Trading Cards: Collectible Nostalgia

by blackspanielgallery

Trading cards have resurged as collectibles, and can bring us back to nostalgic memories.

Trading cards were certainly a popular part of my youth. I was born in the late 1940s, just a few years after World War II. We were not affluent by any means, but trading cards were affordable. It was a different time before electronics took over, so we had to amuse ourselves, and trading cards were a way of doing so.

I recall trading cards being available at a corner store less than a block from where I lived. We would walk to the store with one cent and buy a package that contained one trading card and a nice size piece of bubble gum. The card would have a pink rectangle imprinted on it from the gum. If we had five cents, we could buy a larger package with six trading cards and one larger piece of bubble gum. This was better since the gum was not what we wanted. And the five cards below the top one were not marked by the bubble gum.

The cards were TOPPS cards, and depending on the season might be baseball or football themed. We preferred football cards. We tried to get an entire set, but there were always a few we could not find. Since the cards were numbered we could determine the size of the set. Our favorites were team cards, single cards of entire teams.

We had no such thing as Pokemon back then.

Winning Cards

Often several boys would play to win cards at recess.  One card would be stood against a wall, and we would take turns throwing cards at it.  The standing card was called the “captain.”  If it was knocked down, the person throwing the card that caused this picked up and now owned all the cards. 


The problem this caused is cards being thrown at a wall soon became damaged on the corners.  So, we kept our best cards at home and played with cards less desirable.  But if we won a card we wanted we had no obligation of playing it again, it could disappear into a pocked.

Other Cards

While our source of cards sold football and baseball cards, occasionally airplane cards showed up.  These were probably from the war years, and handed down from older siblings or parents. 

Pristine Cards

In my neighborhood we used our cards, and handled them regularly.  Few had a chance of survival in pristine condition.  If only we had known these would become collectible.

Collecting Nostalgia

Today, there is an interest in collecting trading cards.  The variety is greater than in the past, and large packs are available. 


This renewed interest may have something to do with recapturing one’s youth. 


Condition is important.  To preserve the condition trading cards are encapsulated in holders called slabs.  Several grading companies like PSA and Becket slab trading cards.  The grading companies provide a grade, which should be better preserved in the slab. 


Keeping the slabs from being scratched allows better viewing of the cards.  However, there is no one size slab, so if a box is used that is designed for PSA graded cards Becket slabs will not fit properly.  The same is true for protective sleeves, they are grading service specific.

Foreign Trading Cards

After looking at trading cards online it is obvious there are different trading cards from different countries.  Some countries prefer such subjects as comics, planes, or automobiles.  Not every country, nor every period of time, emphasizes sports.


Some trading cards apparently came with products.  I found Kellogg cards and even tea company cards listed. 


Some cards are foreign editions, such as a French edition, indicating there is another, probably American, version. 


This article contains links to affiliate programs and Adsense advertising.  These must use cookies to allow for proper crediting, and allow me to earn from qualifying purchases. As a Viglinks, an Ebay, and an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The intro image is our image.  These are trading card supplies we sell on Ebay, but are not allowed to sell our own items through the affiliate program so they are not in this article.

Updated: 06/21/2021, blackspanielgallery
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blackspanielgallery on 06/22/2021

Answering the last question first, the card was never revealed in advanced to entice us to purchase more cards.

The bubble gum was always part of th package, so I do not know what came first.

Some foreign cards were accompanied by cigarettes, which I deliberately left out of the article.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/22/2021

blackspanielgallery, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
Do we know whether foreign editions of American trading cards or outright foreign trading cards were accompanied by chewables or edibles? (Now what chewable or edible goes with a French edition?)
It's interesting that these cards were sold with bubble gum. Was this a way of promoting bubble gum over other types of chewing gum or was bubble gum already established as hugely desirable?
Was there any way of knowing before purchase what cards were accompanying the gum so that you could avoid duplicates? Were the same cards always sold together so that if you were able to see the top or bottom one, you'd know whether you had the rest already or not?

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