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1959 Bell Brand Los Angeles Rams Specs
Title: Bell Brand Los Angeles Rams
Size: 2-1/2″ x 3-1/2″
Number in Set: 40
1959 Bell Brand Los Angeles Rams Overview
Bell Brand Foods, Inc. started in 1925 in Southern California and had a regionally popular line of snack foods, including chips and pretzels. After celebrating the Dodgers’ first year in LA with an unnumbered promotional set in 1958, Bell Brand partnered with the local professional football team, the Los Angeles Rams, in 1959 for another regionally distributed set of cards that were included in marked bags of bells potato and corn chips within a thin cello pack. Despite the cello packaging, you’ll still find quite a few cards with grease stains.
The standard-sized 40-card set (F387-1 catalog designation) was issued in a single series, with players making up the first 35 cards and the coaches and staff making up cards 36-40. The cards have a high-gloss finish and are really sturdy.
The front of each card has a color photo of the player with a small facsimile autograph. The player’s name in all capital letters, position, and team is under the photo, along the bottom, and within the white borders.
The backs have quite a lot of text on them and are divided into two halves. The left side has the card number in the upper left corner with the player’s name next to it. Then you have basic vital statistics followed by some career highlights. Beneath that short bio is an advertisement for Bell Snacks. The right side has an ad for “LA Rams Signature Merchandise.”
Unfortunately, the cards were cut pretty poorly. Of the 596 cards PSA has graded from the set, 84 have qualifiers. Most cards are graded in the PSA 4/5/6 range.
The set is also known for having the “pre-rookie” of Sid Gillman, the Hall of Fame coach who left the Rams to be the Chargers’ first coach after the ’59 season.
1959 Bell Brand Los Angeles Rams Short Prints
There’s a bit of an irregularity with the 1959 Bell Brand Rams set in that two extra cards from the set were discovered decades after the set’s initial release belonging to Bill Jobko (#41) and Tom Franckhauser (#43). Because of their rarity and late discovery, they usually aren’t considered part of a “complete” set. I’ve read that they were withdrawn early in production and only available upon request from the company. However, their existence and numbering also lead one to wonder if there was a card #42.
A collector on the Net54 Forums shared a pickup of this raw Franckhauser in May 2018 as part of a lot with two dozen other 1959 and 1960 Bell Brand Los Angeles Rams cards.
He had the card graded by PSA (the only one in the Pop Report), who returned it with a Good 2 grade. He then sold it privately in October 2018 for $8200.
PSA hasn’t graded any Bill Jobko cards, but a collector shared this photo in September 2018.
Jobko was a member of the Rams organization from 1958 through 1962, so there weren’t any trades to justify his removal from distribution other than the injury, perhaps. Franckhauser only played for the Rams in 1959 before being selected by the Cowboys in the 1960 expansion draft, which was held on March 13th, 1960. So perhaps the 1959 Bell Brand Rams set was released far later than the hobby believes? Let me know if you know why they may have been excluded from the set.
1959 Bell Brand Los Angeles Rams Significant Sales
First, concerning the cello pack featuring Leon Clarke pictured above, it sold on eBay in October 2017 for just $39.95, and PSA has only graded three cello packs from the set.
One of the bigger near-set sales I found was from the Fall of 2019 when Robert Edward Auctions sold a nearly complete set of 38/40 cars (missing #11 Marconi and #14 Sherman) for $870. Here are the photos from that auction:
Here are a few examples of individual card sales from the set:
- 1959 Bell Brand Rams #1 Bill Wade PSA 5: $26 in January 2019
- 1959 Bell Brand Rams #4 Ed Meador PSA 6: $149 in May 2023
- 1959 Bell Brand Rams #15 Clendon Thomas PSA 8: $195 in April 2018
- 1959 Bell Brand Rams #18 Lou Michaels PSA 2: $8.50 in April 2021
- 1959 Bell Brand Rams #19 Bob Reifsnyder #19 PSA 4: $44 in January 2022
- 1959 Bell Brand Rams #22 John Houser PSA 9(OC): $156 in February 2018
- 1959 Bell Brand Rams #24 Gene Selawski PSA 7: $100 in April 2018
- 1959 Bell Brand Rams #25 John Baker PSA 9: $357 in December 2018
- 1959 Bell Brand Rams #26 Bob Fry PSA 6: $42 in September 2019
- 1959 Bell Brand Rams #30 Charley Bradshaw PSA 5: $70 in April 2023
1959 Bell Brand Los Angeles Rams Example
1959 Bell Brand Los Angeles Rams Key Cards
The set’s key cards, outside of the short prints, according to the 2006 Standard Catalog of Football Cards book value, belong to Ollie Matson and Sid Gillman.
1959 Bell Brand Los Angeles Rams Checklist
1 Bill Wade
2 Buddy Humphrey
3 Frank Ryan
4 Ed Meador
5 Tom Wilson
6 Don Burroughs
7 Jon Arnett
8 Del Shofner
9 Jack Pardee
10 Ollie Matson
11 Joe Marconi
12 Jim Jones
13 Jack Morris
14 Will Sherman
15 Clendon Thomas
16 Les Richter
17 John Morrow
18 Lou Michaels
19 Bob Reifsnyder
20 John Guzik
21 Duane Putnam
22 John Houser
23 Buck Lansford
24 Gene Selawski
25 John Baker
26 Bob Fry
27 John Lovetere
28 George Strugar
29 Roy Wilkins
30 Charley Bradshaw
31 Gene Brito
32 Jim Phillips
33 Leon Clarke
34 Lamar Lundy
35 Sam Williams
36 Sid Gillman
37 Jack Faulkner
38 Joe Madro
39 Don Paul
40 Lou Rymkus