Bowman had left the building for good and the NFL’s bubble gum card baton was passed to the aggressive young kid on the block 63 years ago. Topps stepped somewhat lightly into the game with a 120-card set but it marked the launch of a 50-year partnership with the league.
- Topps had actually produced football cards in 1955, but without the NFL license, they focused on past college greats. The attractive set was the set up for ’56–the company’s last oversized regular issue sports card set until 1965.
- Topps produced both 1-cent single card packs and five-card nickel packs. There were 120 cards in the penny boxes which matched the size of the set but with the Chicago Cardinals and Washington Redskins cards short-printed, even a full box wouldn’t likely yield a full set. In 2007, a full box of 5-cent packs was auctioned by Memory Lane for $12,500. It would likely sell for significantly more today. A single pack appears to have sold for nearly $1,600 on eBay last month. Others have recently sold in the $750-$1,000 range.
- Topps also produced ten-cent cello packs, a fact preserved thanks to the late Ron Menchine, a collector who apparently bought one around that time and stuck it away. It was sold by Robert Edward Auctions for $29,375 in 2011. Again, the hot market for rare, vintage boxes would likely push the price much higher. The box contained 36 packs of 14 cards, certainly a better deal for kids who could scrape up a dime. The box sold through REA is likely the only one to have survived to this day, assuming it’s still intact.
- Topps also produced vending boxes. A few were uncovered in the early 1990s but the cards were removed and sold, according to this excellent 1956 Topps football guide. Many of the hobby’s high=grade 1956 Topps football cards may stem from that Indiana find.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.