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what is a promo card?
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Silver Card Talk Member
posted
Starting a new thread, because I didn’t want to derail the one from which this quote comes:

quote:
Originally posted by catskilleagle:

Some of the old promos of the late 70's and 80's called themselves "baseball cards" because they were designed like baseball cards (photo front with a text back). Before "promo card" fell into industry usage, people didn't think about coming up with a term for cards that promoted other things.


I've never really embraced the idea that promo cards are cards that "promoted other things", if only because that definition includes the vast majority of trading cards that were issued up until the 1980s or so (when cards became enough of a "thing" that the bubble gum was dropped, and were sold for their own sake.)

Consider some classic sets of the past:
-- the original Mars Attacks cards promoted bubble gum, as did Horrors of War and Indian Gum
-- the Allen & Ginter N2 Indian Chiefs cards promoted cigarettes
-- Mothers Cookies Sports Cars promoted cookies
-- Tip Top Space Cards promoted bread
-- Heinz Famous Airplanes and Aviators promoted cereal
-- Arm & Hammer Famous Birds of America promoted baking soda.

I get that collecting oddball cards is a specialized area of the hobby, and it's one of my own major areas of interest. But I was there when the "promo card" boom started in the early 1990s, and originally promo cards were cards that promoted other sets of cards. That's all. Much of what is now called a "promo card" was either an insert card, or simply an oddball card/set from a non-traditional issuer.

I think it's great that books and threads are documenting these so-called "promo" cards.

But consider three groups of cards:

The Marvel Universe cards in this post.

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang cards in this post.

Stark & Wetzel Indianapolis Speedway Winners cards show here.

To my way of thinking, the first cards are obviously promo cards, in that they served as promotions to dealers to stock the first Marvel Universe set.

The last cards are traditional insert cards, having been placed in packs of hot dog weiners.

So which category is the middle set more like?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Bill Mullins,
 
Posts: 1517 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
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here is my twenty cents worth
i have been collecting Promo cards since the early 90s
As far as I am concerned Promo Cards are the cards issued or given to promote Card Companies issues of cards.
All others are Premiums etc
But this also brings up the confusing of there being Companies getting Card Issuing companies to print cards for them under their Brand name .I
Inkworks printed many cards for other companies Food Toy etc with the Inkworks logo on them
This is were the defination between Set and Premium becomes confused,because they are included under the set cards not as Premiums.
The Promo Card Encyclopedia used to have a Premium Card section wich these cards should of been included but were not
Here in New Zealand we have a Company Sanitarium who have been issuing cards since 1942 I have seen them described as Promos but here we only know them as Weet Bix cards they have been around for so long that the defination has become blurred
Cards issued for Card issuing companies for their sets should be Promos
Others either Premiums or what the collecting fraternity can decide what they are can be listed as.
M I O
 
Posts: 572 | Location: New Zealand | Registered: November 22, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
I get that collecting oddball cards is a specialized area of the hobby, and it's one of my own major areas of interest. But I was there when the "promo card" boom started in the early 1990s, and originally promo cards were cards that promoted other sets of cards. That's all. Much of what is now called a "promo card" was either an insert card, or simply an oddball card/set from a non-traditional issuer.


I was there too and for what its worth, I basically agree with you. The "promo cards" that started it all and that we were interested in owning either promoted a coming card set (sport or non-sport), a related card publication, or for non-sport cards it could be new comics.

I don't know how it got expanded to include lots of other stuff having nothing to do with sports or non-sport cards, comics or related subjects derived from those sources, but of course I'm not a promo card collector either.

If it makes them happy and they have enough consensus to make up some kind of rules as a marketplace, I guess my understanding it is not required.
 
Posts: 8458 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What do you guys consider the TERMINATOR SALVATION MOVIE CARDS FROM TOPPS that are in the blister pack toys from the movie? I have four (or more) of these, and they are different from the base set from Topps. I never opened the toys so do not know what is on the back of the cards, or how many there are. Promos, or part of the base (or a different base), set?
 
Posts: 2305 | Location: USA | Registered: November 08, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In the example of Terminator Salvation movie cards, my own opinion would be to regard them as a separate Terminator set made by Topps. The same way I consider the cards that were packaged along with all those small action toys of 90's sports stars as separate sets. Remember they were not freely handed out, you needed to buy the toy. Or were you buying the card? Wink

However for those subjects, the Terminator franchise and sports stars, there is a definite and existing connection to card products, so I can see where sports card collectors and Terminator collectors might be interested in those cards as being related to the subject. Still not promos, but at least associated with the hobby.
 
