A&BC Chewing Gum produced football cards from 1958/59 until 1974/75. In each
case they produced a piece of gum, added one or more cards, and wrapped
them in a wax wrapper. At the time that children opened these wrappers they
almost certainly discarded almost every one, but thankfully not every one.
Over time the wrappers themselves have become very collectable and valuable
items. However, over time the assignment of wrappers to seasons and sets
of football cards has in some cases become lost. Most of A&BC's wrappers do not indicate
the particular year or set, most are just called 'Footballer'.
While I collected a small number of A&BC Chewing Gum cards as a boy I did not keep any of my wrappers. When I first created this website in 1998 I had no idea which wrappers went with which cards, but over time I have been sent a number of wrapper images and some advice on which sets they belong to. The cards from 1965/66 onwards are fairly easy to assign to sets, but for the early years there is still a lot of uncertainty. With the help of a number of collectors, including Barry, Jerry, Graham and Frank, I have attempted to update my records of the wrappers. If you know of additional information, either to back up what I am proposing, or to argue against it, or if you have images of any of the 'missing' wrappers, please use the 'Send me email' link in the header to get in touch.
I do not believe that A&BC Chewing Gum issued 'multi-card' packs
The image of the footballer heading
the ball on these wrappers has become known as the 'Feyenoord-style' player
image, due to the colours of the shirt. The blue wrappers have the A&BC
Chewing Gum address as London, again pre-dating the move to Essex. There
is mention of the licence agreement with Topps Chewing Gum Inc., believed
to date from 1959, and the four card wrapper has an advertisement for Bazooka
The assignment of the green wrappers
to the 1960/61 set is not certain. The green wrappers have the A&BC
Chewing Gum address as Harold Hill, Romford, Essex a move understood to
have occurred in late 1959. It seems strange, and unusual, that A&BC
would use the same wrapper image over two years but it is important to remember
that A&BC moved partly because they had a fire at their London premises.
Is it possible that after the fire it was easiest to just use the previous
year's wrapper and change the colours while they concentrated on
This wrapper has the Essex address,
and mentions the licence agreement with Topps, dating the wrapper to post-1959
on both counts. It is a return to the Topstars name, using the same footballer
image from the 1958/59 set though with a white rather than orange shirt.
The clue to this assignment is the mention of 'Autographed!' cards, with
the 1961/62 set being the only set of autographed photo cards from this
Apparently there are A&BC wrappers
with orange and blue rectangles, with the words 'Footballer Picture Card
Bubble Gum'. I have seen an image of the 1d wrapper, and therefore assume
that there was also a three cards for 2d wrapper. I have not seen a clear
enough image of these wrappers to locate any information about address or
licence agreements, but I have seen a previous collectors' magazine
which assigns this wrapper to this set.
The 1963/64 set of 110 was issued in
two Series. There are believed to be two options for purchasing these cards,
one card for 1d or three cards for 2d. The 1d wrapper mentions the fact
that you could also buy the cards in 2d packs, stating 'Extra card free
with 2d Footballer'.
The 1964/65 set of 149 cards was issued
in three Series. The pack costing 2d contained two cards. It is not known
whether a 1 card for 1d pack was also available. It is possible that this
was the first year when A&BC only offered one option for you to buy your cards.
Although the wrapper says six
cards, each card had two photos, so the purchaser was actually getting
three cards for 3d.
For the first time A&BC do not tell you how many cards you got
for your 3d, although the wrapper does advertise the fact that you got a 'pin-up' as an extra.
A set of 110 cards issued in two
Series. I'm not sure how many cards you got with each 3d pack, but with
Series 1 you automatically got a nice paper pennant in each pack, and
with Series 2 a nice metalised team emblem.
The wrappers from the following years are fairly easy to identify and
well accepted by collectors. Links to images and the 'special offers'
from each year are shown below: