A check of auction prices can tell a sometimes discouraging tale about the rising cost of collecting vintage football card sets. Collectors who want something a little different–and a lot more affordable–might consider the 1964 Wheaties football stamps issue.
Just a couple of months after its baseball stamp promotion, the company launched a virtually identical concept for its NFL stamps and album. The idea was pretty simple. General Mills didn’t bother putting sheets or individual stamps inside the cereal boxes. It offered the entire set–with an album to hold them–as an all-in-one offer on its packaging.
The entire set came on six perforated sheets that were attachedinside the album. Young collectors had the option to either leave the album as is, or tear the stamps out and attach them individually to their designated spot.
The 48-page album measured about 8×11″ and offered not just a place to put the 2 1/2 x 2 3/4″ stamps that came attached inside. There was a little bio of each of the 70 players in the set next to place where the stamps (some refer to them as stickers). Hence, the title of the album, “Pro Bowl Football Player Stamp Album and Fact Book.”
There were also stamps of Norm Snead and Jack Pardee inside the front cover. Curiously, though, there was no place in the album to put the stamps of Y.A. Tittle or Joe Schmidt.
The checklist includes many of the major stars of the day including Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, a young Mike Ditka, Jim Taylor, Tittle and Raymond Berry. There’s no Paul Hornung, who had been suspended in 1963. The set consists of NFL players only so you won’t find Len Dawson, George Blanda or Lance Alworth.
The best way to collect the set is to simply purchase the album, as is, with the stamp sheets still attached to the inside. They can be found for $150-$300, depending on the seller and the condition. That’s a fraction of the price for a complete 1964 Philadelphia Gum card set in top condition.
However, some collectors have opted to collect the individual stamps. They are gradeable and single, graded stamps of Hall of Famers can be a little pricey, especially in higher grades.
You can see stamp sets and singles on eBay by clicking here.