1983 Topps #735 Tommy John Blank Back Proof Card - Rare Unissued Team Change!

Sold For: $2,700

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 1459

Item Year: 1983

Category: Postwar Baseball Cards (1948-present)

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Extremely rare unissued blank-back card featuring New York Yankees pitcher Tommy John from the 1983 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 John as a member of the Yankees, which is not how he is depicted on the final-issue card #735 that is part of the 1983 Topps series. John played for the Yankees from 1979 to 1982 but was traded by the team near the end of the 1982 season. Topps had images of John as a Yankee in their image files and planned for him to be included in the 1983 set in the first run of proof sheets. When he was traded by the Yankees and signed by the Angels, Topps had to adjust accordingly, and replaced the original design with a new photo and team designation. On the unissued Yankees card, John is shown in a pitching pose; on the issued Angels card, he is shown from the chest up. This is the only 1983 Topps proof of Tommy John that we have ever seen. It is extremely rare! This is an extremely unusual Topps rarity that would be very much at home in even the most advanced Topps or error-card collection. Graded NM-MT+ 8.5 by BVG (Beckett). Reserve $200. Estimate (open).

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