Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Six Flags

I have written here a couple of times now on the incomplete checklist for the smallest of the Hocus Focus issues but there are at least two other early Topps sets where the checklists are not entirely confirmed. One of them I have written about extensively here, the 1949-ish Play Coins of the World, where the issue is not of identifying subjects but colors. That little enigma is about to get even thornier (stay tuned) but today I want to look at the 1949 Flags of All Nations/Soldiers of the World set and its six missing cards.

There should be 100 cards in this set, which resembles the other 1949 small Topps cards in size and execution, measuring 7/8" x 1 7/16". These two sided, unnumbered cards feature a flag and attendant pole, mostly of various countries but also featuring flags of the US Marine Corps, the Confederacy and the like printed on a very strange, textured silver surface. The flip side is color painting of a representative citizen of that country or organization.

Here's my only example, a pinholed Viking flag and, uh, Viking:



The small paintings looks like they were executed by the same artists or firm that did the X-Ray Round-Up paintings of the same year's vintage:



I used to think Topps had licensed the "human" artwork for both sets but the more I delve into their early history the more I think they were done by an ad agency. The 1949 Flags of All Nations cards came in penny packs of Parade Gum and possibly in a very limited test of a Fruit Flavored Topps gum tab:



Like the other harder to find small card issues such as Varsity and License Plates, those issued only in penny packs and not via the additional avenues of vending and mail-in offers are difficult to find today. The Parade wrapper would have been primarily yellow with accent colors but I have no idea what color the Fruit gum wrapper was (I would guess pinkish or yellow though) and the above example from the 2nd Edition of the Sport Americana Price Guide to the Non-Sports Cards, 1930-1960 by Chris Benjamin is the only one I have ever seen.

Now we know the set should have had 100 cards because a year later Topps issued a 100 card set of cards that were larger at 1 3/4" x 2 7/8", a somewhat transitional size for Topps after the abandoned the penny gum tab inserts but have a matched checklist with the 94 known 1949 cards. We'll get to the checklists in a minute but let's look at a 1950 card first:



The backs are not nearly as nice as the Soldiers from a year earlier but you can see why these cards are often referred to as Parade (and confusingly the 49's are called that too sometimes). The subsets break down as follows:

Africa - 7
The Americas - 31
Asia - 18
Europe - 41
Pacific - 3

The 1950 cards came in these packs, one cent and five cent varieties were sold, with two card panels (presumably three of them) within in the latter:



There would be three other significant Topps Flags issue over the next twenty or so years but those will be touched on at a later date. The 1950 Flags cards were also used as a tie in to the bagged dime packs of Play Coins if the World, shown here previously:



Here is the checklist for the 1950 set, with an asterisk showing the missing cards from 1949. There are rumors of short prints but I suspect it's just a matter of the smaller cards being harder to find and catalog generally. The numbers are from the 1950 issue but I have done the checklist up alphabetically to make it easier to deal with:

20 1ST AMERICAN FLAG
59 ABYSSINIA
61 ADMIRAL-GREAT BRITAIN
57 ADMIRAL-ITALY
60 ADMIRAL-JAPAN
87 ADMIRAL-NETHERLANDS
83 ADMIRAL-NORWAY
85 ADMIRAL-SPAIN
43 ADMIRAL-US *
10 AFGHANISTAN
82 ALAMO *
76 ALBANIA
8 ARGENTINA
62 ARMENIA
6 AUSTRALIA
79 AUSTRIA
4 BELGIUM
2 BOLIVIA
31 BRAZIL
94 BULGARIA
30 BURMA
28 BYELO RUSSIAN SSR
25 CANADA
24 CHILE
52 CHINA
50 COLOMBIA
78 COLUMBUS' FLAG
23 COMMODORE PERRY'S FLAG
26 CONFEDERATE STATES
47 CONFEDERATE STATES 1861
49 COSTA RICA
46 CUBA
44 CZECHOSLOVAKIA
72 DENMARK
70 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
68 ECUADOR
67 EGYPT
65 EL SALVADOR
9 ESTONIA
93 ETHIOPIA
100 FINLAND
91 FRANCE
64 GENERAL STAFF-FRANCE
1 GERMANY
5 GOLD COAST *
90 GREECE
86 GUATEMALA
84 HAITI
19 HONDURAS
55 HUNGARY
16 ICELAND
15 INDIA
13 IRAN
11 IRAQ
96 IRISH FREE STATE
98 ISRAEL
80 ITALY
99 JAPAN
58 LATVIA
37 LEBANON
35 LIBERIA
34 LUXEMBOURG
32 MEXICO
7 MOROCCO
29 NETHERLANDS
56 NEW ZEALAND
54 NICARAGUA *
53 NORWAY
51 PAKISTAN
48 PANAMA
77 PARAGUAY
75 PERU *
71 POLAND
63 PORTUGAL
27 PRE-REVOLUTIONARY JACK
41 RED CROSS
45 ROYAL AIR FORCE
73 RUMANIA
69 SAUDI ARABIA
97 SIAM
33 SPAIN
95 SWEDEN
36 SWITZERLAND
92 SYRIA
74 THE PHILIPPINES
81 TIBET
3 TRANS JORDAN
89 TURKEY
88 UKRANIAN SSR
21 UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
17 UNITED KINGDOM
14 UNITED STATES
12 URUGUAY
38 US MARINE CORPS
18 USSR (RUSSIA)
66 USSR AIR FORCE
42 VENEZUELA
22 VIKING FLAG
40 YEMEN *
39 YUGOSLAVIA

The six countries yet to be found from 1949, in case you are asterisk-challenged, are: Admiral's Flag from the US, The Alamo and flags from Gold Coast, Nicaragua, Peru and Yemen. I'll bet they exist and will post scans if and when I find 'em.

1 comment:

Sports-Trader said...

Should any of these items wind up on my site, I will contact you immediately. To me, one of the really cool things about our hobby is how the cards themselves made an effort to educate the youth with non-sports oriented cards. I think its great that you do what you do to keep that alive, keep up the good work!