A&BC Chewing Gum wrappers

A&BC Chewing Gum Ltd. – Football card wrappers

A&BC Chewing Gum produced football cards from 1958/59 until 1974/75. In each case they produced a piece of gum, added one or more cards, and wrapped them in a wax wrapper. At the time that children opened these wrappers they almost certainly discarded almost every one, but thankfully not every one. Over time the wrappers themselves have become very collectable and valuable items. However, over time the assignment of wrappers to seasons and sets of football cards has in some cases become lost. Most of A&BC’s wrappers do not indicate the particular year or set, most are just called ‘Footballer’.

While I collected a small number of A&BC Chewing Gum cards as a boy I did not keep any of my wrappers. When I first created this website in 1998 I had no idea which wrappers went with which cards, but over time I have been sent a number of wrapper images and some advice on which sets they belong to. The cards from 1965/66 onwards are fairly easy to assign to sets, but for the early years there is still a lot of uncertainty. With the help of a number of collectors, including Barry, Jerry, Graham and Frank, I have attempted to update my records of the wrappers. If you know of additional information, either to back up what I am proposing, or to argue against it, or if you have images of any of the ‘missing’ wrappers, please use the ‘Send me email’ link in the header to get in touch.

1958/59

Topstars – Famous Footballers

I do not believe that A&BC Chewing Gum issued ‘multi-card’ packs  in 1958/59 (as they did in following years). This pack has no price  or an indication of the number of cards in the pack. This wrapper has the address for A&BC Chewing Gum as London, not the later Harold Hill, Essex address. It does not mention a licence agreement with Topps, which is believed to date from 1959. I’ve always associated this wrapper with the 1958/59 set because of the Topstars Album of Famous Footballers from this date. The wrapper mentions ‘Topstars’ rather than ‘Footballers’, but does have the image of a footballer. The wrapper does not have a price, nor does it mention how many cards came in each pack.

The 1958/59 set, issued as two Series (Cards 1-46 and 47-92) is also known as the ‘Planet’ set. For Series 1 there are two versions of the set, commonly referred to as ‘Planet’, due to an offer printed at the top of some of the cards. In Series 1, the ‘Planet’ cards have black and red backs, while the non-Planet cards have blue and red backs. Interestingly, there are also two different card printing sizes for the Series 1 non-Planet cards, with some cards slightly larger and with a larger printed image than other cards in the set. Click here for a discussion and images of the card size variations. All cards in Series 2 have, or originally had, the Planet offer at the top and therefore have black and red backs. What this means is that the wrapper needed to accommodate cards of different sizes. Whether this meant there were different sized wrapper variations, or whether the same wrapper could be used for the different card sizes is not known. Degree of confidence in assigning this wrapper to this set: High

1959/60

Footballer

The image of the footballer heading the ball on these wrappers has become known as the ‘Feyenoord-style’ player image, due to the colours of the shirt. The blue wrappers have the A&BC Chewing Gum address as London, again pre-dating the move to Essex. There is mention of the licence agreement with Topps Chewing Gum Inc., believed to date from 1959, and the four card wrapper has an advertisement for Bazooka Joe Gum.

There are two shop display posters for this set (the poster shows a number of the cards), one of which only displays cards from Series 1 (cards 1 to 49) and the other cards from Series 2. The posters have the Feyenoord-style player at the top, as well as an indication of the prices of the cards (1d and 3d). The wrappers show that you got one card for 1d or four cards for 3d. The posters have the A&BC address as 1 Carlisle Road, London, NW9, again pre-dating the move to Essex. 1 Carlisle Road is the address of the Colindale factory which A&BC had moved to in 1958.

Degree of confidence in assigning this wrapper to this set: High

1960/61

Footballer (Black backs)

The assignment of the green wrappers to the 1960/61 set is not certain. The green wrappers have the A&BC Chewing Gum address as Harold Hill, Romford, Essex a move understood to have occurred in late 1959. It seems strange, and unusual, that A&BC would use the same wrapper image over two years but it is important to remember that A&BC moved partly because they had a fire at their London premises. Is it possible that after the fire it was easiest to just use the previous year’s wrapper and change the colours while they concentrated on re-establishing their business?

The display poster shown above relates to this 1960/61 set (the poster underneath the header shows a number of cards from the set). The poster header is identical to the 1959/60 poster, except that the address has changed from London to Essex. The poster confirms the availability of the cards in 1d and 3d packs.

The image of the 4 cards for 3d wrapper shown here has been doctored to remove another image so is not perfect.

Degree of confidence in assigning this wrapper to this set: Medium

1961/62

Footballer

This wrapper has the Essex address, and mentions the licence agreement with Topps, dating the wrapper to post-1959 on both counts. It is a return to the Topstars name, using the same footballer image from the 1958/59 set though with a white rather than orange shirt. The clue to this assignment is the mention of ‘Autographed!’ cards, with the 1961/62 set being the only set of autographed photo cards from this period.

