In this case I'm going to be comparing some cards I got from my friend Anco-san to cards from the seventies. Not only that, but I'll compare cards of retired legends on designs that were released when they were active, and subsequently featured them in the original Topps set. If that description was a bit too confusing you'll see what I mean when I get into it.
First up I'm going to match up the 1973 Graig Nettles. The one on the left is the original Nettles, the one on the right is an autograph from 2014 Archives.
Well the border design is the same iconic 1973 design. And the little silhouette on the bottom right corner is the same. As is the little pink circle behind the silhouetted figure.
Pretty much everything else? I mean the original didn't have the Topps logo, the Topps Archives Fan Favorites Certified Autograph Issue stamp and used a completely different photo.
Also Graig Nettles' name was originally in purple on the original and not pink like the newer one. Also there was no rights reserved symbol next to the Yankees. And Graig Nettles went from being a "3rd BASE" to a Third Baseman.
Of course we have to look at the backs too.
Both have a cartoon at the top, some personal information and a baseball in the middle, a few sentences about the player right below it and have Nettles' MLB batting records below that. Also the offensive categories are the same. Year/Team/AB/H/2B/3B/HR/RBI/AVG.
*The cartoons are different.
And personally I find the cartoon on the original '73 Topps to be a lot funnier.
*The text/numbers inside the balls are different.
Some of the personal information changed too.
*On the original Nettles' weight is 180 pounds, and yet on the newer one he's 186 pounds
*His home location has also changed. On the original his home was Berea, Ohio, on the newer one it's San Diego, California (his birthplace)
*The original card writes California as "Calif."
*Right next to Nettles' birthdate which was typed as 8-22 44. On the newer one the word California is written out in full and Nettles' birthdate is typed as 8-22-44 with TWO hyphens.
*On the original Nettles' small biography is written in two lines. On the newer one Nettles only gets one line for his biography, mainly so Topps had more room to input his full career stats.
*On the original the stats included Nettles' minor league numbers, the newer one doesn't.
*Finally the original only had a small copyright logo with T.C.G. and PRTD. IN U.S.A. on the bottom while the newer one has a more elaborate copyright statement. Also a Cooperstown Collection and Topps logo to boot.
My favorite part about how the back are different is that 1973 Topps is Nettles' first appearance on cardboard as a Yankee, and thus he doesn't have any stats as a Yankee on the back. On the Archives, we get to see what Nettles did for the Yankees albeit through the caveman's old school glasses and we see that he really was the power-hitting left-handed swinger the Yankees had been looking for.
As you can see the backs offered a lot more differences than the fronts. Lets see if this applies to this next pair.
A 1976 Sparky Lyle and yet another autograph, this time from 2015 Topps Archives.
The design is still the immortal 1976 design. The set that dared to use green and blue together. The font color used for Sparky Lyle and "Yankees" are the same.
Everything else (again). The photos are different and Lyle looks a lot happier on his more recent card. The cartoon pitcher on the lower left is a little bigger and mirrored on the newer version even though the original cartoon pitcher was a lefty like Lyle was. The font color for "PITCHER" is different and of course there is a rights reserved symbol next to Yankees on the newer one because law.
Now onto the backs.
The overall design is the same. You've got green everywhere next to a bat and a baseball.
Oh man, where do I start?
*PITCHER NEW YORK AL (two lines) on the top right turned into PITCHER NEW YORK YANKEES® (three lines)
*Lyle's weight went from 196 to 192
*The way Lyle was signed went from PRIOR TO DRAFT to AS FREE AGENT
*Lyle's home went from Danvers, Massachusetts to Reynoldsville, Penn
*Complete Major League Pitching Record became Major League Pitching Record
This is accurate because the newer one omitted Lyle's 1967-1970 seasons where he was a Red Sock and is therefore not complete. Great move on Topps' part.
*The trivia question on the bottom became replaces with legal information
Once again the backs offered more differences than the fronts.
I suppose the big question on everybody's mind is which is better, the originals or the newer ones?
I would say that the card stock ruins the Archives cards but the autographs make me look past that. Okay they don't but screw it, this whole thing was supposed to just be about comparing the cards based on how they seem to the eye, not to my hands.
All in all I guess I'll say that I have both so I don't care which is better.
As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).