back on the right appeared on regular 1974 Topps cards and on Parker Brothers cards in late editions of the game.
This is a picture of an uncut sheet of 1974 Topps cards that my friend cardbender posted on photobucket. The cards in the block marked in orange correspond to the fifty cards in the Parker Brothers set. You can see that three cards in the block are All Pro cards, and three are action cards, oriented horizontally. These are the six cards that Topps changed for the Parker Brothers set.
Though the Parker Brothers cards are less common than the regular 1974 Topps cards, they don’t appear to sell for a premium. I’m sure that collectors often don’t recognize them; in fact, before writing this article, I went through my own 1974 Topps set and found that three of the cards were actually Parker Brothers cards. You can find some Parker Brothers cards correctly identified on eBay, and you can also find some hiding among the 1974 Topps cards. For most of the cards–all but the six pictured above–you need to see the backs to identify them. Wheatstatecards is one seller who has some unidentified Parker Brothers cards. He includes scans of the card backs in all of his listings, so you can peruse his 1974 Topps listings and look for Parker Brothers cards.