The pack contained three cards for 2d. While I have never seen one, based on the preceding and following wrappers it is likely that there was also a one card for 1d pack.

Degree of confidence in assigning this wrapper to this set: High

1962/63

Footballer (Bazooka)

While it is thought that there may be one or two wrappers for this set (one card for 1d and three cards for 2d) there are few known images of these wrappers, making them extremely rare. I’m very greatful to Graham for providing this image. Still not sure whether there ever was a 3 cards for 2d wrapper.

Degree of confidence in assigning this wrapper to this set: High

1963/64

Footballer (Make-a-Photo)

The 1963/64 set of 110 was issued in two Series. There are believed to be two options for purchasing these cards, one card for 1d or three cards for 2d. The 1d wrapper mentions the fact that you could also buy the cards in 2d packs, stating ‘Extra card free with 2d Footballer’.

The shop display poster for this 1963/64 set includes the image of the ‘goalie’ reproduced from the wrappers to the header of the poster, similar to the ‘Feyenoord-style’ player from the 1959/60 and 1960/61 sets.

Degree of confidence in assigning this wrapper to this set: High

1964/65

Footballer Quiz

The 1964/65 set of 149 cards was issued in three Series. The pack costing 2d contained two cards. It is not known whether a 1 card for 1d pack was also available. It is possible that this was the first year when A&BC only offered one option for you to buy your cards.

Degree of confidence in assigning this wrapper to this set: High

1966/67

Footballer

Although the wrapper says six cards, each card had two photos, so the purchaser was actually getting three cards for 3d.

Degree of confidence in assigning this wrapper to this set: High

1967/68

Footballer (Star Players)

For the first time A&BC do not tell you how many cards you got for your 3d, although the wrapper does advertise the fact that you got a ‘pin-up’ as an extra.

Degree of confidence in assigning this wrapper to this set: High

1968/69

 
Footballer (Yellow backs)

A set of 110 cards issued in two Series. I’m not sure how many cards you got with each 3d pack, but with Series 1 you automatically got a nice paper pennant in each pack, and with Series 2 a nice metalised team emblem.

Degree of confidence in assigning these wrappers to this set: High

1969/70

Footballer (Green backs) wrappers
Series 1Series 2Series 3
Angle-head flash light
Swell for camping, hooks right on your belt, has powerful beam and flash, signal button, less batteries. Free for only 120 Bazooka comics, or 4/6d and 5 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
Ball pen
Retractable pen with strong pocket clip. Free for only 40 Bazooka comics, or 1/- and 5 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
Bazooka Joe’s Secret Club
Join Bazooka Joe’s Secret Club. Get Secret Siren Ring, Secret Code, and Certificate. Send 72 Bazooka Joe comics for free membership or only one shilling and five comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
Camera
Takes sharp, clear photos, 8 pictures on each roll standard 127 colour and black and white film, with instructions, carrying strap and guarantee is yours free for only 120 Bazooka comics, or 4/6d and 5 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
Camp knife
Includes blade, glass cutter, cork screw, bottle opener, gouger and ring for fitting to your belt. Free for only 80 Bazooka comics, or 3/- and 5 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2.
Full size wallet
Just like Dad’s, in imitation crocodile skin, takes bank notes and stamps with a special pocket for photographs etc. Free for only 125 Bazooka comics, or 1/9 and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
Football pennant
Your favourite English or Scottish League First Division Team Pennant. Free for only 125 Bazooka comics, or 1/9 and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
Tee shirt
Wear a Tee Shirt just like the one Bazooka Joe wears, start off a neighbourhood fad. State your age and your size. Free for only 252 Bazooka comics, or 3/6 and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.

World Cup Giant Poster Wrapper
Ball pen
Retractable pen, with strong pocket clip, writes in black, blue or red inks. Specify ink colours. Free for only 100 Bazooka comics, or 1/6 and 10 Bazooka comics.
Bazooka Joe’s Secret Club
Join Bazooka Joe’s Secret Club. Get Secret Siren Ring, Secret Code, and Certificate. Send 72 Bazooka Joe comics for free membership or only one shilling and five Bazooka comics.
Bride doll

Beautiful Bride Doll, lovely satin and lace gown, with veil and bouquet. Full 7 inches tall with moveable head and arms, sleeping eyes. Free for only 320 Bazooka comics or 4/6 and 10 Bazooka comics.
Camp knife

Includes blade, glass cutter, cork-screw, bottle opener, gouger and ring for fitting to your belt. Free for only 210 Bazooka comics, or 3/- and 10 Bazooka comics.
Football pennant

Your favourite English or Scottish League First Division Team Pennant. Free for only 125 Bazooka comics, or 1/9 and 10 Bazooka comics.
Perfume locket

Genuine gold plated filigree heart on graceful chain, scented with sweetest fragrance, refill with your own perfume. Free for only 180 Bazooka comics or 2/6 and 10 Bazooka comics.

