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1964 Philadelphia Football Cards

1964 Philadelphia Football Cards

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In 1964, the Philadelphia Gum Company secured the rights to produce cards featuring NFL players. 1964 Philadelphia Football was born. It was quite the coup given the fact that the company's longtime rival, Topps,  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 producing cards for the upstart American Football League.

As a result, Philadelphia began a four-year string of NFL sets, each containing 198 cards and measuring the standard 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches. The key rookie cards in 1964 Philadelphia Football are Herb Adderley (#71) and Merlin Olsen (#91). Other rookies include John Mackey (#3), Willie Davis (#72) and Jim Johnson (#161), to name a few. Veterans anchoring the set include Johnny Unitas (#12), Mike Ditka (#17), Jim Brown (#30), Bob Lilly (#48), Paul Hornung (#78) and Bart Starr (#79).


The design of the 1964 Philadelphia Football cards is fairly basic. The posed player photographs are accompanied only by a solid-colored block at the bottom that contains the player's name, team and position. The color of the box was determined by which team is featured. A white border runs around the card and also runs between the photo and the block of text. The card 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 statistics to the right. There are two blocks below that. The first has either yearly and career statistics or a short biography for players whose positions didn't involve statistics. The larger block includes a comical cartoon about the player.

Checklist Notes and Errors

The set is uniquely 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 diagram of a team play, the team's coach and the home stadium. This system makes it very simple to collate. The play cards are of interest to collectors for featuring Hall of Fame coaches like Vince Lombardi (#84), George Halas (#28) Don Shula (#14) and Tom Landry (#56). There are a handful of uncorrected error cards most having to do with name spellings as is the case with Herb Adderley's rookie card or other typographical mistakes. There are also two checklist cards, which identify the year as 1963. The date was never corrected. No known variations are said to exist within the set.


One interesting note about the 1964 Philadelphia Football card set is the pink Cadillac that appears in the background of all the cards of players on the Cleveland Browns. 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 for it being included, it makes those cards stand out.

