I have no inside knowledge, but after 20+ years in the hobby as an adult, I've been around lots of dealers and collectors who have passed down information on Presentation Sets. Some of it may actually be accurate. Here is what I've concluded.|
I don't believe Presentation Sets were issued past 1963. The 1963 set is the most common set seen. They are said to have some sort of different coating or gloss (~Tiffiany coating?) but that is not true either. The bulk of the cards that survived were so untouched that they just looked super glossy. Kids didn't collect them. They were given to adults as an investment or premium. Some were given to players in lieu of commission for using the players' picture on the cards. As late as the mid-60's Topps only paid $25 - $125 for the right to use a player's photo. Some players took the cards or other items from a catalog instead of the money.
The Presentation sets were produced much fewer in number than the other Topps cards. I've also heard a different kind of blade was used to cut the cards from the sheet, rotary vs. a straight edge. Personally, I doubt that but I'll let others argue over that point.
Early days of grading were unkind to those cards. PSA (Rocchi and Baker) resisted even slabbing them and when they did, they gave a lot of 7's and 8's even though the cards were much nicer.
#1 in 1959 Topps. Officially known as Assassin according to stanthemanfan 3/31/2014 and god of minor league basketball according to cammb.