No, we're not here to talk Sinatra, although your webmaster is a huge fan of Ol' Blue Eyes 50's and 60's sides. Tonight it's rings, baby and not those fancy metal ones; tonight we're talking cardboard!
The Topps ring saga begins in 1966 and the bizarre decision to include a set of punchout ring inserts in the football wax packs that year. Check out this wrapper scan from the fabulous-and-then-some Football Card Gallery:
I guess if you're going to pollute a classic football set with a totally unrelated insert, it makes sense to include a checklist for said insert in the football set itself:
The Funny Ring insert is presented on thick, blank backed cardboard:
And good luck if you want to complete the set! Plus the checklist is a killer if you want to complete the football set. None of those Funny Rings pieces are mine by the way, I'll get a hold of an example someday.
Never a company to let a design go to waste, a set of Insignia rings was included as an insert in Rat Patrol packs the same year, as this cribbed from Ebay scan shows:
The rings get a metallic makeover, which does not scan well and we lose two in the count:
Now this would seem like the end of the tale of the rings but in fact it is not as seven years later, O-Pee-Chee's second series of NHL cards included Team Crest rings (the first series had Team Crest stickers) as this partial box scan from Bobby Burrell's indispensable Vintage Hockey Collector's Guide shows:
Does this ring look familiar?
I'm not sure what possessed OPC (Topps really) to reuse such an old pattern but it doesn't matter. These inserts all ring a bell with me! Ouch, sorry for that pun.....