BFF o'the Archive Jeff Shepherd recently sent along what are the oldest Topps trade ads I have seen. What's below hails from March 1940, a mere 15 months or so after the company was founded. We get a nice look at one of the bakelite Topps Gum counter displays in this piece of puffery:
That gum display is quite interesting to me as it shows the Ginger flavor and also helps date that particular tab. Shep and I think it was replaced or overtaken by Pepsin soon after launch and you can find that flavor plus the Spearmint, Peppermint and Cinnamon varieties in tab form somewhat easily, same with their wrappers.
I've never seen the display rack variant on the left before; these are made of bakelite:
As an aside, I own a tab of the Ginger that Shep thinks may be the only one in existence:
60 Broadway, which is the Gretsch Building, was the first Topps production floor. They didn't vacate the premises completely until 1965 despite moving their offices twice in Brooklyn before decamping to Duryea, Pennsylvania in 1966. They used it as warehouse space once they took more space just down Broadway a short time later.
The economics of the time are quaint but those little extras, like five extra pieces of gum per vender, were a big part of the Topps sales strategy.
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