After eight years with Topps at the forefront of NFL trading cards, the 1964 season brought a big change. Philadelphia Gum, founded by a former Bowman Gum executive 16 years earlier, snared the exclusive rights to make football cards for the next four seasons.
Their first effort came in the fall of 1964 and it’s the focus of this week’s Vintage Pack Facts.
- Philadelphia Gum had made Swell bubble gum and El Bubble bubble gum cigars for years so the company wasn’t unfamiliar to candy wholesalers or those who spent time around the candy section of the local drug store.
- A 198-card set was created–one that included a selection of top players from each team, two checklists, a team card for each club and others that illustrated one of each team’s favorite plays.
- The company’s traditional wax packs weren’t much different than Topps. Philly produced one card packs that sold for a penny (1-cent display boxes are very scarce today) and five-card nickel packs that were sold in 24-count boxes. Both 1-cent and 5-cent wrappers can usually be found on eBay.
- A few years ago, two full wax boxes were uncovered and consigned to Robert Edward Auctions. Each had been wrapped in cellophane, presumably at the time of issue. One box contained 24 sealed packs and sold for $16,800 in 2016. The second box, complete but with four packs having sealed that had come open in the half century that had passed, went for $8,400.
- Wrappers contained various toy-oriented ads including one for a set of bike decals.
- Philadelphia Gum also produced cello packs that contained no gum, just 11 cards and a “tattoo transfer” strip. The cello packs had a blue-colored wrapper that Philly would use throughout its four-year tenure as a trading card maker. The card on the bottom of the pack was typically face up.
- More Pack Facts after the gallery…
- Unopened cello packs are rare, but some do exist in the hobby. Near mint packs typically sell for around $1,000 with a PSA 9 bringing $1,950 in 2018. Pack prices have increased about 500% over the last ten years.
- Rack packs typically sold for 29 cents and surviving examples are also tough to locate. They contained three separate cello-wrapped packs and vintage pack breakers who have offered ’64 Philly racks often sell spots in the individual packs as “cello packs,” but they are actually one-third of a rack pack.
- Philadelphia Gum also produced a product that contained 100 cards and a toy football. These were typically sold in dime stores or toy stores.
You can participate in a pack, box, or set break anytime at VintageBreaks.com which offers a variety of options across all years and sports.