Tag Archives: Topps Trading Cards

Classic Monster Trading Cards: Topps Monster Initials

1970s Nostalgia in a Wax Wrapper!

Topps Monster Initial Bubblegum Stickers

Released by the Topps Company from 1973 to 1974, these stickers captured the imagination of kids and wound up stuck on just about everything.  It’s a simple idea; design stickers for each letter of the alphabet, so kids can spell their name.  But rather than just do alphabet stickers, design cool monster graphics in each letter so kids want them all. Capitalize on the monster craze, without the pesky licensing fees of Universal et al, and create a sensation.  It sure worked for this Monster Kid!

Topps-Monster-INitials-Stcikers-Wrapped Topps Monster Initials  1973-74, Topps

The artwork on each sticker is great stuff, as you’ll see in great detail below. Packs also contained one puzzle piece that could be put to gether to make a scene of monsters looking through the set of cards. The puzzle is awesome but for some reason the artwork is different than on the stickers and resembles legendary artist Jack Davis’ style.

Wax Wrapper

Wrapper serial # 0-449-21-01-3 featured 3 different ads on the back: 

Ad Version 1: Bazooka…Has it All!

Topps Monster Initials Wrapper with Bazooka Ad

Ad Version 2: Be Prepared….

Topps Monster Initials Wrapper Be Prepared Ad Version

Ad Version 3: Lotsa Friends…

Topps Monster Initial Wrapper Lotsa Friends Ad Version

Stickers:

Topps Monster Initial Stickers-A-T

Each sticker included 2 peel-off letters and were available in 132 letter combinations. Stickers had blank backs, unlike many other cards of the time that featured jokes or a puzzle on the back, and were either white or tan blanks.  White-back stickers were 3 to a pack while tan-back stickers were 4 per pack and, interestingly, also included one cardboard puzzle piece.

Letter Stickers:

Stickers came in 27 artwork variations:
AO (Frankinstien/Godzilla) (Werewolf/Godzilla)

AP (Werewolf/Phantom Opera) (Vampire/Phantom Opera)
AS (Frankenstein/Snake) (Frankinstien/Vampire)

AV (Vampire/Jekyll&Hyde) (Werewolf/Jekyll&Hyde)
BA (Werewolf/Frankenstein) (Red Eyed Devil/Zombie)

CD (Vampress/Bat) (Vampire/Bat)
CJ (Vampress/Gravedigger) (Vampire/Gravedigger)

CL (Vampress/Frankenstein) (Vampire/Frankenstein)
EA (Zombie/Zombie) (Werewolf/Frankenstein)

EI (Zombie/Ghoul) (Kong/Ghoul) (Werewolf/Hand)
EO (Zombie/Frankenstein) (Werewolf/Godzilla)

EP (Werewolf/Phantom Opera) (Zombie/Phantom Opera)
ES (Zombie/Snake) (Kong/Snake)

All 132 Letter Combinations:

AA AD AE AI AK AN AO AO AP AP AS AS AT AV AV AX AY A!

Topps Monster Initial Stickers Set 1

Topps Monster Initials Set 2

BA BA BE BI BK BN BO BS BT BU BX BY

Topps Monster Initial Stickers Set 3

CD CD CE CJ CJ CK CL CL CO CU CX CY

Topps Monster Initial Stickers Set 4

Topps Monster Initial Stickers Set 5

EA EA ED EI EI EI EL EN EO EO EP EP ES ES ET EU EX EY

Topps Monster Initial Stickers set 6

FE FI FK FV FY F!

Topps Monster Initial Stickers set 7

GA GJ GL GO GS G!

Topps Monster Initial Stickers set 8

HE HI HN HO HV H!

Topps Monster Initials Stickers set 9

IA IE IK IN IY I! ME MI MK MN MT M!

Topps Monster Initial Stickers set 10

QA QE QL QO QS QV RA RI RJ RS RT RU

Topps Monster Initial Stickers Set 11

TA TO TP TT TV T!

