Saturday, November 14, 2015

Purchase History

I stumbled across a very interesting scan while tooling around the ol' WWW recently, namely a Topps Purchase Order from 1975 issued to Zabel Brothers that I found over at There is a lot of good information on this single document:

Quite clearly these are for the Rotsa Root checklist/puzzle cards that came with series 14 Wacky Packages. The commodity number (a.k.a. Production Code) matches that for these puzzle cards and shows just how important that was in the production and tracking of the different components of each issue from Topps. You get to see the rough number of cards that would be produced on the standard 264 card full sheets (15 Million), the number of full sheets required to meet this goal (57,000) and the specifications for the inks and varnish.  There would some orphaned pieces as each puzzle took nine cards to complete.

The films (artwork) were provided by Topps and, surprisingly to me at least, the stock came from them as well. FOB Shipping point means that the sale was consummated when the sheets left the Zabel Brothers shipping dock. Topps would assume the risk while in transit should any damage occur during the short trip from Philly to Duryea. Topps was still processing all of their finances in Brooklyn though. And there was a three week turnaround!

So of course I had to dig further and lo and behold, this Purchase Order, for the Wonder Bread Wacky Package insert stickers popped up from the great Lost Wackys site:

It's a slightly earlier order and the form is a little different. No commodity number was used because the order was destined for a Continental Baking packaging facility.  The layout is way different to boot, a "160 up" sticker sheet was used.  This array was 16 x 10, which we know thanks (again) to Lost Wackys. That site also states this was a unique sheet size and that the sticker stock was already on hand.  The stickers were cut into panels of two so the usual Topps 11 x 12 Topps array would have been problematic.  The packaging instructions were also very specific.

This order was to be completed in six weeks. Perhaps the annual Baseball card production would slow things down at this juncture, who knows? I also get 760,000 (160 x 9,500 / 2) as the panel count so I'm not sure why there is a discrepancy.  And at $1.76 a throw (per thousand) for cutting and packing (normally done by Topps) Zabel Brothers charged $1,100. I only wish the actual pricing for the sticker printing was shown.

These are just pieces of a larger puzzle.  There could be additional orders as sales were tabulated, for one, but the Rotsa Root card order gives a rough idea as to how many cards or stickers a typical Topps run would comprise.

1 comment:

Scott Berger said...

Thanks for a fond look back

My father was a salesman at Zabel Brothers
I was looking at that to see if I could see his name on it!

One of the fun things about it was him bringing home sheets of stuff like that to the 15 year old that I was then

Of course I had to cut them apart by hand, but I loved it!