In the days before the internet and digital marketing, Topps employed a different promotional tool, now known as dealer sell sheets or ad sheets, to captivate dealers or local retailers to stock Topps products and ignite excitement and anticipation of collectors.
Sell sheets are basically printed flyers designed to showcase Topps’ latest products and inform dealers about forthcoming releases. They served as a vital communication channel between Topps and its network of sellers. Today, they’re an invaluable reference for researchers, writers, and passionate collectors, providing critical insights into product codes, distribution details, pricing strategies, and card counts. While surviving examples of these sell sheets from the 1960s are few and far between, they offer a glimpse into the past and allow us to uncover how Topps marketed its products during a time of physical media.
In this article, I’ll share Topps dealer sheets from the 1960s, which will be a reference for my (and hopefully others) research.
1960 Topps Tattoos Ad Sheet
This 1960 Topps Tattoo Advertising Sheet was sold as part of a lot in March 2019 by Robert Edward Auctions (with a complete set, unopened pack, and display box) for $3k. They wrote, “The attractive advertising sheet displays three punch holes along the left edge, two staple holes in the upper left, and light wrinkling at the perimeter. The sheet is accompanied by a COA from the Topps Vault.”
1961 Topps Baseball Sell Sheet
I can’t remember where I found this image of a 1961 Topps baseball dealer sell sheet, but it’s important for giving us rak-pak packaging information.
1961 Topps Baseball Stamp Albums Ad Sheet
The Topps Archives featured this sheet in a blog post in August 2017; it confirmed his previous articles that guessed each box had 12 albums.
1962 Topps Baseball Sell Sheets
1962 Topps Baseball Bucks Ad Sheet
Topps pushed its novelty products to dealers via sell sheets too.
1963 Topps Baseball Sell Sheets
Stan Musial’s endorsement was a big deal for Topps, and they highlighted him to market their 1963 baseball set. Rak-Paks from 1963 are incredibly rare, but you can see the packaging as described on the sell sheet, “3 individually wrapped packs, each containing 12 cards and packed in a clear package with a colorful hole-punched header.”
1964 Topps Baseball Sell Sheets
The first 1964 Topps dealer sell sheet gave us the details for 6-pack trays. Topps had a history of utilizing trays sporadically during the 1960s through the 80s to discount extra products. The second and blurry scan shows rak-paks and red-colored cellos, but it’s illegible, so please get a hold of me if you have a better scan.
1964 Topps Baseball Gift Box Sell Sheet
I just detailed the discovery of the super rare 1964 Baseball Gift Box, and a collector on Facebook shared this sell sheet when I shared a photo of the actual box. The sell sheet shows that Topps sold the boxes to dealers for 60 cents a box, who then sold them for a dollar.
1965 Topps Baseball Sell Sheets
I don’t have any photos of a 1965 Topps baseball dealer sell sheet, but I have seen them discussed (with dead photo links) on various message boards.
1966 Topps Baseball Sell Sheets
What stands out to me from these 1966 Topps baseball sell sheets today is that the first sheet I shared had a half-size wax case for which Topps charged a bit more per box (75 cents vs. 72 cents) than the standard 24-box wax case.
1969 Topps Baseball Sell Sheet
For some reason, there seem to be a lot of surviving 1960s sell sheets featuring rak-paks, just like this one from 1969.
Obviously, there are some gaps here, so if you have more examples to share, please reach out on Twitter or via e-mail, and I’ll add them here to the Unopened Archive and highlight them in a future Post War Cards Newsletter. Happy collecting!