Topps Planes (Topps)

Planes cards Topps released their Planes trading card set in 1957. There were 120 cards in the set, divided between 2 series.

Cold War-era boys were fascinated by the variety of aircraft that were being produced, both military and civilian. This is one of the larger sets devoted to the subject, as well as one of the most attractive ones. Topps spared no effort in making this a card series that would grab collectors' attention.

The card fronts feature a piece of color artwork depicting a specific model of aircraft (including helicopters), with its name and type in a small rounded box superimposed over the image. A white border surrounded this.

The card backs are separated into different areas. The top area gives the card number and name of the set, followed by the name of the aircraft and its type, with vital statistics (date of first service, etc.) in small boxes below. Beneath this, to the left, is a block of text about the aircraft. To the right of this is a 'Jr. Skywatcher Quiz', where a plane silhouette is shown and the user may guess what the plane's make and model is; the answer is given in small type, upside down, just beneath this. At the bottom is the Ground Observer Corps insignia and the lines 'Earn Your Wings - Join the Ground Observer Corps.'

Note that the card backs have either blue or red accents; every card number can be found in both accent colors. This is speculated that Topps, who had recently acquired Bowman's printing machinery, used it to print one color while the regular Topps machinery printed the other; this was perhaps done to test the Bowman equipment to see if its quality matched what they had been using. Note: the red-back cards are twice as uncommon as the blue-back cards, so that they command a slight premium in price.

Note also that the 2nd series cards (#'s 61 to 120) are more difficult to find than 1st series cards.

Also, card #9 seems to be more rare than the others, for whatever reason.

Checklist cards for this series advertise for both Bazooka and Blony gum. Blony was a Bowman brand.

Value: Individual cards from this set, in Excellent condition, are worth between $2.00 and $5.00 each, depending on which series they belong to, and their back accent color. A full set of all 120 cards with red backs can be worth $650.00 to $800.00; a set of blue backs may be worth $500.00 to $650.00.