The newly discovered 1948 Bowman unopened partial wax box has generated what might be the biggest buzz of the year so far. No boxes—no packs, even—were known to exist until Mile High Card Company received the partial box on consignment from someone in the south. The box that will be in their upcoming auction held 19 of the original 24 packs. The ’48 Bowman set was the first significant bubble gum card set produced after World War II and launched Bowman’s original line of gum cards that lasted through 1955.
The scarcity of the packs will likely push bidding well beyond the reach of average collectors.
New photos were made available of the fresh consignment on Tuesday, one showing an interior promotional card confirming there were five cards in each pack with three pieces of gum.
That gum is apparently a thick slab and Bowman was generous with it, figuring at the time, we can suppose, that it was as big of a drawing card for youngsters as the black and white cards of big league players including youngsters like Yogi Berra, Stan Musial and Phil Rizzuto.
Interestingly, I’ve had an old display box from Bowman here in the office for a long time that I assumed had a connection to the old Bowman packs–maybe those same 1948s. In fact, it appears that it did hold one nickel pack, maybe serving as one of the first baseball card promotional pushes of the post-War era. Unfortunately, the box isn’t dated to a specific year.
As you can tell by reading the note pasted on the front of the box, Bowman apparently used its 1-cent packs of Blony Bubble Gum to push the baseball card product by putting one unopened nickel pack of cards inside the box with the 120 pieces of loose gum. The idea, it seems, was for the retailer to open or display the pack, hoping baseball-loving kids might spring for one…or maybe the retailer would hand it over as a reward to a kid who chewed a lot of Blony.