York Peanut Butter collectibles

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It’s time for another trip down memory lane. In fact this one might jog a memory or two, but that may be it. Often with these stories I hear back from many readers who remember this or collecting that, this time I think it may be different in the case of the first part of this story.

I thought I had seen most everything collectible, yet just last week I stumbled across something pretty neat. I have always planned on doing a story about the little stop sign shaped photos that were found under the lids of York Peanut butter throughout the sixties. I have touched on these great, old colour octagon cards before and wanted to bring them to life again. So, while researching the story, I checked a few of my favourite sources for old memorabilia and didn’t I get a surprise.

Late in the hockey season of 1960-61, York Peanut butter put out a set of brilliant black and white post card size photos of 37 cards, 19 Habs and 18 Leafs. (Only Johnny Bower is depicted in the set where the Habs have both goalies issued) The catch, to obtain one single card and they were available by mail-in only, no money was required, but you needed two proofs of purchase of York Peanut butter.

Now wait a minute. Why have I never seen or heard of these great old cards? Issued late in the season, the cards likely did not garner much interest resulting in a short print. I have included a couple of neat ones from the set; however, there are many more fine examples. A Dave Keon photo even before he had a regular hockey card.

Ever wonder why Leafs and Habs fans are so passionate about the game and their teams? Included in the set are no fewer than 17 hall-of-famers from that long ago era. Having learned from the late release of these black and whites, York rebounded in 1961 with three successive years of really neat collectibles, which, although very tough to find, remains very popular even today.

York decided to hide photos of NHL players under the lids of their Peanut Butter jars in 1961 and again in 1963. Shaped in an octagon, the colourful stop sign sets became a standard to look forward too. York also added members of the Detroit Redwings to these sets and I have never found the explanation as to why the Bruins, Hawks and Rangers were omitted.

In 1963, the company tried something different by placing iron-on transfers into the lids and bags of York Salted peanuts. The iron-ons were head and shoulder pictures with an autograph underneath. Again Detroit was added to the set of 36 transfers that surely had moms ironing up a storm that winter.

After a two year absence the company was back in the collectible game with their stop signs, however this time they were pictures of game action. The photos were taken from printed pictures from the popular weekend magazine photos that were sought after by every hockey fan each Saturday.

A great addition to any memorabilia collection, except these cards and iron-on transfers will cost you a small fortune. Condition sensitive the black and white 1961 set alone is worth about $4,000.

Organizations: York Peanut butter, Habs, NHL Detroit Redwings Bruins

Geographic location: York

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