1970/71

Footballer (Orange backs) wrappers

This set, along with the 1969/70 Green backs represent a culmination for A&BC as they produced high quality cards in three series for the English market with a brilliant range of ‘extras’ included with the cards and the gum. Series 1, issued to coincide with the beginning of the 1970/71 football season, included the popular pin-up posters carefully folded in each packet. The packet cost 6d, for which you got 6 ‘giant’ cards, plus the pin-up poster. When Series 2 was issued the posters were replaced by the ‘Action transfer’. Series 3 included ‘new’ action transfers. The transfers, nowadays often referred to as ‘transparencies’ came in a set of 72, so perhaps the first 36 were issued with Series 2 and the second 36 with Series 3. The Series 3 wrapper has the price in both pre-decimal (6d) and post-decimal. Apparently in the period leading up to ‘Decimal Day’ (15 February 1971) prices on goods were displayed in this way, and then after Decimal Day the post-decimal price had to be displayed first (e.g. 2½p / 6d) suggesting that Series 3 was issued in very late 1970 or January 1971.

The 1970/71 Scottish green backs were issued with the same wrappers for Series 1, but a different wrapper for Series 2. These will be featured in a new gallery soon.

The Footballer bubble gum packs included a cross-promotion with Topp’s Bazooka Joe bubble gum. Each wrapper included a ‘special offer’ to purchase merchandise with a small amount of money/or lots and lots of Bazooka Joe comics (included in the 1d gum packs, sold separately). The ones that I know about are shown below (with thanks to Barry who provided most of these images). One of the interesting things though is that the Series1 and 2 Bazooka Joe offers (see below) included the offer price in post and pre-decimal although the wrapper itself priced the gum only in pre-decimal. If you know of other wrappers or Bazooka Joe offers please email me here. The offers could be redeemed by sending to Bazooka Joe, P.O. Box 20, Spilsby Road, Romford, Essex (A&BC Chewing Gum’s address).

Footballer (Orange backs) wrappers
Series 1Series 2Series 3
Bazooka offers included on various
wrappers
Angle-head flash lightBall penBazooka Joe’s Secret Club
Swell for camping, hooks right on your belt, has powerful beam and flash, signal button, less batteries. Free for only 120 Bazooka comics, or 5/- (25p.) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 3.
Retractable pen with strong pocket clip, writes in black, blue or red inks. Specify ink colour. Free for only 100 Bazooka comics, or 1/- (5p.) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
Join Bazooka Joe’s Secret Club. Get Secret Siren Ring, Secret Code, and Certificate. Send 72 Bazooka Joe comics for free membership or only one shilling (5p.) and five Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
CameraCampknifeConcert mouth organ
Takes sharp, clear photos, 8 pictures on each roll standard 127 colour and black and white fil. With instructions, carrying strap and guarantee is yours for only 320 Bazooka comics, or 5/- (25p.) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
Campknife includes blade, glass cutter, corkscrew, bottle opener, gouger and ring for fitting to your belt. Free for only 210 Bazooka comics, or 3/- (15p.) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2
Concert Mouth Organ, the real thing with excellent tone reproduction. Free for only 360 Bazooka comics, or 6/- (30p.) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 2.
Folding walletFootball pennantItalian Guitar
Folding Wallet, just like Dad’s, in imitation crocodile skin, takes banknotes and stamps with a special pocket for photographs etc. Free for only 125 Bazooka comics, or 2/- (10p.) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2.
Your favourite English or Scottish League First Division Team Pennant. Free for only 125 Bazooka comics, or 2/- (10p.) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
“Chitarra Sandy” the small Italian Guitar, 26″ long, for the prospective pop artist, complete with Carrying Strap and Plastic Plucker. Free with only 1,800 Bazooka comics or 30/- (150p) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 3.
Leather footballRoller SkatesSolid State 6 Transistor Radio
Real Leather Football complete with bladder in regulation size. Free for only 1,200 Bazooka comics or Ł1-0-0 and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
Roller Skates made strong, safe and sturdy for the young beginner, shoe sizes 6-9 with front and back straps. Free only 210 (?) Bazooka comics, or ??? (???p.) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2.
Solid State 6 Transistor Radio with Carrying Strap, Battery and Earplug. Free for only 2,200 Bazooka comics, or 40/- (200p.) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
StampsSwiss watchTable tennis set
Start your own Stamp Collection with Stanley Gibbons Stamp Packets, 9″ x 7″, PVC Packs contains the following either: 40 Animals, 40 Arts and Artists, 32 Aviation, 26 Butterflies and Insects, 32 Costumes, 30 Fish and ????, 28 Flags, 35 Flowers, 28 Maps, 30 Music, 40 Ships, 28 Space, 35 Sport, 190 Whole ????, 260 Whole World, 40 Great Britain, 95 British Commonwealth.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2 (and Series 3 Superstar poster)
Genuine Swiss Watch, gilt for boys, jewelled for girls, complete with strap and packed in hardboard box. Free for only 2,200 Bazooka comics, or 40/- and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
Table Tennis Set for two players including Wooden Bats rubberised on one side, Net and one Ball. Free for only 630 Bazooka comics, or 10/- (50p.) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.
Tee shirt
Wear a Tee Shirt just like the one Bazooka Joe wears, start off a neighbourhood fad. State your age and your size. Free for only 250 Bazooka comics, or 4/- (20p.) and 10 Bazooka comics.

