If you went to a penny arcade (the nostalgic equivalent of a video game room) back in the late 1940s or 1950s, you probably saw a big machine with postcard-sized pictures of athletes, actors or entertainers. Stick a penny in the slot and you would get back a card. They could also be found at fairs, carnivals and a few other places during the era of black and white TV. The cards didn’t look much different than the sometimes grainy images that emanated from the screen either. From 1947-66 Exhibit Supply Company out of Chicago was glad to take the spare change burning a hole in kid’s pockets. Exhibit baseball cards included dozens of memorable names from the past.
Yet somewhere along the line, Exhibit also decided to sell packs of their cards. They were offered in ten-cent cello packs, each containing five cards.
Several single packs and lots have made it to auction over the last several years. Depending on the condition of the pack, they usually sell anywhere from $125-175 per pack.
The cards measure 3-1/4″ x 5-3/8″ and today are among the most reasonably priced vintage issues, in part because they’re not that fancy.
Over time, the cello has been known to split on these packs, which makes them very tempting to open.
In the second installment of our Vintage Pack Break of the Week, our friends at Just Collect are diving into one of those decades-old Exhibit packs and they invite you to eavesdrop: