They couldn’t sell them with gum. They apparently couldn’t call them baseball cards and apparently landing a lot of the biggest names in baseball at the time wasn’t easy. Still, Leaf pushed onward. Their 1960 product came to market as a five-cent package of “Original Authentic Baseball Photos.” So, yes, other than the fact that they were the same size as Topps cards, included many of the same players, came in a waxy-type wrapper and sold for a nickel…they weren’t baseball cards.
That, it seems, is how Leaf tried to get around Topps’ stranglehold on the spare change of baseball-loving youngsters 59 years ago. It worked…sort of. Two series were produced but after 144 cards, the fun was over. While you can usually find some ’60 Leafs at any good-sized baseball card show, one thing you may not have seen is a pack being opened. We’ll show you one later.
For now, here are some facts about the 1960 Leaf set and its packages.
- Leaf’s first series consisted of 72 cards and the cards are much easier to find than those from Series 2 (#73-144).
- There’s no Aaron. No Mays. No Mantle. No Clemente. No Koufax. No Musial. No Killebrew. No Banks. There are a few stars in the set. Leaf and its partner, Sports Novelties, managed to secure images of Duke Snider, Brooks Robinson, Luis Aparicio, Jim Bunning, Sparky Anderson and a few other notable names. There are also a few variations.
- Ungraded single cards and average grade sets can often be had for a fairly small investment.
- The #1 card in the set, Aparicio is rare in high-grade with a PSA 9 selling for $2,400 in 2018.
- The cards are black and white but the images are of relatively high quality.
- Packs contained five cards for a nickel with 24 packs per box.
- Text on the boxes shows they are clearly marketed as “photos” rather than cards. Topps held and protected its rights as the lone maker of current baseball player cards sold with gum so Leaf improvised, selling its “photos” with a small package of two marbles.
- While unopened boxes of 1960 Leaf have rarely surfaced, there was a find of Series 2 at one point. Empty boxes and wrappers have also been available in the marketplace for a while.
- The Series 2 boxes contain a note stuck to the top of each box indicating to youngsters that this was indeed a fresh series.
- An unopened box of Series 2 sold for $7,720 through Mile High Card Company in 2017.
- Empty display boxes typically sell for around $200.
- If you’ve never seen a 1960 Leaf baseball pack opened before…look below. Vintage Breaks offered spots in a single pack Series 2 break for $185.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.