Saturday, 13 September 2014

Topps - World Cup 1982 (02) George Best

World Cup 1982
63 cards known

In the early 1980s, Topps considered releasing a set of soccer cards that would include players who were to be featured in the 1982 World Cup soccer tournament. While the set never made it to store shelves, several proof cards were created during the planning stage by Topps designers. These proof cards are quite rare, as probably no more than two or three full-color cards exist for each player. The proofs have blank backs, and it is believed that the rear designs for the cards were never completed. The cards were printed on the typical grey cardstock that Topps used during this era.
These are "progressive" proof sets, meaning that each player is featured on nine cards containing different color combinations. This type of progressive test is undertaken during the early printing process to check for color imbalances and deficiencies. Only one set of progressive proofs are typically printed, meaning that these types of cards are unique -- and extremely rare.
The full-color proof card (the first card in the scan) typically shows a bit of extra wear, because these were actively handled by the Topps designers and other staff.
It is interesting to note that Best was not selected to the 1982 Northern Ireland team, though he was briefly considered by manager Billy Bingham. Proof cards of this nature were produced quite some time before the final rosters were chosen, meaning this Best card probably would have never seen the light of day even if the set was released to collectors. This is quite a unique find, featuring George Best in his Hibernian uniform!

George Best (Northern Ireland)  -  in Hibernian kit

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