In 1965, a unique baseball collectible made it into packages of Old London snacks. Today, the blue-rimmed 1965 Old London coins are still a hit with vintage collectors in search of something different than cards.
1965 Old London Coins Overview
The 1965 Old London Coins featured a total of 40 baseball players. Most teams in the set are represented by two players, but a couple of exceptions exist as well. The coins feature a variety of poses. Some players featured in the issue have only a close-up of a head shot. Others feature the upper half of their body in an action pose, either throwing or batting.
The coins measure 1 1/2″ in diameter. Against a dark blue background is the player’s image and the coin’s outer edge is blue. While this has a striking visual appeal, the blue color also makes flaws easy to spot when some of the paint has been chipped away. Backs include the player’s name, position, team, league, and a very short biography. Also on the back is the Old London logo printed in black ink.
Collectors today have Old London in part to thank for many high-grade examples still being found today. The company sealed the coins in plastic before they went into their food products. That helped keep them clean and in good condition when found by collectors. Today, you can still find examples of these still in the wrapping.
Despite having a relatively checklist of 40 players, the set’s producer did a solid job in identifying the top stars of the day. Mickey Mantle leads a pretty talented cast here, including other headliners such as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Roger Maris.
Other noteworthy inclusions in the set are Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski, and others. In fact, more than 1/3 of the set features players enshrined in Cooperstown.
For those collectors already assembling the set and in need of an additional challenge, paper proofs for this issue are known. These feature the artwork for the player’s coin but are square in nature with blue backs. The proofs featured the same image later used in the production of the actual coins. It isn’t known how many of these proofs exist but they are, as you would imagine, much more scarce than the coins.
The 1965 Old London Coins are reasonably priced for an issue more than 50 years old with so many Hall of Famers. Even high-grade commons in the set can often be bought for $20 or less. Big names are a little more but even the most expensive coin, the Mantle, can be found in decent ungraded shape for under $100 with a little work.
While the coins, overall, are pretty inexpensive, collectors will also pay a nice premium for sets still in the plastic wrapping. REA sold a complete set last year for just over $2,000.
As for those proofs, they can fluctuate quite a bit in value since there are fewer of them around. That, as you would image, leads to sales that are a little more volatile. But even those aren’t outlandish. A Mays, for example, has sold for under $200 at auction.
You can see 1965 Old London coins on eBay by clicking here.