Topps tried to keep kids engaged with their brand as often as possible and in the spring and summer of 1959, it came by way of an enticing offer on the side panel of the company’s baseball wrappers.
Just about every youngster whose parents weren’t all that strict when it came to decor had a hard time resisting the pitch. Grab a few pieces of the company’s 1-cent Bazooka or Blony bubble gum with your pack of cards and you could score a 15-inch long team pennant of your choice simply by sending in five Bazooka wrappers and a self-addressed, stamped envelope?
The complete set included all 16 major league teams, so you’d have to chew a lot of gum and read a lot of corny Bazooka Joe comics to get the whole set, but there’s no doubt some kids spent the warmer months doing just that.
Topps wasn’t shy about promoting the offer. Store managers were sent or given a three-card sample showing off the ’59 Topps design on the front and a detailed message about the pennant offer on the back. The idea was to convince stores that kids would want a bunch of pennants for their room and so they’d need to stock up not only on baseball cards but bubble gum, too.
The Topps display boxes contained a message about the offer and there was a small paper insert inside wax packs, too, just to make sure kids didn’t forget.
Topps made sure to slap a “copyright” message along the pennant’s five-inch tall spine along with the Bazooka logo.
The pennants are screen-printed and like others, they’re prone to missing ties, pin holes, creases, tips that are missing or cut and other assorted issues. Topps/Bazooka apparently sent the pennant back to the customer in that SASE, making it virtually impossible for them not to have some condition issues right out of the gate.
The pennants aren’t common, but are far from scarce these days. Values range from $15-$40 or so, depending on condition. None are rare but popular teams like the Yankees sometimes cost more. You can sometimes find them online, but hopefully your seller won’t ask you for an SASE to send it to you.