The growing popularity of unopened material in the post-war sports card market has led to drastically increasing prices. With rising prices come questions and malicious sellers, so I wanted to share what I know about commercially wrapped wax boxes with unopened collectors.
Reed Kasaoka, the Director of Acquisitions for Dave & Adam’s Card World, said that Topps wrapped boxes of 1986, 1987, and 1988 Baseball and 1987, 1988, and 1989 Football wax on a Facebook forum. This method was used to accommodate larger sellers who didn’t want the hassle of selling individual packs, only boxes, think the Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs of the world, retail stores, and wholesale clubs.
Though Reed mentioned 1987-1989 for Topps Football, I have seen 1986 Topps Football boxes authenticated with Sam’s Wholesale Club (SWC) sticker.
Mile High Card Company also auctioned off a BBCE wrapped SWC box of 1986 Topps Football in July 2019.
Wholesale 1986 Topps baseball boxes were not originally wrapped by Topps in plastic, though; an SWC sticker was simply placed over the top.
It’s assumed that didn’t stop people from opening them in the store, so Sam’s Club had them wrapped in 1987 and put an SWC (Sam’s Wholesale Club) sticker over the wrapping. These wholesale boxes were wrapped in cellophane plastic, but it isn’t shrink-wrap. It’s looser and more crinkly.
It appears, Topps wrapped two different boxes in 1987. The Sam’s Club and the Price Club Boxes (Price Club eventually merged with Costco in the 90s). Sam’s Club had the SWC sticker, and the Price Club did not have a sticker.
The cases Topps shipped to the warehouse companies were also different. The picture below is a standard wax box case with a replacement label placed on top, 362-PC. Collectors believe that if you people off the sticker, 362-86 would be underneath. In later years Topps started printing the case numbers directly on the case.
The Price Club cases of 1987 Topps Baseball have P-362-PC7 printed on the side (PC for Price Club).
The Sam’s Club cases of 1987 Topps Baseball are known as J-Code cases, as the code J-362-87J is printed on the side.
Interestingly, the J cases seem to have red print, the PC case is black, and the standard hobby cases used green ink.
I believe Sam’s Club also sold some non-sport cards as I’ve seen a 1989 Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles box with an SWC sticker as well.
For disclosure, there is no authoritative information about commercially wrapped wholesale boxes and cases from Topps; this is just the best I can piece together from collectors and dealers. If you have more information to share about commercially wrapped wax boxes, please share it in the comments. And don’t forget to follow PostWarCards on Twitter.