Topps Monster Initials Stickers Set 12

UA UE UI UO UP UV WE WI WO WS WU WX

Topps Monster Initial Stickers Set 13

ZE ZK ZN ZP ZT ZY

Topps Monster Iniitial Stickers set 14

?A ?D ?E ?I ?J ?S

Topps Monster Initial Stickers Set 15

One Puzzle Piece was included in each tan-back :

Topps Monster Initials Complete Puzzle  Notice the monster initials spell out ‘Augie’  in the puzzle; he was one of the artists.

Puzzle Back:Topps Monster Initials Complete Puzzle - Back

Collector Notes:

These stickers are easy to find, but complete sets are rare and expensive.  The great artwork combined with the huge nostalgia factor make these highly desirable, which in collecting parlance equals pricey.  A quick scan of ebay right now comes up with empty wrappers, empty display boxes for around $30:

Topps Monster Initial Sticker Display Box

Card combinations for $15 are plentiful, though it would add up fast to put together a complete set at this price. An interesting offer for the true completist, the proofs for these stickers are currently on eBay in the $320 per set range!  Click the link to see all current eBay listings

Collector Resources

Visit these sites for great information on collecting vintage bubblegum cards:

And check out related articles here on CCM:

Monster Kid Memories

I remember these stickers with tremendous affection.  Each week, after I received my allowance, I would hop on my yellow banana seat Schwinn and peddle to the local Get-n-Go convenience store.  That allowance was boring a hole in my pocket and I’d spend it on comic books, monster magazines, slurpees and bubble gum stickers. Once I discovered these stickers, they became a regular in my allowance spending frenzies.  I still come across them on items in my parents’ home from time to time to as they eventually adorned all of my school notebooks and a good assortment of everything else I owned in 1974.

While researching these stickers, I came across a fun website called i-Mockery.com.  For Halloween a few years back, they released a piece of interactive software that allows you to ‘Monsterize” your name, or your website name as I did.  Click on the link to  check it out: Monsterizer 

Do you remember these stickers?  As always, share your memories and your collections with us!

Yours Ghoulishly,

George spelled with Monster Initials

Classic Monster Trading Cards: Topps Creature Feature

You’ll Die Laughing With These Glorious Bubble Gum Cards

TOPPS Creature Feature Trading Card Deck

By now, most of you readers know I am a 1970s Monster Kid.  While Monster Mania was to end by the end of that decade, the early 70s was still a wonderland of phantasmagoric merchandise.  By 1973, I was 7 years old, well on my way to Monster Kid-dom,  and one of my favorite places in the world was the local Get-n-Go convenience store.  The comic book spinner rack was a treasure trove of excitement, the latest issue of Famous Monsters was usually on the magazine stand and then there were the bubble gum cards!   

From Wacky Stickers, to Planet of the Apes and eventually to Star Wars,  bubble gum cards held me in rapture for a decade, and in many ways they still do.   The height of that rapture was Topps Creature Feature cards.  It was like Famous Monsters with bubble gum! Each package a mystery with cards featuring pun-filled jokes and marvelous movie still from movies I had yet to see!

Topps Creature Feature Trading Cards

Released in 1973, Topps Creature Feature cards featured licensed black and white movie stills from the classic Universal Studios and American International Studios. 

Series 1 included cards 1-64:

                               Card #34:   Topps Creature Feature Card #34 1st Series   Topps Creature Feature Card Back #34 First Series   Series 2 includes cards #65-128

                                Card #66: Topps Creature Feature Card 2nd Series #66 Mole People                                 Back:Topps Creature Feature 2nd Series #66 Card Back                               Card #78:Topps Creature Feature Series 2 #78

Topps Creature Feature Card #78 2nd Series

The back of the cards used the same “You’ll Die Laughing” headline and purple illustrated border as the original 1959 Funny Monsters cards and included a marginally funny monster joke.

Because of this, all three Topps card sets, from 1959 to 1980, are often referred to as You’ll Die Laughing cards.  That title most appropriately refers to the 1959 Topps Funny Monsters cards which  featured illustrations of monsters rather than licensed movie stills.  Not only did Topps use the same headline and border in all three series, they used the same corny jokes in both 1973 and 1980 series as had originally run in 1959!