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Key Cards

Key 1964 Philadelphia Football Cards

Jim Brown #30

1964 Philadelphia Football Cards 22
Checklist 2 #198

1964 Philadelphia Football Cards 23
Merlin Olsen RC #91

1964 Philadelphia Football Cards 24
John Unitas #12

1964 Philadelphia Football Cards 25

Set Checklist

1964 Philadelphia Football Set Checklist

Base Set Checklist

Featuring 198 cards

1 Raymond Berry
2 Tom Gilburg
3 John Mackey RC
4 Gino Marchetti
5 Jim Martin
6 Tom Matte RC
7 Jimmy Orr
8 Jim Parker
9 Bill Pellington
10 Alex Sandusky
11 Dick Szymanski
12 Johnny Unitas
13 Colts Team
14 Colts Play of the Year
15 Doug Atkins
16 Ron Bull
17 Mike Ditka
18 Joe Fortunato
19 Willie Galimore
20 Joe Marconi
21 Bennie McRae RC
22 Johnny Morris
23 Richie Petitbon
24 Mike Pyle
25 Roosevelt Taylor RC
26 Bill Wade
27 Bears Team
28 Bears Play of the Year
29 John Brewer
30 Jim Brown
31 Gary Collins RC
32 Vince Costello
33 Galen Fiss
34 Bill Glass
35 Ernie Green RC
36 Rich Kreitling
37 John Morrow
38 Frank Ryan
39 Charley Scales RC
40 Dick Schafrath RC
41 Browns Team
42 Browns Play of the Year
43 Don Bishop
44 Frank Clarke RC
45 Mike Connelly
46 Lee Folkins
47 Cornell Green RC
48 Bob Lilly
49 Amos Marsh
50 Tommy McDonald
51 Don Meredith
52 Pettis Norman RC
53 Don Perkins
54 Guy Reese
55 Cowboys Team
56 Cowboys Play of the Year
57 Terry Barr
58 Roger Brown
59 Gail Cogdill
60 John Gordy
61 Dick Lane
62 Yale Lary
63 Dan Lewis
64 Darris McCord
65 Earl Morrall
66 Joe Schmidt
67 Pat Studstill RC
68 Wayne Walker RC
69 Lions Team
70 Lions Play of the Year
71 Herb Adderley RC
72 Willie Davis RC
73 Forrest Gregg
74 Paul Hornung
75 Henry Jordan
76 Jerry Kramer
77 Tom Moore
78 Jim Ringo
79 Bart Starr
80 Jim Taylor
81 Jesse Whittenton RC
82 Willie Wood
83 Packers Team
84 Packers Play of the Year
85 Jon Arnett
86 Pervis Atkins RC
87 Dick Bass
88 Carroll Dale
89 Roman Gabriel
90 Ed Meador
91 Merlin Olsen RC
92 Jack Pardee RC
93 Jim Phillips
94 Carver Shannon
95 Frank Varrichione
96 Danny Villanueva
97 Rams Team
98 Rams Play of the Year
99 Grady Alderman RC
100 Larry Bowie
101 Bill Brown RC
102 Paul Flatley RC
103 Rip Hawkins
104 Jim Marshall
105 Tommy Mason
106 Jim Prestel
107 Jerry Reichow
108 Ed Sharockman
109 Fran Tarkenton
110 Mick Tingelhoff RC
111 Vikings Team
112 Vikings Play of the Year
113 Erich Barnes
114 Roosevelt Brown
115 Don Chandler
116 Darrell Dess
117 Frank Gifford
118 Dick James
119 Jim Katcavage
120 John LoVetere
121 Dick Lynch RC
122 Jim Patton
123 Del Shofner
124 Y.A. Tittle
125 Giants Team
126 Giants Play of the Year
127 Sam Baker
128 Maxie Baughan
129 Timmy Brown
130 Mike Clark
131 Irv Cross RC
132 Ted Dean
133 Ron Goodwin
134 King Hill
135 Clarence Peaks
136 Pete Retzlaff
137 Jim Schrader
138 Norm Snead
139 Eagles Team
140 Eagles Play of the Year
141 Gary Ballman RC
142 Charley Bradshaw RC
143 Ed Brown
144 John Henry Johnson
145 Joe Krupa
146 Red Mack
147 Lou Michaels
148 Buzz Nutter
149 Myron Pottios
150 John Reger
151 Mike Sandusky
152 Clendon Thomas
153 Steelers Team
154 Steelers Play of the Year
155 Kermit Alexander RC
156 Bernie Casey
157 Dan Colchico
158 Clyde Conner
159 Tommy Davis
160 Matt Hazeltine
161 Jim Johnson RC
162 Don Lisbon RC
163 Lamar McHan
164 Bob St. Clair
165 J.D. Smith
166 Abe Woodson
167 49ers Team
168 49ers Play of the Year
169 Garland Boyette UER
170 Bobby Joe Conrad
171 Bob DeMarco RC
172 Ken Gray RC
173 Jimmy Hill
174 Charley Johnson
175 Ernie McMillan
176 Dale Meinert
177 Luke Owens
178 Sonny Randle
179 Joe Robb
180 Bill Stacy
181 Cardinals Team
182 Cardinals Play of the Year
183 Bill Barnes
184 Don Bosseler
185 Sam Huff
186 Sonny Jurgensen
187 Bob Khayat
188 Riley Mattson
189 Bobby Mitchell
190 John Nisby
191 Vince Promuto
192 Joe Rutgens
193 Lonnie Sanders
194 Jim Steffen
195 Redskins Team
196 Redskins Play of the Year
197 Checklist 1 UER
198 Checklist 2 UER

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Chris is an avid vintage sports card collector who is The Cardboard Connection's resident expert of all things vintage.

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