How Topps Bested Bowman in Bubble Gum Battle

On Wednesday, Topps released information about its 2013 Bowman Baseball product.  There was a time, though, when Bowman was its own brand–a post-War pioneer in the business of bubble gum and trading cards.  In the early 1950s, just three years after their debut, Bowman was being pressured by a new kid on the block.

Topps dipped a toe in the water in 1951–and their red and blue-backed game cards weren’t exactly flying off the shelves.  Still, company leaders were young, aggressive and ready to take advantage of a nation that was soon to be booming with post-War babies.  They took Bowman on and as vintage card collectors know, beat them at their own game.

So what happened?  Dean Hanley of Dean’s Cards recently completed a book on the bubble gum wars of the 1950s, speaking with retired Topps executive Sy Berger and offering his own reflections on what baseball cards meant to kids back in the day.

Click here for an excerpt from the book, The Gum Card War and the Great Bowman & Topps Baseball Card Sets of 1948-1955”.

You can learn more about the book and buy it here.


  1. […] double printed cards to make up for the four unissued numbers.  Even though Topps lost the battle, they won the war and bought out their rival in December, 1955.  This set would be the last time the two went head-to-head over players–and […]