Sometimes, when you find a good thing, you stick with it.
Like that time Topps did a picture-in-picture deal in 1983 … collectors loved it … and Topps brought back a variation of the theme in 1982.
And, sometimes, you expand on a theme when it hits big.
Take Royal Crown Cola in the late 1970s.
You’re likely familiar with the blue RC tin cans from 1977 that featured a white circle with a player headshot in black-and-white, with a white rectangle underneath showing the player’s name, team name, position, and some statistical highlights.
The 70-can set has been fairly popular with collectors over the decades despite the challenges they present in storage and display.
And, they were evidently popular enough for RC to roll out the whole deal again in 1978, expanding the lineup to 100 players. They also expanded the idea in another way … a very 1970s way.
Find 1978 RC Iron-Ons on eBay (affiliate link)
Find 1978 RC Iron-Ons on Amazon (affiliate link)
You remember iron-ons, right? Those reverse-image plastic-y sheets of stuff that you would lay on a fresh t-shirt and literally iron it into place. It was like a personal, localized, 1970s version of Teespring or Etsy.
These novelties shared characteristics with the cans but were a bit more colorful than the “base” set. The main feature was a black-and-white player headshot again, but set against a white baseball with red and blue accents.
Underneath was the team city name and a big RC logo and slogan (“Me and my RC”), and the whole thing was set off by a black-and-gold arching player name at the top of the sheet.
Each of the 26 Major League clubs at the time was represented by five players but, since RC didn’t have an MLB license, all team logos were wiped away.
So, you could wear Robin Yount (for example) on your chest, but you’d have to draw the Brewers logo on his cap yourself if you wanted a complete collectible.
And, speaking of Yount, in case you’re curious, he was accompanied on his uncut iron-on sheet by teammates Larry Hisle, Sal Bando, Sixto Lezcano … and Ray Fosse.
You know who else was in this set?
Yeah, Pete Rose,.
Which means, somewhere out there, you just know you had a Rose t-shirt running headlong toward a Fosse t-shirt as two Little Leaguers braced themselves for their backyard re-creation of the terrible, violent collision in the 1970 All-Star Game that changed the course of the real Fosse’s career.
Hope the kiddos had a little more sense than to see it though to adult-size proportions.
Wow! Wax of the Day — King Style
RC is definitely a part of American pop culture history, but no one can touch The King when it comes to changing our entertainment and leisure-time landscape. Back in 1978, though, you could get both together, and with a decided hobby flair.
Yep, in 1978, Donruss released their series of Elvis bubble gum cards, and those babies look and feel an awful lot like the 1981 Donruss baseball card set, their debut issue just three years later.
Cool thing is, you can still buy unopened Elvis wax packs, like the this one available now on eBay (three, in this case, actually) for relatively cheap.
Check out the full listing here (affiliate link).