The world of vintage sports cards is filled with oddball items that don’t draw as much mainstream attention as Honus Wagner’s famous T206 or a Mickey Mantle Rookie. I try to seek out the more esoteric sets from the vintage days and one of my favorite sets is from the early 60s.
According to many sources, Bell Brand ran from 1958-1962 and printed classic cards of Dodgers and Rams players. What makes the Bell Brand set extra special to me is that these cards were put inside a bag of potato chips! Needless to say, condition is rough on these cards. When you do find one in good condition I think the colors are stunning and although the design is basic I find the aesthetics to be much cooler than other releases of that era. Also, the Bell Brand chips were released almost exclusively in Southern California so some collectors in other parts of the countries may have more difficult time tracking these things down at hobby shops or shows.
I was lucky enough to inherit several of the cards from the 1961 set from my father when I was younger. He gave me the proverbial shoe box full of his old cards and among the cooler cards in that box were the Bell Brand Dodger cards. My father’s donation to my collection sparked an interest in me to start collecting these beauties and I’ve put together a decent amount of them.
The story of 1961 Dodgers Bell Brand in my collection highlights two important aspects of collecting: vintage cards and collecting with your Dad. I was extremely lucky to have a supportive Dad who taught me a lot about cards when I was younger. Because of him I have some gems in my collection including these four cards:
As you can see, the 7-year-old version of my father drew on the cards with a permanent marker! I guess he thought beards and prison uniforms were funny. His drawings really do make the cards more unique and although they don’t have much resale value – I consider these four cards extremely valuable and I don’t plan on getting rid of them!