Copyright © 1998-2009 by Bill Cotter
Back in the 50s, gum cards were a popular item. While we have "sports" and "non-sport" collectors today, back then the cards were simply called gum cards, and for a very good reason. They came with a slab of gum, which, as I recall, was never particularly tasty. The main reason for plunking down 5 or 10 cents was for the cards.
Baseball cards were probably the biggest draw then and now, but there were plenty of other subjects to chose from. One of my favorite sets is the Zorro set of 88 cards. Taken from color photos of the first 13 episodes, the cards were published by Topps, one of the major card companies at the time.
Each card featured a photo on the front, with a brief description on the back. Unlike many other sets, the photos and text actually match each other, and the text is accurate. All-in-all, this is a great collectible for fans of the Disney version of Zorro. The set has become quite valuable in recent years, and collectors can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a set in good condition.
Here's a complete checklist of the American cards.
Click on each of the links below for a view of the American cards
When I was collecting my set of Zorro cards, I was surprised when one of them arrived in the mail. Instead of the bright colors of the cards I had already, this one looked more like a colorized version of a black-and-white photo. Another change was the lack of a title on the front, for there was only a logo in the corner. The biggest difference, though, was on the rear, for the text was printed in both English and French.
This one card led me on a search for the rest of the set, a task made more complicated by the fact that no one else seemed to know about these cards, and thus couldn't tell me how many cards were in the set. I eventually learned that there were from a company named Parkhurst, and that there are 50 of them in the set.
When I finally assembled a complete set, I found another difference between the American and Canadian sets. Many of the photos were cropped differently, such as this example below. The American card is on the left. These two cards, by the way, shared the same title, but the text was different, as can be seen below. In most cases, the same photo has completely different titles and text.
Here's a complete checklist of the Canadian cards. I couldn't figure out how to get FrontPage to properly display all of the French accents, so please excuse any grammatical errors below!
Click on each of the links below for a view of the Canadian cards
Zorro was one of several series featured in these American cards from the 1960's. The others were Robin Hood, Daktari, Flipper and Kung Fu. There were 100 cards in the set, with the Zorro cards being numbers 83-100. The cards are small, a bit less than 2x2.75 inches, and have blank cardboard backs without any printing. There is no pattern to the order of the cards, but they are from the Monastario episodes.
I found these three cards on eBay. I don't
have any information yet as to the number of cards in the set. If you have
any information please let me know.