Don't get too excited. What you're seeing above is NOT a vintage 1968 Nolan Ryan/Jerry Koosman Topps rookie. Oh, how I wish it was! But that and 99-cents'll get you a cup of joe (maybe).
I've had this card for a few years. It was most assuredly plucked from one of the countless dime boxes I've come in contact with at hobby shows over the past six or seven years.
It is a reprint and it pretends to be nothing more. For one, the front's got a glossy sheen. Plus it's a bit thicker stock than the '68s had.
But, the real smoking gun is found on the reverse side.
Not only does the color of the card stock mismatch the archival card, but the little "REPRINT" designation in the bottom right corner is as blatant as can be.
I read somewhere around the webs recently that this is one of the most reproduced and scammed cards of all-time. In other words, there are plenty of professionally criminal knock-offs of this card floating around, intending to dupe some unsuspecting sap with a zeal for high-end collecting and a fat wallet.
This one, on the other hand, is harmless enough. It's not an official Topps reprint, such as the ones introduced in 1999 to celebrate Ryan's amazing career. Nonetheless, whoever created this particular reprint did so without a desire to deceive. And that's cool with me.
So, that begs the question(s): What is this and who (what company) made this and in what year? Was this part of a larger Nolan Ryan retrospective set? Maybe part of a "Most Iconic Cards of All-Time" issue put out by some fringe hobby company or another? Was it perhaps a one-card promotional item included in a sports card price guide?
The OCD monster within needs to know such things as I attempt to catalog this thing into my Mets collection on Zistle.