Saturday, June 8, 2024

Blankety Blanks

I had long thought the saga of the 1971 Topps Winners Cards (OK, technically they hail from 1972 but no one refers to them that way) was concluded here but as it turns out I was, wrong about that.  Oh, the set's subject count remains complete at 19 and we know all about the original distribution and populations of these cards but the one thing that has eluded study has been the entry blank.

The special retail box that promoted the contest was only released in select areas for a limited time.  It's not clear why Topps elected to limit this promotion but the geographical array of contest winners certainly indicates only a select few locales had any chance of entering the contest.  To refresh your collective memories, this was the box in question:

It was plain to see that you had to ask the "storekeeper" for an entry blank and it's assumed they resided inside the box when first delivered, with instructions.  (UPDATE 6/10/24: They were stuck to the box top-see below for further details.) Thanks to a recently online auction, we can finally show said blank:

Sorry for the kludgy "watermark" but so it goes....

So you had to either send in your entry with five Baseball wrappers or just print the word "Topps" on an index card. Interestingly, there was both an upper (15) and lower (6) age limit for entrants:

No clue on what the poster would be and that 350 commodity code doesn't seem to marry up with the wax box or wrapper codes.  The "regular" codes I've found are:

1-401-37-01-1 (wax box advertising "Extra! Real Metal Coins"))
1-402-37-01-1 (wax box advertising "Collect All The Top Stars)
0-402-09-01-1 (wax wrapper with "Collect All The Top Stars" slug)
0-402-90-01-1 (wax wrapper with "Extra Insert in Each Pack" slug
1-368-15-01-1 (small blue box that held a cello pack of 30 cards)

The wax retail box hawking the contest had this code:

Topps tracked expenses for each issue using the codes so 347 clearly is a misfit in the 401/402 wax box/wrapper sequence.  I suspect the 350 code was assigned to track expenses for the firm that tabulated the results but the initiating 4 is curious. I hope to investigate all this further at some point and welcome any comments about the 347 and 350 codes.

Update 6/10/24: Lonnie Cummins advises the forms were in a pad that was stuck to the display box.  He further notes: "The reason the forms pad might have had a beginning ‘4’ is because that was normally the commodity for a sticker uncut sheet and if there was a sticker on the back of the form pad, then, there you go" Makes sense to me, thanks Lonnie!  He sent a nice scan as well to illustrate:

If I had enough brain cells left, I would have recalled the Baseball Card Exchange wrapped boxes from last year's National!  Nice price if you can get it! Lonnie also found the name of the firm that coordinated the contest: D.L. Blair, which was founded in 1959 and closed in 2016. They may have carried on as an advertising consultant based out of Long Island. So Blair of Blair!


John Bateman said...

Blair, Nebraska - in 1970 the population was 6,000. What the heck was Topps doing running a contest out of Blair, Nebraska

toppcat said...

My original comment was deleted as we now know the who and the why-as noted in the appended post.