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1962 Topps Mars Attacks! Display Box and Wrapper
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $11,163
Both in terms of rarity and desirability, few items in the the entire world of nonsports-card collecting can compare with this spectacular piece: an original five-cent Mars Attacks! display box. It is a legendary rarity among card and display-box collectors. This is the very first Mars Attacks! display box we have ever had the privilege of offering. In addition, the box is accompanied by an original Mars Attacks! wrapper.
The release of the Mars Attacks! set in 1962 by Topps was a watershed event in the history of nonsports cards. The set, which tells the story of Martians attacking planet Earth, featured colorful, detailed artwork depicting some of the most gruesome graphics ever seen on cards, which of course made it a "must have" for any red-blooded American child. The fact that the set was condemned by most parents and teachers (how many cards were confiscated at school is anyone's guess) only served to further elevate its status within the hierarchy of trading cards being bartered on the nation's playgrounds that summer. Today Mars Attacks! cards are universally recognized as nonsport-card classics. They remain as popular as when first issued in 1962, and any and all significant items relating to the set are highly prized by advanced collectors. 1) Five-Cent Mars Attacks! Display Box. This is one of the rarest of all nonsports display boxes and a "Holy Grail" for nearly all Mars Attacks! collectors. It is inexplicable why this display box is so rare. But it is. This is the first example we have ever offered and we can only recall having seen two others at auction over the past ten years. Topps designed the Mars Attacks display box to capture the attention of youngsters at candy stores, as well as to generate interest, intrigue, and sales. It succeeded on all levels. The top of the box features a weapon-wielding Martian who is pointing the way to Earth's destruction, with comrades, billowing smoke, and invading spaceships in the background. The set name "Mars Attacks!" is printed in large white letters, with "Space Adventure Bubble Gum" printed directly below in black. All of the side panels display the same lettering, but with different graphics. The front and rear panels each picture a different illustration of a weapon-wielding Martian, while the left and right side panels each picture a Martian spacecraft destroying a building. Further noted on the two side panels is the fact that this box once housed twenty-four packs of Mars Attacks! cards. The box (8 x 3.75 x 1.75 inches) displays complete separation of the top lid along the perforated rear seam (not uncommon with gum-card counter-display boxes, as the box lid was normally bent back along that seam when displayed on a retail counter); however, it is complete as issued without any major tears and/or tape repair that commonly plague trading-card display boxes. Without regard to the separation, the box displays only modest handling wear and is in Very Good to Excellent condition overall. 2) Mars Attacks! Five-Cent Wrapper. The Mars Attacks! wrapper may not be quite as rare as the display box, but it is a prize in its own right, and one of the rarest and most desirable of all Topps nonsports wrappers. This is the first example we have had in years. The colorful yellow wrapper features the name of the set in "blood-red" letters along with an illustration of a menacing Martian. The side of the wrapper, that would be seen underneath when fully folded, entices kids with the joys that await them inside: "See flying saucers destroy Earth's largest cities/See giant insects crush everything in their path/See Earth's armies on Mars fighting against Super Weapons/Collect the entire set of 55 Mars Attacks cards." What youngster could resist such promises!? The wrapper (5.75 x 5 inches) displays normal fold lines and only very light wear, with no tears. In Excellent condition. Total 2 items (display box and wrapper). Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $11,163
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