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1971 Topps #631 Marv Staehle Blank Back Proof Card - Rare Unissued Team Change!
Starting Bid - $100, Sold For - $1,920
Extremely rare unissued blank-back card featuring Montreal Expos infielder Marv Staehle from the 1971 Topps baseball set. While at first glance this appears to be just a slightly unusual blank back of an otherwise relatively common card, the offered card is of great significance in that it is a proof card that pictures Staehle as a member of the Expos, which is not how he is depicted on the final-issue card #631 that is part of the 1971 Topps series. Staehle played for the Expos in 1969 and 1970 but was released by the team during the months leading up to the 1971 season. Topps had images of Staehle as an Expo in their image files and featured him as such in their first run of proof sheets for the black-bordered 1971 Topps set. When he was released by the Expos and signed by the Braves in April 1971, Topps had to adjust accordingly, and replaced the original design with a new photo and team designation. On the unissued Expos card, Staehle is shown in a batting pose; on the issued Braves card, he is shown in a portrait pose. Interestingly, Staehle was signed so close to the start of the season that Topps was able to actually get a picture of him in a Braves uniform. To remedy this (as was standard practice in such situations), on the issued card Topps used a photo in which they airbrushed his cap to be generic (with no team logo) and cropped the photo so that what small portion of his uniform that was visible had no team affiliation. There are very few unissued proof cards of this type dating so early (Most, but certainly not all, date from later years, in part due to the advent of free agency.) This is an extremely unusual Topps rarity that would be very much at home in even the most advanced Topps or error-card collectors. Hand cut (by definition, as this card had to have bee cut from a proof sheet), otherwise in Near Mint condition. Reserve $100. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,920
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