Saturday, May 16, 2015


Depending upon how often and in what decade you frequented grocery stores, the notion of Topps Wax Trays might strike a chord.  Originally introduced in 1952 to allow the selling of multiple packs as one unit  in the grocery stores and supermarkets of America, these would be used for decades by Topps. Technically, these were mere overwraps in the beginning as they featured wax packs overwrapped with clear cellophane but around 1957 (I think) the move to standard sizing seems to coincide with the flimsy cardboard tray being used underneath the packs.  Generally three or six wax packs would be in these and three would be dominant by the mid 1960's.

Here is an example from 1972:


I'm not really cataloging what was packaged this way but am trying to cipher what was shown on the underside of these.  Here is an example from 1974:

There are three elements obviously:  a numbered set of Sports Safety Tips, the Bazooka Joe and 1940's style girl pushing a premium and the curiously un-numbered Make-It-Yourself Games. It seems likely this came from a sports related wax tray but it's not a certainly as this 1979 Superman: The Movie tray hawks a Sports Card Locker:

Another intriguing tray back set of the era, but is it from Topps: 

I'm not sure what kind of tray these are from though; they don't seem cut down and the rounded corners look consistent.Those are being offered by Columbia City Collectibles by the way as Topps product, likely based upon the first five digits of the bar code.

1980 Baseball was the last product issued with a cardboard tray.  Topps switched to a floppy cello in mid 1980 and then by the time 1981 Baseball came out the wax packs had been replaced by clear cello's, usually with 12 cards (and gum).

There must be a lot more tray back cards out there; I plan to keep looking and if anyone out there has some scans, send 'em in!


Tony L. said...

Those are really cool. I love the history of the hobby.

CaptKirk42 said...

IN the 70s I used to see and get cards from grocery stores. I think I usually would get rack packs though. These "six packs" I don't recall ever actually getting, but I think I would see them.

Anonymous said...

I cant recall ever seeing one in a grocery store as a kid, but have picked up all the years from 1975-1980 on Ebay.

Commishbob said...

Our local Albertsons (RIP) sold Pro Set football packs in these sorts of trays in the early 90s. I don't recall if they were packaged that way from the factory of if it was something Albertsons did on their own. I recall them being very generic which is why I think they were done by the grocery chain as a way of selling three packs at a time.