On the way home from a out-of-state Thanksgiving, I got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. As I was sitting there, crawling along the Interstate, it occurred to me that I wasn’t far from a flea market that I’d driven past many times before… And each time I’d previously driven past the flea market, I thought about how I should stop by one day and see if I could replicate one of Fuji’s trademarked “Flea Market Finds”.
Since traffic was preventing me from getting anywhere anytime soon, I decided to pull off the highway and check things out.
There were a fair number of collectibles at this flea market, but not much in terms of sports collectibles. However, I did find one vendor who had a table that was piled up with a mishmash of things. Most of what I could see didn’t excite me, but I figured I’d dig a little deeper to see what I could find.
Down underneath some junk wax boxes I found this…
…And a heavenly choir broke out in song.
Most of you aren’t even going to know what this is, but I was familiar with it from The Topps Archives as well as browsing COMC for 1970’s Soccer cards… Back in the 1970’s, soccer was “The Next Big Thing” (unlike today, when it’s “The Next Big Thing”), and back then it was the North American Soccer League that was supposed to deliver us to the promised land. The NASL was the first soccer league to have any success in North America, and it managed to lure a number of big international stars here… George Best, Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Neeskens, Rodney Marsh, Giorgio Chinaglia, Johann Cruyff and, most famously, Pelé.
Getting back to the flea market… there in front of me was a nearly full wax box of an obscure 1970’s Topps product that’s pretty much “low supply, low demand”… but the fact that it’s obscure and Topps made me want it… Plus, I followed the NASL a little bit back in the day and thought it would be cool to have a set of the stickers.
I made a clumsy attempt at haggling and got the box for $10. I don’t think I got the deal of the century, but I think I did OK… Not to mention that it gave me something a lot more fun to focus on than the traffic I’d be facing in the remaining miles home.
Before I get into the stickers themselves, I’ll share a few more photos of the box and packs…
I thought this was interesting… Rather than a sticker album, the back of the wrapper featured an offer for a “Soccer Is A Kick In The Grass” poster that had spots for all of the stickers in the set.
This poster might be especially rare, because I could not find an eBay listing or even an image.
I know some of you like to know what the bubble gum from an old pack looks like, so here you go.
No, I did not try to chew the gum, nor smell it… or even touch it more than necessary.
I’ve only busted a handful of packs so far, but I’ll share a few of the stickers to give you a feel for what they’re like…
Can you get much more 1970’s than this Minnesota Kicks logo?
As with Wacky Packages and Fleer stickers, the sticker part is die cut.
The back of many of the stickers featured part of a puzzle… I’ll share the completed puzzles after I finish off the set (and when buying 32 packs of cards, I’d damn well better be able to build a 33-sticker set from it).
This next sticker is the Houston Hurricane
The back of the Hurricane sticker featuers part of the green-bordered puzzle, which features Werner Roth. Roth was one of the non-Import stars of the Cosmos; he was born in Yugoslavia but came to the United States when he was 8.
The Atlanta Chiefs is the only logo I’ve pulled so far that does not feature a soccer ball.
More of the Werner Roth puzzle…
A number of the cards featured stickers of 4 team names, and I don’t think the fonts have anything to do with anything; just different fonts for the different teams.
The backs of the 4-in-1 stickers all seem to have “How To” lessons on the back.
So that’s a general overview of this box and this set… I’ll be back with more stickers after I’ve had time to go through them some more.