1964 Philadelphia Football Cards
In 1964, the Philadelphia Gum Company wrested away the rights to produce cards featuring NFL players away from Topps, who had been making them since 1956. The rights were negotiated in a back-room deal with a former Topps employee, so Topps had little recourse but to switch over to the AFL. As a result, Philadelphia began a four-year string of NFL sets, each containing 198 cards.
Card fronts were pretty basic. The posed player photos were accompanied only by a solid-colored block at the bottom that contained the player's name, team and position. The color of the box was determined by which team was featured. A white border ran around the card, also running between the photo and the block of text. Backs are printed with light blue, featuring a helmet-shaped icon with a card number inside, and the player's name, team, position and vital stats to the right. There are two blocks below that. The first has either year/life statistics or a short biography for the players whose positions didn't involve stats. The larger block included a cartoon about the player.
The set is numbered according to team, with players arranged in alphabetical order by their last name. There are 14 cards for every team, with 12 players, a team photo and a play card that shows a drawing of the play, the team's coach and the home stadium. The play cards are of interest to collectors for featuring Hall of Fame coaches like Vince Lombardi, Don Shula and Tom Landry. There are also two checklist cards, which identify the year as 1963. The date was never corrected.
One interesting thing about the set is the pink Cadillac that appears in the background of all the cards of Browns players. Hobbyists have claimed it was a car that Jim Brown owned, others say it was a car his dealership sold, and others insist that the pictures were merely taken next to a parking lot. Whatever the reason it was included, it makes the Cleveland players stand out. Key rookies include Herb Adderley, Merlin Olsen, John Mackey, Willie Davis and Jim Johnson.
Key 1964 Philadelphia Football Cards:
1964 Philadelphia Don Meredith Dallas Cowboys # 51
1964 Philadelphia #179 Joe Robb Cardinals PSA 9
1964 Philadelphia Green Bay Packers #84 Lombardi GAI 7.5 PSA ? FREESHIP
1964 PHILADELPHIA " COWBOYS' PLAY OF THE YEAR " # 56
1964 Philadelphia Football Card Checklist
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