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Many thanks to the kings of obscure nonsport pack trivia:
Lonnie Cummins, Paul Hotchkin, Marty Krim,
Don Onodi, Marc Simon and Matt Thompson
for all their help and suggestions!
Please send suggestions or corrections to email@example.com
Thanks to Lonnie Cummins for some of the images below. If you have any other questions, just post them in the forum and we'll try to answer!
What the heck is Indicia?
That's a term for the paragraph of ingredients, copyright, and manufacturer on each wrapper - usually on an edge.
What's the difference between a penny fold and a nickel fold?
Topps had two kinds of machines to fold and seal their packs. The "penny fold" was primarily used for thin packs, like the cheaper one cent or the sticker packs.
The Nickel fold was generally used for thicker packs. Some people refer to these as 85 fold (Penny) and 21 fold (Nickel) based on the wrapper codes that Topps used. Due to the way they were folded, the penny fold had to be sealed in two places but the nickel fold was only sealed in one place.
Occasionally, when Topps had a big seller and needed to ramp up production they would use both machines (ie Batman, Partridge Family, Beatles, Wacky Packages etc). Each machine needed different wrapper arrangements because the penny machine used wrappers arranged top to bottom on a reel and the nickel machine used wrappers arranged side to side on the reel. You can tell by the edge "black bar" which signaled the machine where to cut between the wrappers. The shape of the indicia paragraph usually goes in the opposite direction from the shape of the "black bar".
What is a white wrapper test pack?
Topps would "test" demand on some issues by making up boxes of packs wrapped with white wrappers with a sticker stuck on the front of each pack and sealed with another sticker in the back. These were placed in selected stores to see how they sold before committing to a full production run. Not many were made and they are very collectable and have very high prices! Some test packs had fully printed wrappers. Topps test packs between 1973 and 1980 had serial numbers beginning with the letter "T".
How come the checklist arrangement isn't completely alphabetical?
We decided to group certain series of issues together (Backslapper Stickers, Bobby Sherman, Dark Shadows, Monkees, Odd Rods, and Spook Theatre). The groupings are marked with a dark line to the left of the titles. For example, if you can't find Fantastic Odd Rods, look under Odd Rods.
What do the terms "penny tab" and "gum tab" mean?
These refer to those very small wrapped gum issues.
“Penny Tab” is used for those early, very thin, flat chewing gums and later tattoo issues.
"Gum tab" is used for those ‘fatter’ gum type issues with comics or cards.
What does TCG mean?
Starting in 1950, Topps began issuing cards in 10 cent gumless red cellophane packs with the logo "TCG" standing officially for "Trading Card Guild" (and not coincidentally "Topps Chewing Gum" also)! The packaging looked like this:
How did you decide what belonged on the checklist?
We were initially shooting for packs of cards that came with a slab of gum but realized quickly that some cards didn't have gum included. If we were going to include those, then why not include tattoo packs (gum or no gum). And we just like buttons and airplanes, so they're in there too! And we threw in Topps Fabulous Rock Records too, because, who would think that Topps distributed an actual playable phonograph record? By the way, that fact would make for a really good trivia question!
Where are the Wacky Package listings?
There is a beautiful listing of the various wrappers in the different series of Wacky Packages already done on a different website. Go to the "Articles and Tips" section for the link!
That entire Wacky Pack website is full of great information and you should check out the whole thing! It's well worth your time.
Are you going to cover US packs from the 1950s and from other countries (ie UK, Australia, Canada etc)?
I found a mistake! I have an idea! Who do I tell?
Just post on the forum section of the website. We'd love to hear about it!
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