Sunday, June 9, 2013

Attention K Mart Shoppers, Also Kay Bee, Woolworth, Toys R Us, Ames, Circle K, Rite Aid, and Revco Shoppers!!

Yesterday I wrote about my memories of the 1982 K Mart set.

The forum post I read got me curious about other K Mart/Topps sets. A look at the Standard Catalog gave me four more 33 card boxed sets. They came out from 1987 - 1990.

That led to a thought about other retailers that worked with Topps and I've come up with a list that includes seven more stores....Kay Bee, Woolworth, Revco, Rite Aid, Toys R Us, Ames, and Circle K. After the '82 K Mart set, these sets were produced between 1985 and 1993.

I don't know if Topps if its bad luck to do business with Topps, but of these eight retailers, four (Ames, Woolworth, Revco, and Kaybee) are dead. K Mart and Toys R Us have declined steadily (Walmart passed KMart as the #1 US retailer and Toys R Us as the #1 toy seller) and Circle K has gone through bankruptcy. Only Rite Aid seems to have escaped the curse of Topps.

I'm planning to try to pick up all of the boxed sets put out by these various retailers. Most are 33 card sets, though a few have 44. I'm also keeping my focus to the Topps sets. Fleer worked with some retailers too, but right now I'm going to pass on them.

Here's the list of retailers and their Toops boxed sets that I've come up with:

Ames: 1989, 1990
Circle K: 1985
K Mart: 1982, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990
Kay Bee: 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990
Revco: 1988
Rite Aid: 1988
Toys R Us: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993
Woolworth: 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991

That makes a total of 28 different boxed sets. Right now I've got 24 of them with three more on the way. They were fairly easy to find, with just a couple that required a bit more sleuthing. Most could be had for a couple bucks, some even less, a few a bit more.

My plan is to have a post about a particular retailer's sets once I've got all from that store. I'll start tomorrow with the two drug stores, Revco and Rite Aid, since they each had only one set.

A couple more things...

...Some of the earlier boxed sets not only came with the cards, but they also had a stick of gum. A couple of the boxes I bought were still in their original cellophane wrap, meaning...

....30 year old gum!! Topps gum was also really hard when it was pack hard to you think this stuff is now??? I do NOT plan to find out!!!

...Topps also worked with some food companies (Drakes, Quaker Oats, and Purina). At this point I'm skipping them and sticking to the retailers. Some day I'll go back and add them.


  1. A few years ago, I bought a wax box of Topps 87 baseball. The gum was almost 30 years old. Call me stupid, but curiosity got the best of me. I tried it. It literally disintegrates into non-chewy granules. Not good. It just puts a big stain on the card now.

  2. I also have tried 30 year old gum before. Don't do it.

  3. Please don't show any of the 1990 Kmart cards. There are so many in repacks I never want to see another one again.

  4. DON'T DO IT! I once shared in the others curiosity and ate a piece of gum from a 1982 Wax Pack well after 1982 (think 1998/99). It turns to dust and getting the taste and sensation out of your mouth takes hours. I believe it would be banned by the Geneva Convention if they knew about it.

    That said, I must say that is quite an impressive graphic of 80's boxed sets there.

  5. Despite the warnings, I say do it! Sounds like something you need to experience for yourself. I'm inclined to go buy some old, junk wax so I can join the 30 year old gum chewers club.

  6. Great idea for a project. Even as a kid, those K-Mart sets got a bad rep. Nobody on our block wanted to trade for them... nobody. As for those Toys R Us sets... I think they're some of the coolest cards from the era. I love that they kept the (awesome) design the same and just changed the colors. One of these days, I'll track down those four sets.