The offered 1964 Topps Rookie Banquet Program is a newly discovered treasure from the immensely popular and vast realm of Topps baseball collectibles. Starting in 1959 and running thru 1966, Topps hosted a season-ending tribute to the best rookies in all of baseball in the way of an awards banquet held annually in New York City. The 300 or so invitees of the event were given a specially made banquet program honoring the award-winning rookies. Over the last few decades, conventional wisdom among the hobby's most knowledgeable experts surmised that programs were issued each year EXCEPT in 1964. The consensus was that in-lieu-of a program in 1964, Topps issued a unique 3" x 5-1/4" postcard- sized 36-card boxed set to honor the new All-Star Rookie class. After all, Topps was the famous card-maker, not the famous program-maker. These extremely sought after documented cards, highlighted by the appearance of future all-time great rookie Pete Rose can run into the thousands of dollars. PSA has graded 243 single card examples. Oddly enough, just as soon as the Rookie Banquet Card Set appeared, it disappeared. In 1965 and 1966, Topps reverted back to making Banquet Programs again, not cards. This recently discovered program definitively blows up the earlier theory. We believe that AFTER this 1964 program was made, someone at Topps declared, "hey, we're card manufacturers, let's make a card set". Rather than re-inventing the wheel, having already made the in-hand program, Topps never even had to design the card set. They literally reproduced the card set on blank backed cardboard, as evidenced by the "page #" on the lower right-hand corner of each card.
A couple of examples from past write-ups by major auction houses pertaining to the 1964 Topps banquet card sets they were offering:
1.) “Through 1963, these banquets featured a traditional fold-out program. In 1964, Topps created this specialty boxed-card set instead.”
2.) “In 1964, the gum company deviated from the traditional dinner program by issuing a 36-card boxed set.”
NOTE: The three subtle differences between the card set and the program are thus: The thicker card stock versus the thinner paper pages of the program, the cards are blank backed versus the back-to-back printed program pages, and the size. The program is 3/16" wider than the card set (so, the bigger program was not part of the snugly fitting boxed card set.) We believe the programs were likely deemed redundant and were probably trashed, assuming they even made more than one or two to begin with. So, if you are a completist and need the program for your card set, or if you have a near-run of banquet programs, this is a unique opportunity to own a true Topps rarity!