Yesterday I made a stop into an antique store in town that normally has some baseball cards lying around. I found a few cases with some random cards on sale for twenty five cents each. Looking through the pile, the cards below caught my eye.
I decided to shell out the $1.75 and add them to my collection. I’ll admit I really had no idea what card company they were from or even if they were legit cards. I texted a friend to see if he knew and he sent me a little information that he dug up, which peaked my interest even more.
TCMA, or The Card Memorabilia Associates was founded by Tom Collier and Mike Aronstein. I don’t know if was done on purpose or coincidence but the founders initials also spell out TCMA. Aronstein was a card collector who had developed mainly minor league card sets in the 1970s. They also dabbled in a few special team sets and reprints of classic sets. In 1975, under the banner of Sports Stars Publishing Co., or ‘SSPC’ they produced an unlicensed 630-card collector set using the 1953 Bowman set as inspiration. It was one Aronstein’s favorite sets because of the photography and simple, uncluttered design. Collectors Quarterly, which was a magazine they produced was used to introduce and promote the set. The magazine was edited by a young hobbyist at the time by the name of Keith Olberman of ESPN fame.
The original plan was to sell team sets in stores, with complete sets available through the mail. Before this happened though, Aronstein was sued by Topps, who had a stranglehold on the hobby then also, and they were barred from selling them. As part of the settlement between Aronstein and Topps, he was not allowed to comment on the details of the final agreement but was allowed to dispose of the inventory on hand. Because of this there were many sets that actually made it into the hands of collectors.
The cards I found at the antique store were from the 1978 TCMA Stars of the 60’s set. The set used many photos from Mike Aronstein’s library of photos and consisted of 291 cards (#43 and #98 were never printed). There are black streaks on the back of the Brooks Robinson and Hank Aaron, you can kind of see in the scans. But other than that the cards are in great shape.
Here are the scanned photos of the cards –
1978 TCMA 60s I Baseball Cards. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2015, from http://www.deanscards.com/c/393/1978-TCMA-60s-I
History of Baseball Cards. (2014, June 16). Retrieved June 20, 2015, from http://www.starrcards.com/history-of-baseball-cards/
SSPC. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2015, from http://www.baseballcardpedia.com/index.php/SSPC