Saturday, April 30, 2016

Letters Perfect

A couple of items from the real Topps Archives today kids!

First out of the gate is a letter quite a few small fry would have received from Topps if they had written in to try and get a few baseball cards to complete their sets:

Sy Berger and his secretary are shown as the Reference Initials but Sy did not sign these letters, they just went out like this, maybe sometimes with an inside address and date. These were printed up in advance, my copy does not have typewriter key impressions, although the Topps Chewing Gum logo and contact information is embossed. Dating is tough but pre-1963 I would say, given the lack of a ZIP code and it seems likely it's from the early 60's.

Dating is not an issue for this next item, which is an internal memo that details a panoply of Topps bigwigs and their secretaries:

The bast part of this memo is that Woody Gelman annotated it (his handwriting is quite distinctive) so it could be filed away in an internal reference book. I don't have the attachments unfortunately but can guess that nos. 906 and 907 are rak and cello configurations, while item 988 is probably related to wax. Of course, I could be completely wrong!

Topps had clear delineations between their direct retail accounts and their jobbers (wholesalers) and in fact different unions handled shipments for each of these.  In addition there were tobacco and confectionery jobbers that were also solicited differently.

For you young 'uns, an addressograph was a way to address mailings using a machine of the same name.  It was quite the cumbersome process and you can read more about it here if you like.

The memo itself was a ditto, likely made on a spirit duplicator.  Those of us over a certain age can conjure up the smell of these immediately upon seeing one. It was pure methyl alcohol, by the way, that let off that smell so all you third graders back in the day were getting high every time you sniffed quiz papers!

All of this was a labor intensive process and when you start connecting the dots, you realize just how much product Topps had to move to make a profit.

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