My favorite thing about the hobby is interacting with other collectors and hobby historians and learning about new items. Well, on the morning of May 1st, a collector contacted me via e-mail after perusing the site with two photos of an empty box of cards I’d never seen before.
He thought maybe they were issued around Christmas time in 1964 to sell leftover cards after the season had ended and asked if I knew anything about it. I searched some of my older books and came up empty-handed. He mentioned the box didn’t have any code on it, so I asked if he’d be ok with my sharing it on Facebook, on a vintage wax group, to see if anyone else could help.
Well, there, a collector mentioned he had seen a reference to the box before and shared the following sell sheet for it.
One collector on Facebook commented that the box on the sell sheet looks a lot like a carton of cigarettes! And another was pretty sure Topps only made this product in 64.
The box wasn’t really meant for Christmas; it’s a gift box for any occasion, “what better way to say ‘happy birthday’ or just ‘hello.’ The boxes came 24 per case for $14.40 or 60 cents a box. Each box had 20 5-cent packs (100 total cards), though given the gift theme, I don’t think they were meant to be sold by the pack.
A ton of collectors reached out to me asking if the owner was interested in selling the empty box, but he’s not. Given how much interest it garnered in such a short period, I have to presume bidding would be intense.
I’m unsure how you’d price such an item, though. However, one collector shared that there was one on eBay many years ago, and he thought it was for $500, or maybe $338, but acknowledged it would go for much more these days. Another collector thinks he saw one around 2004.
The owner later shared three more photos of the box with me.
An interesting thing about the box is that that’s not Whitey Ford’s 1964 Topps baseball card printed on it; it looks like a 1964 design, but with his 1963 Topps photo.
Some collectors surmised it could have come out as early as December 1963, given the difference in Ford’s card design. And maybe the low item number of 400 (on the sell sheet) indicates an early release, along with the image of the smiling kid being the same as the one on the 1962 Topps Baseball Bucks dealer sell sheet?
Funny enough, Topps did something similar with the 1964 Topps Giants set; the picture of Whitey Ford on the box isn’t identical to his card.
If you have more insight into this unique Topps product, please leave a comment or e-mail me.
PS, the owner of his box also shared photos of another item I’d never seen before, but you’ll have to wait for a future article for more. Happy collecting! And don’t forget to check out The Post War Cards Newsletter; it comes out every Thursday.