We’ll cover those wonderful Funny Monsters 1959 cards in a future article.

Topps Reissued Creature Feature in 1980

Largely a reissue of the 1973 Topps You’ll Die Laughing set with many of the same images and captions, about 33% of the 1980 cards were new images, but the primary difference is the wrapping:

1980 Topps Trading Cards Creature Features PackagingAs well as the addition of color borders to the 88-card set, which is helpful determine the set these cards belong to:

1980 Topps Creature Feature trading cards

1980 Topps Creature Feature sets included one of 22 stickers in each package  Labeled “The Monster Hall of Fame,” these  stickers are quite inexpensive and easy to track down.

Topps 1980 Creature Feature Sticker Mr Hyde

Topps Creature Features Monster Hall of Fame Stickers 1980

Base sets are affordable as well.  For collectors on a budget, the 1980 cards are a less expensive place to start collecting.

Collecting Monster Trading Cards

Creature Feature cards from 1973 and 1980 series are quite easy to find both as single cards and in lots.  It may take a bit if effort to piece together the entire series as lots often are incomplete.  But with time and diligence, assembling a full series is very doable.

Single cards usually range from $1 -$2 and sets are usually in the same per-card price range times the number of cards included in the lot.  It is common to find complete display boxes for the 1980 series, though much less common to find 1973 sealed display boxes.

Interestingly, many of the original 1973 proofs are currently listed on eBay for fixed price of $320 each.  It’s a really unique collectible, but it would obviously be quite an investment to piece together a large collection of these

Here’s an example:

Topps Creature Feature #4 Proof

Certificate of Authentic Topps Creature Feature Proof

Worth taking a look, and a really unique monster collectible for the right collector!  Click here to see all the Topps Creature Feature cards currently listed on eBay

Monster Card Collecting Resources

More more in-depth information about Topp’s Creature Feature Trading Cards and collecting trading cards in general, I highly recommend these resources:

Did you collect these cards in your Monster youth? Do you still? Share your memories – and your collections – with us!

(Video) Monsterama Episode 9: PLANET OF THE APES

One of the Greatest Sci-Fi Franchises Ever and All Its Cool Toys!

Mego-Planet-of-the-Apes-Figures

The Planet of the Apes was one of the first film properties to create a licensing bonanza – to the delight of POTA fans and collectors alike.  This episode of Monsterama shines a spotlight on some of the memorabilia and merchandise spawned by this classic sci-fi series – from the original Topps trading cards to Hasbro 12″ figures in the 1990s.  As always, the photography is top-notch so enjoy and be careful not to drool all over your keyboard:

Collecting the Planet of the Apes

This is a subject worth it’s own series and we’ll get there – eventually.  In the meantime, here’s some interesting items currently available that would be worth adding to your POTA collection or a good place to start one:

A guidebook is always useful for any collection:


Planet of the Apes Collectibles: Unauthorized Guide With Trivia & Values (A Schiffer Book for Collectors) available at Amazon

Published in 1998, this book includes a detailed listing of collectibles from the original film, the sequels, the television series, and the animated cartoon are all presented. Over 330 color photographs accompany the text. While the item values listed in the collector’s guide are obviously outdated, it remains a useful and interesting guidebook for anyone interested in collecting Planet of the Apes merchandise and memorabilia

The first – and only Planet of the Apes merchandise available for the first film – were these Topps trading cards:

Complete Set of Trading Cards 1967 Planet Of The Apes for sale on Amazon

Planet of the Apes Cornelius Astronaut Ultra Detail Figure on Amazon


1 X Cornelius – Planet Of The Apes – 2014 Hallmark Keepsake Ornament available on Amazon

Planet-of-the-Apes-Addar-Model-Gernal-UrsusClick here for Planet of the Apes Addar Model Kits listings on eBay

Mego-Planet-of-the-Apes-Battering-Ram

Click here to see current Mego Planet of the Apes Listings on eBay – there are a ton!

If you are a POTA collector, we’d love to hear from you as this post only scratches the surface.  We plan on profiling many of these product lines and companies individually in coming months.  Let us hear about your favorite POTA collectible.

Watch every episode of Monsterama