The Marketing Showdown of 1981: How Donruss, Fleer, and Topps Tried to Differentiate Their Baseball Card Products

Topps was the only game in town for baseball cards for around a quarter of a century (1956 through 1980). But on July 1, 1980, a Philadelphia judge ended Topps’ monopoly, opening the door for Fleer and Donruss to join the baseball card market in 1981, sparking a battle for baseball card supremacy. And while … Read more

The Topps Home Run Books and the 1981 and 1985 Topps Games that Won Them

I’ve been consistently adding to my hobby library for the past 18 months, so from time to time, I will search eBay with keywords like ‘Topps,’ ‘book,’ ‘catalog,’ and ‘guide.’ In doing so, I ran across a book called “The Home Run Book” with a Topps logo in the top left corner. Not knowing what … Read more

The Unique Distribution Model of 1981 Topps Basketball

Topps tried something new for its 198-card 1981 basketball set to create a buzz among collectors across different geographic regions. Instead of releasing 198 cards numbered 1 through 198 inserted randomly into packs, Topps included a 66-card national set and three unique subsets of 44-different cards distributed separately in the East, Midwest, and West. This … Read more

1981 and 1982 Topps Baseball Cello Sell Sheets

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 … Read more