Posts: 8458 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I guess it is a separate base set then. I don't think I ever saw any of those cards for sale, not that I look for them anymore. I was always curious about how many there were, and whether they were numbered.
 
Posts: 2305 | Location: USA | Registered: November 08, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Bill, Piko, Raven, and Steve,

When I said "cards that promote other things," I was talking specifically about anything other than baseball (sports) cards. There were cards that directly promoted things other than cards before 1990. I find odd cards from the 80's (like those pinball machine cards by Bally Midway) every once in a while. There are cards that were given out in the 80's that promote artwork of athletes, athlete biographies, charity events, or trade shows. If I keep looking, I will likely find some from the late 70's as well. These kinds of cards were probably beneath the notice of most collectors back then but others picked up every odd card available and those collectors who specialize in particular teams or players are going to want the card that promoted Mickey Mantle's or Orel Hershiser's book as well as their regular set cards. I buy cards like that when they're cheap and they sometimes are.

If it's a product itself like the original Mars Attacks cards, then it is definitely not a promo. It might promote the company's gum but the cards were what was being sold to you. It didn't say on the pack, "Stick of Gum. Free space cards inside."

From there it's splitting hairs. I think a promo card is any card you get for free that promotes something but I also tend to include any card that you get for free. Some free cards don't say anything on them, but at the time of the promotion, you knew that you could get a card if you bought the specially-marked product. Some collectors will say that kind of card is a "product premium" - not a promo. I say a product premium is a kind of promo. If I'm buying the Rice Krispies anyway and I get a free card with it, then that card is a promo. Some will obviously want the card and not the cereal.

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang cards would be product premiums (or inserts if you like) which makes them promos in my view.

I like oddball cards in general too - cards that seem to hover in a gray area or fall between the cracks of traditional categories. One of the odd sports promos I bought says "oddball promo" on a sticker on the top loader (a note from the seller).

Jess
 
Posts: 2089 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of pcetodd
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For me a promo card is a card that says "hey this is coming out soon". It can be for a card set, a comic book, a movie, a TV show, a pair of knickers, a book...pretty much anything.

A card that is included with an item, typically to get you to buy the item, is a product premium. It can be in hot dogs, cereal, a comic book, a magazine, a book, DVD...pretty much anything.

Some product premiums double as promotional cards, like if they are issued in conjunction with a Spider-Man movie and they mention the movie in some way.

For me promos and product premiums go hand in hand. They are both items whose initial method of distribution was not as a "for sale" item.
 
Posts: 2325 | Location: Maine | Registered: August 04, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by catskilleagle:
[Mars Attacks] might promote the company's gum but the cards were what was being sold to you. It didn't say on the pack, "Stick of Gum. Free space cards inside."


Check the wrapper.
The product's actual name is "Mars Attacks Space Adventure Bubble Gum". It lists the contents: "1 SLAB GUM PLUS PICTURE CARDS".

Not exactly your words, but pretty close. The company name was "Topps Chewing Gum" up until 1988-89, when they changed it to "The Topps Company".
 
Posts: 1517 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Bill

How about this for an example?

[IMG:left] [/IMG]

This card is plain backed.

regards

John

____________________
 
Posts: 1833 | Location: United Kingdom | Registered: October 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Raven
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Have you ever wondered why they call it a movie trailer? They don't trail the movie, they are released in anticipation of the movie. They are previews of the movie designed to get an audience interested in seeing it when it comes out. Even in the theaters, the trailers or previews play before the main attraction, not after. Maybe they did at one time and the name stuck, but its different now.

The same thing could be said of the promo card when the craze first hit. It didn't just stand for a promotional card of something, anything. It was specific to publicizing a new card or card related product coming out, be it sports cards, non-sport or entertainment cards or comics. Sometimes the product never actually materialized or they were bogus promos that never really had a product. Promos were selling, even if they were supposed to be free at some time, so the name got slapped on everything, right or wrong.

But it wasn't for other stuff, it wasn't for all things promotional. There were plenty of food premium cards and oddball cards and fast food restaurant cards that would find their way onto card tables, but those weren't the promo cards collectors were going nuts over.

That's how I remember it and its still my notion of what a promo card in this hobby means. So I guess that's my final answer.
 
Posts: 8458 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Yeah, that's pretty close but at what point were kids buying packs for the cards with the gum being the extra thing? I think the first packs I bought were the Topps 1972 football or Topps 1973 baseball. I was able to trade for cards a couple of years older from friends. I was definitely buying the packs for the cards at that point. The time kids were buying packs for the cards had to be years before that because my trading friends had cards going back to '69 or '70. They were in it for the cards too.

