Saturday, February 18, 2017

Canadian Football Logic

Things are a bit wonky around here right now, so I thought I'd go with something light today, namely a look at some Topps CFL boxes and wrappers, just because they are cool and unusual.  Plus, they can teach us a little about Canadian manufacturing and distribution information.

I turned to one of main men for OPC and Canadian information, Bobby Burrell (a Friend o'the Archive if there ever was one) as 1960 Football Tattoo indicia, not to mention that of Magic Funny Fortunes of the same era (likely 1961), was showing both US and Canadian information. Meanwhile the 1960 Baseball Tattoo packs have separate US and Canadian versions, the latter of which says "Made in Canada - Printed in Canada".  So clearly something changed in 1960 between baseball and football season but as we will see below, there were two football seasons!

Take a look at this array of Topps CFL boxes:


From top left to bottom right these are: 1961, 1962, 1959.  Topps would often repeat graphic elements over a few years for sports issues in Canada, whether it be wrappers, boxes or features lifted from other card sets.

When you turn the boxes over, you get to the deets:


1962 is on top, 1961 on the bottom left and 1959 on the right.  As you can see, the 1959 box is blank on the bottom, while 1961 and 1962 have added both a Printed in Canada line and a full set of manufacturing indicia, showing O-Pee-Chee's licensing deal with Topps. I'm not sure if the 1960 box is like the one from 1959 but I would really like to see it.  These are not easy to find by the way.

There's a lot more to this story as US Football sets were also sold up North; their CFL season precedes that of the NFL so Topps had two seasons to sell product. More on all of this some other time, I really just wanted to show these boxes today and that is going to take more effort than I can expend right now.

I've been impressed in composing Canadian-centric posts over they years, with how much effort Topps put into their marketing north of the lower 48.  They pretty much got right into Canada after World War 2 ended and likely had a presence before the war as well (I can't find much on their pre-war Canadian operations). Canada had roughly ten to twelve percent of the population of the US in the post war era but Topps continually stuck with a trading card strategy centered around their Hockey issues and a host of non-sports sets before they really let loose with O-Pee-Chee in 1965 on Baseball. They had established a beachhead for Topps Gum and later Bazooka on the confectionery side even prior to this. My take is that as a percentage of population Canadians bought more cards than kids in the US.

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