Thursday, May 23, 2013

1981 Perma-Graphic Super Star Credit Card Phillies

1981 Perma-Graphic Super Star Credit Cards #2, #5 and #16
In the beginning (at least my beginning) there was Topps.  As a wee lad, I collected Topps cards and the occasional card from Kellogg's, Hostess or Burger King.  Fleer and Donruss joined the fray in 1981, and as a soon-to-be 7-year-old, I knew all there was to know about new baseball card releases.  Or did I?

I first saw an example of the cards from the Perma-Graphic Credit Cards set at the Ocean City Baseball Card Show in 1981.  My initial reaction was, "What in the world are those things?"  I recognized the pictures used for the Phillies cards as being lifted from the 1981 Topps set, but our local card shop (The Card Doctor) did not carry these cards.  It was one of the first times I came across a card set that I knew absolutely nothing about.

The cards were printed on a plastic material and they had rounded corners.  The dealer at the card show had all three Phillies for sale - Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Pete Rose.  I needed them.  But they were stinkin' expensive.  Slightly deflated, I passed on the cool and amazing new cards and I spent my allowance money elsewhere throughout the baseball card tables scattered throughout the Ocean City Music Pier.

For the next 32 years, I came across instances of these cards in various on-line auctions or in the oddball displays at baseball card shows.  For some reason, though, the cards always cost way more than I was willing to pay for them.  A few weeks ago, on a oddball hunt at, I came across the three cards featured at the top of this post, made a fair offer for them, and finally added these cards to my collection.

Now that I own the cards, they're not actually all that mystical and cool.  The Perma-Graphics company put out two sets a year between 1981 and 1983.  The 1981 "Super Star" set features a small photo, the player's name and position and a bubble-letter style graphic of the player's team.  The backs are fairly plain with the player's career record to date and a listing of career highlights.  There's a box on the bottom of the backs for the player's autograph.  I wonder if any autograph seekers actually ever made use of this box?

In any event, even though they aren't as awesome as I remember from 32 years ago, I'm glad my decades-long quest for these cards is finally over.


night owl said...

I, too, was entranced by their mystical qualities. But they were even more mystical to me because I never saw them in person, I only saw them advertised in Baseball Digest, Baseball Magazine, etc.

Decades went by before obtaining one, and it was a little disappointing.

But not disappointing enough that I won't try to find all the Dodgers!

Fuji said...

I love these! But, I've always been a sucker for oddballs. The only thing that stinks is that a few of mine have turned brownish over the years.

Steve F. said...

Wait a minute--the cards use the 1981 Topps photos. Although I have known of these cards for the same 32 years that you have (but don't own any), I never noticed that before now. Now they are even less mystical!

And what's up with that font for the word "Phillies" on the front? Weird. Very 1981. It looks like it could be from a Gahan Wilson cartoon. (Do a Google image search and see whether you agree.)