The checklist got bigger as Topps welcomed American Football League players into its set. It would be six more years before the New York-based card maker had the rights to make cards of players from both leagues. While the business end of football cards got a little complicated in the 1960s, the experience remained pretty much the same.
This week’s edition of Vintage Pack Facts takes us back to the fall of 1961 when Topps had a rival company to deal with.
- There was some fierce competition for nickels between Fleer and Topps as the 1961 pro football training camps got underway. Fleer produced a 220-card set that included team logos on the front of its cards while Topps settled for a generic-looking set of 198. Each company broke its set into two series.
- Topps produced both penny and nickel wax packs in 1961. The one-cent packs had a single card and stick of gum while the five-cent packs (24 per box) were geared more toward kids who were interested in the cards. Today, the one-cent wrappers are far more scarce.
- Topps also produced 10-cent cello packs and vending cases. Both are extremely scarce today. In 2017, a cello pack sold for $960 through Robert Edward Auctions.
- Each nickel and dime pack included a “cloth emblem” insert. Known today as “flocked” stickers, they included both NFL and AFL teams. The stickers were touted both on the box and the side panel of five-cent wrappers.
- A 1961 Topps football wax box was part of the famous find of unopened material consigned to Mile High Card Company in 2017. The pristine box, with the company’s advertising insert to dealers still sitting on top (a free pencil offer), sold for $118,496. No other ’61 Topps football boxes have come to public auction in recent years.
- No unopened ’61 Topps football vending boxes have come to market either. However, in 2018, Lelands sold two partial high number vending boxes with about 750 cards total, for $3,112.
- 1961 Topps football wrappers and empty display boxes are available on eBay.