Being a collector of oddball items, there was no way I could pass up this 1993-94 Topps Stadium Club proof card of Pittsburgh Penguins legend Mario Lemieux. Measuring 2 7/8″ by 3 7/8″, the proof card is 3/8″ bigger in width and height, showing some of the photo that was ultimately cropped out.
Apparently, Stadium Club cards in the 1990s were printed larger than their normal size on sheets, cut apart from each other, then cut down to the standard 2 1/2″ by 3 1/2″ size. In other words, the cards are overprinted, then cut down to size, to achieve the full-bleed look.
This proof card is consistent with the 1991-92 Stadium Club Chris Chelios proof card that I also own; both measure the same size and have the gold foil printed on it. This leads me to believe that this wasn’t actually a “proof” in the sense that the card was used for proofreading the text or otherwise looking for errors. Proof cards — at least those on Ebay — do not have the foil printed on them. whereas the two in my collection do.
The back of the proof card looks less claustrophobic than the standard card. A little extra space does go a long way.
Topps would use the idea of proof photos this season for its Master Photos insert set, which show the full, uncropped photo that was used on Stadium Club cards.
Still, these cards are a little bit of a mystery to me. If you have any knowledge of these Stadium Club proof cards — which measure 2 7/8″ by 3 7/8″ and have gold foil stamped on them — leave a comment and let me know. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.