Saturday, January 21, 2017

Fortune Favors The Old...

...Old Topps novelties that is!

I am trying to solve a mystery here today, namely one involving an issue of indeterminate dating called Magic Funny Fortunes.  MFF is one of those issues where you place a piece of red cellophane over an image to see a hidden picture underneath that is usually the answer to a pun. It looks like the classic penny tattoo tabs issued by Topps in the 50's and 60's but there is no transfer feature.  I'll show the interior first, which features Jack Davis artwork.

You will note the little production rip you would see along the top is missing.  As I've seen this same image a few times and actually have another as well, I assume it's a salesman's sample (as are many similar products sans rip).  The answer is "As Window Washer" in case you were wondering.

Now here is the exterior of the wrapper:

Here is the all important indicia

That looks Canadian to me, which is reinforced by the Made In USA info that appears above the ingredient list:

No copyright year, which is little surprise. I have two sources for the date, one says 1961 and the other 1968. However, if we look to another set from what may be roughly the same time frame if the earlier date is correct, 1960's Football Tattoo, we may get a clue:

It's the same indicia, which may help with dating, but the Football Tattoos feature only NFL teams and US Colleges so presumably it was issued in the US as well as, and quite mysteriously, Canada. See here for a more detailed discussion of that particular point. 

The earlier Baseball Tattoo issue of 1960 made a clear distinction between US (Brooklyn is detailed on the indicia) and Canadian issues (the latter clearly says "Made in Canada" on an OPC issue) but perhaps the laws in Canada changed mid year.

Looking at Topps Hockey and CFL Wrappers of the era, which are all Canadian only (in theory), the 1960 issues have "Made & Printed in USA" on the wrapper indicia followed by "In Canada Made & distributed by O-Pee-Chee Ltd" while the 1961 issues just say "Made & Distributed in Canada". So it looks like Topps had a kind of Jekyll/Hyde thing going on 

Anyhoo...Chris Benjamin described this issue without attributing a date or country of distribution in his 4th Sport Americana Non-Sports Guide and Tucker & Simon's NSA Wrapper Guide also shows the same wrapper that I have above.  Todd Riley's site has a listing for both US and Canadian issues but the wrapper shown for each listing is the same as the one above as well. Finally, Chris Watson's Non-Sports Bible also shows the same wrapper as everyone else but has Canadian and US listings for the set (attributed to 1960).

I am going to assume, unless some other evidence turns up, that the Magic Funny Fortunes are a 1961 issue that was distributed in both the US and Canada using the same packaging. If there's more information out there, please let me know.

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