Topps used to distribute sell sheets (printed flyers) to dealers and local retailers to promote their products. I’m a big fan of them; since I’m an amateur hobby historian, they are a means to learn product codes, case and card count, pricing, and other distribution facts. Topps usually gave us everything except the print counts for technical specifications on these sheets. But I surmise we may be able to piece that information together between these sheets and annual reports from the years Topps was a publicly-traded company.
What’s so interesting about this pair of 1981 and 1982 Topps Baseball Cello sell sheets is that Topps used colorful photos of wax packs to market their cello product. I can only guess that Topps did this because the packs and wax boxes are more colorful and grabbed a dealer’s attention better than a photo of a cello box would, as pictured below.
1981 was also the year the US government broke up the Topps monopoly, so perhaps Topps wanted to advertise a little more cleverly to compete with Donruss and Fleer’s new products. They even wrote that kids know that Topps cards are authentic baseball cards, an apparent jab at their competitors on the sheet.
In the specifications on the 1981 sell sheet, you can see that a pack of 28 cards retailed for 49 cents but sold to dealers for under 30 cents, which is quite a nice margin when you consider they could get another 2% discount for paying off the entire invoice in 15 days (much thanks to @NJGeneralsUSFL on Twitter for a correction to this post on the 2% Term). You can also see that Topps emphasized the 726 card set, probably referring to the fact that their product had more cards compared to Fleer and Donruss only printing 660 card sets.
Topps double-downed on marketing set size in 1982, again saying that Topps offered kids the biggest series and that dealers would get the more valuable cards by selling Topps product – “money in the bank.”
I saw some message board discussions of collectors trying to put together complete Topps runs of sell sheets from a decade ago, but the older ones are incredibly scarce. Sell sheets from the late 70s and 80s can generally be found for under $20 and are a hobby segment many post-war collectors might consider collecting. I’ve always liked having a sell sheet to go with any set I’ve completed.
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