Saturday, September 16, 2017

Pushed Out

Often when I post a blurry scan or two of something here, I get an e-mail sending along better quality pictures.  A fairly recent post showing an uncut 1968-69 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Push Outs partial sheet garnered the attention of longtime Friend o'the Archive Bobby Burrell (who is pretty much the top authority on hockey cards and collectibles-check out his Vintage Hockey Collector guide!).  Bobby has provided a much better shot of this 55 card partial sheet, one that's actually complete!



Bobby had this to say about the sheet:

"The 1968 push out inserts were the very first insert for OPC in their stand along name being OPC away from Topps.
They were inserted into the second of this two series issue.
The insert sheets are always found cut in half, it would appear that the Push Out were more manageable cutting down due
to a large sheet handling would make some of them pop. Almost all have a pin mark, to hold the die cut in the process of
being done, almost every card has this small nick or pin hole, which doesn’t go through."

I think Topps and O-Pee-Chee had issues generally with die cut sets as you see a lot of partials like this from the era.  Those pinholes are also endemic on their earlier paper wrappers-the Topps Gum penny tabs that formed the first products of the company from 1938 had them as well.

The wax wrapper is pretty nice:


Puck or harmonica? You decide!

The box is pretty slammin' as well:



Thanks to 48 double prints, the 2nd series of OPC Hockey for 1968-69 indeed had 84 subjects, a very scarce number not divisible by the usual 11.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

School Daze

My eBay search filters don't always work properly, a problem I am sure affects some of you out there as well.  So I periodically survey what I've missed  and while it makes a little sad and a little angry sometimes, it does yield some interesting results.

About three months ago an auction featuring the largest stash of Flipper's Magic Fish I have ever seen ended.  This 1966 Topps set could be their most obscure retail issue and once you see the pictures you will know why.

The basic checklist is ten heat-activated "fish" in length.  A thin plastic film allowed the fish to move in your hand. Why?  Well Topps was trying to pitch a regular card set of everyone's favorite dolphin in 1966, creating one of the rarest test issues of the era.  I don't know if they tried to salvage the idea with these little fishies or what but the "magic" version must have had a short shelf life. So my eyes popped a little when I saw 34 of these suckers sold on eBay for a healthy price:


The fish are quite colorful and it's easy to see there are variations:


The instructions say "Place Flipper fish on palm of hand and watch it flip" which neatly eliminates any copyright or licensing provision-the only copyright belongs to Topps on the packaging. However, it seems possible to me that Ivan Tors Films and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who were identified on the Flipper cards, may have thought differently.  These fish are pretty tough to find and the available supply could indicate the set was curtailed or pulled shortly after debuting.

You can see how the package is just a thin cardboard folder:



Things happen when the package is flipped too!



Given the array of colors above, it seems possible each subject had four different, for a total of forty fish varieties. I kinda like the turtle!

These were made in Japan and imported into the US, something Topps did with various non-confectionery related novelties in the mid to late 60's.  These look pretty nice, especially when grouped like they are above.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Love, Love, Love

One of my favorite Topps sets is known by a few names, although the most commonly accepted version is Love Initials:

 

The date of original issue is undoubtedly 1969 but what it was called initially (get it?) is anyone's guess. This may be the first stab by Topps, with no date shown on the box bottom as it was probably not a final proof:


The story is that Love Letters became Love Initials, in the packs at least, in 1969 and before allegedly being reissued as Mod Initials in 1972. Topps did that sometimes, marketing a set with a slightly differing box and wax wrapper a couple of years after its first appearance.  I assume the "letters" were thought by the brass to be confusing, hence the change to "initials" but who knows?

Here's a Love Initials wrapper:


1969 on that code.

A ten cent box exists with (I am advised) a commodity number of 0-489-87-01-9 so the 10 cent wrapper above matches the box below.



As for Mod Initials, they had a test pack at a minimum:



All the Love/Mod packaging indicates Topps as being in Duryea, so they date to no earlier than the latter part of 1969. What I'm thinking is Mod Initials was the test and Love Initials the retail product and the 1972 dating for the former is incorrect.  But I dunno.....