When I think about it, isn't "Space Adventure Bubble Gum" more of a tagline or subtitle at best? I've never seen anyone refer to "Mars Attacks Space Adventure Bubble Gum" as the set. I wasn't around for that so I really don't know - don't really know what card collecting was like in the 60's. The part I thought was cool was the story about people dumpster-diving behind Topps and finding things like test cards and artwork. The first non-sports I collected was "Star Wars" red series (before I knew there was a blue one).

Jess


quote:
Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
quote:
Originally posted by catskilleagle:
[Mars Attacks] might promote the company's gum but the cards were what was being sold to you. It didn't say on the pack, "Stick of Gum. Free space cards inside."


Check the wrapper.
The product's actual name is "Mars Attacks Space Adventure Bubble Gum". It lists the contents: "1 SLAB GUM PLUS PICTURE CARDS".

Not exactly your words, but pretty close. The company name was "Topps Chewing Gum" up until 1988-89, when they changed it to "The Topps Company".
 
Posts: 2089 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's a promo card for the 1986 paperback release of "The Mick," Mickey Mantle's autobiography.


This message has been edited. Last edited by: catskilleagle,
 
Posts: 2089 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by catskilleagle:
Here's a promo card for the 1986 paperback release of "The Mick," Mickie Mantle's autobiography.




Hey Jess,

I have that Mantle promo and he signed it at one of his appearances for the book. I didn't get it in person, bought it sometime shortly afterwards. Never got it authenticated, but it looks good to me. At that time Mantle was long retired and signing all over the place as his second job. He was practically keeping up with the forgers. Big Grin And if you wanted his autograph, it wasn't fashionable to get it on cardstock. I think that might be the only Mantle autograph I have and its a promo card alright.
 
Posts: 8458 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Regarding the Mickey Mantle card, I’m just curious which bookstore chain is listed on the back? I’ve seen (and have) one that says Waldenbooks and another one that says B. Daltons. I’ve heard there was one with no bookstore mentioned, but I’ve never come across it yet (assuming it even exists?)
 
Posts: 251 | Location: Dallas, TX USA | Registered: July 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Aeolus,

Mine is B. Dalton. I didn't know there was at least one variant. I run into oddball cards like this occasionally - cards that bridge the gap between sports and non-sports.

Jess


quote:
Originally posted by aeolus14ummbra:
Regarding the Mickey Mantle card, I’m just curious which bookstore chain is listed on the back? I’ve seen (and have) one that says Waldenbooks and another one that says B. Daltons. I’ve heard there was one with no bookstore mentioned, but I’ve never come across it yet (assuming it even exists?)
 
Posts: 2089 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hey Raven,

I bought that one maybe five years ago. In the 90's I was thinking of buying a Mantle card. A local shop had his '68 Topps (his last year) for about $250 which might have been the upper end of the value for NM-Mt at the time. That was a bit rich for me so I passed. It looks like I can get a card that looks NM (ungraded) for as little as $80-90 if I shop around but I have some of the novelty/promo cards of the 90's now (die-cut and foil promo set and an insert that a dealer was having a special on at a show).

Jess


quote:
Originally posted by Raven:
quote:
Originally posted by catskilleagle:
Here's a promo card for the 1986 paperback release of "The Mick," Mickie Mantle's autobiography.




Hey Jess,

I have that Mantle promo and he signed it at one of his appearances for the book. I didn't get it in person, bought it sometime shortly afterwards. Never got it authenticated, but it looks good to me. At that time Mantle was long retired and signing all over the place as his second job. He was practically keeping up with the forgers. Big Grin And if you wanted his autograph, it wasn't fashionable to get it on cardstock. I think that might be the only Mantle autograph I have and its a promo card alright.
 
Posts: 2089 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I posted this card in another thread but it applies here too as an oddball promo from the 80's. It has the front design of Bob Uecker's 1963 Topps baseball card but the back promotes a 1988 bike ride/festival raising money for the United Performing Arts Fund. Uecker was the honorary chairman.


 
Posts: 2089 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Aeolus,

I looked into this. I have seen the one that has the Waldenbooks logo and another one that has the Crown Books logo. I did find one of the ones you mentioned that are blank where the logo would be (shown below with the B. Dalton variant_.

Jess






quote:
Originally posted by aeolus14ummbra:
Regarding the Mickey Mantle card, I’m just curious which bookstore chain is listed on the back? I’ve seen (and have) one that says Waldenbooks and another one that says B. Daltons. I’ve heard there was one with no bookstore mentioned, but I’ve never come across it yet (assuming it even exists?)
 
Posts: 2089 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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