Monday, August 2, 2010

Pennant Feverish-Part 2

If I may put the cart before the horse, it is time to look at the antecedents of the 1959 Baseball Pennant premiums. Believe it or not, the first year Topps offered a pennant premium was in 1949 and it was college football teams, not professional baseball squads:

Those inserts would come with the early Bazooka penny pieces before comics really caught on. I do not have any scans of these yet but suspect some will show up someday. By the way, all of the Bazooka comic scans today are from Jeff Shepherd's bag of tricks, as are the date identifications ff same. I suspect some form of the football pennant inserts existed for years afterward.

In 1952 Topps made a baseball pennant premium part of the wrapper design for both the first 310 cards:

And the High Numbers:

Betcha did't know they had their own wrapper, eh? Well, I didn't either until I stumbled upon that scan. As a side note to a side note, it is believed by yours truly that the '52 high numbers were only issued in nickel packs. I'll get to the top premium offer in a minute but the bottom one shows the baseball pennants offer:

The pennants seem to follow the design of the earlier College Football version, with just lettering and no logos. That Chicago and New York teaming would live on for many more years, as we shall see.

We are ranging a bit far afield here but the logos however, were also available via the premium offer at the top of the wrapper for five inch felt emblems and predate by four years the accepted 1956 issue date covered here. Not sure if they match the 1956's identically but check it out:

1953 came and there were no pennant premiums (or emblems) offered on the baseball wrappers, so it was back to the bubble gum set:

Buzzy was about the last character to appear on the comics before Bazooka Joe & His Gang became ubiquitous. The pennants are still nondescript, from the looks of things but Chicago and New York continue to be displayed (the Giants and not the Yankees this time out).

However, in 1954 the stars aligned and we not only get a nascent Bazooka Joe but also a merger between the emblems and pennants of yore:

I have not tracked the emblems as closely as the pennants and am not sure if they were still offered as premiums or if they were not reintroduced until 1956. Anyway.....

1957 brought a redesigned comic (matching somewhat the scroll work on the retailer certificates of the time) but the same old Chicago/NY axis:

1959 was a three-fer as Bazooka had the pennants on the comics:

And Topps had 'em on the baseball wrappers:

And in the packs:

Tying back to Part 1, in 1968 they were also advertised as a premium on the comics:

Yes, same old New York and Chicago tandem! It was still going strong in 1971:

But by 1979 things were moribund in New York:

Pennant premium offers on the comics extend to at least 1983 and may still be offered today for all I know. Along with the felt emblems and a few other items, it is safe to say there is a gap in the information on these premiums. This is partly due to their confusing and longstanding issuance and partly due to Bazooka being considered as lesser when compared to the Topps brand, even though they are all one and the same!

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