Known as an offer with: Series 1, 2 and 3.

1971/72

Footballer (Purple backs) wrappers
Series 1Series 2Series 3
Special offers
Bazooka Joe gum




Known with: Series 1.
Bazooka Joe Cherry flavour. New Cherry flavour, with free gifts.

Known with: Series 2.
Bozo. In four flavours.

Known with: Series 2.
Footballer album

Known with: Series 2 and 3.
Graperoo. New grape taste.

Known with: Series 1.
Super blong. The big super blong.

Known with: Series 1.
The Giant. 7 big chews 2p.

Known with: Series 2.

1972/73

Footballer (Orange/Red backs) wrappers
Series 1Series 2
Special offers
Bazooka. Your No 1 Bubble Gum with free gifts.

Known with: Series 1.
5 big chews for only 2p

Known with: Series 1.
Film (Series 1)
Join Bazooka Joe Club now!. And receive a free Colour film for your camera. Send 100 Bazooka Joe comics or 5p and 10 comics for full BAZOOKA JOE CLUB membership stating size of film you require 120, 127 or Instamatic to Bazooka Joe Club, Depot. 555, P.O. Box 60, Chelmsford, CM2 7RD, Essex.

Known as an offer with: Series 1.
Film (Series 2)
Join Bazooka Joe Club now!. And receive a free Colour film for your camera. Send 100 Bazooka Joe comics or 5p and 10 comics for full BAZOOKA JOE CLUB membership stating size of film you require 120, 127 or Instamatic to Bazooka Joe Club, Depot. 555, P.O. Box 60, Chelmsford, CM2 7RD, Essex.

Known as an offer with: Series 2.
Football pennant
Your favourite English or Scottish League First Division Team Pennant. Free for only 200 Bazooka comics, or 15p and 10 comics. Send to Bazooka Joe, P.O. Box 20, Spilsby Road, Romford, Essex. Remember First Division only. Gifts subject to change and availability. Allow 3 weeks for delivery.

Known as an offer with: Series 1.
How to play Footballer Card Game
1. Spread out playing cards face down on table
2. Toss coin to start
3. First player turns over any card and follows instructions
4. When a score is made, opponent kicks off again.
Leather football
Complete with bladder in regulation size. Free for only 1,200 Bazooka comics, or £1 and 10 comics. Send to Bazooka Joe, P.O. Box 20, Spilsby Road, Romford, Essex. Gifts subject to change and availability. Allow 3 weeks for delivery.

Known as an offer with: Series 1.

1973/74

Footballer (Blue backs) wrappers
Series 1Series 2Swop wallet
Special Bazooka offers

Football boots – only £1.99 plus 5 Footballer wrappers. Black Football Boots made with a split leather upper and a padded collar with 2 white side stripes. Available in junior sizes 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Send £1.99 plus 5 Footballer wrappers to Footballer Offer, A&BC Chewing Gum Limited, Harold Hill Estate, Spilsby Road, Romford, Essex. Allow 3 weeks for delivery. Gifts subject to change and availability. Offer expires May 1st 1974. Available U.K. and Eire only.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2.

Football pennant – Your favourite English or Scottish League Division team pennant. Send 20p plus 5 Footballer wrappers…

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2.
Plastic football – only 40p plus 5 Footballer wrappers.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2.
Player’s shoulder bag – With your favourite team printed on the outside, available with all English 1st Division teams plus Celtic, Rangers and International England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. When ordering state the team you require and second choice (international team). Send £1.40 plus 5 Footballer wrappers…

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2.
Real leather football – only £1.00 plus 5 Footballer wrappers.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2.
Satin team scarves – only 50p plus 5 Footballer wrappers.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2.
Team t-shirt – only 60p plus 5 Footballer wrappers.

Known as an offer with: Series 1 and 2.

Giant Team Posters wrappers

1974/75

Footballer (Red backs) wrappers