This page will contain wikis about Tommy Hilfiger, as they become available.|
Thomas Jacob "Tommy" Hilfiger (born in Elmira, New York, on March 24, 1951) is a world-famous fashion designer best known for his eponymous "Tommy Hilfiger" and "Tommy" brands.Tommy Hilfiger logo.
Hilfiger grew up one of nine children in an Irish Catholic family in Elmira, a small town close to Cornell University. He is a graduate of Elmira Free Academy. His initial foray into fashion was a store, The People's Place. The store was a big draw for the local teen crowd in Elmira because it often held live broadcasts from local radio personalities, sold rock and roll related clothing including Kiss and Aerosmith belt buckles, and had a discreet head shop upstairs which sold drug related paraphernalia such as bongs, roach clips, and incense. After the business went bankrupt, Hilfiger moved to New York City in 1979 to pursue a career as a fashion designer.
The building in which The People's Place was located was torn down in the late 1990s to make way for First Arena, home to the United Hockey League's Elmira Jackals. Hilfiger reportedly contributed funding to the building of the arena, but declined to have it named after him, according to news reports from the time of construction.
In 1984, he founded the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation (NYSE:TOM), introducing his signature menswear collection. By 2004 the company had 5,400 employees and revenues in excess of $1.8 billion. Hilfiger was named Menswear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1995. In August 2005 Hilfiger announced he was selling his company. The company was purchased by Apax Partners for $1.6 billion, or $16.80 a share, all in cash.
In 2005, a CBS TV reality show called The Cut tracked the progress of sixteen contestants as they competed for a design job with Hilfiger in similar fashion to Donald Trump's The Apprentice. In the end Hilfiger chose Chris Cortez.
Hilfiger is married and has four children. His daughter Ally Hilfiger was featured in the MTV reality show Rich Girls.
Hilfiger has been criticised for manufacturing clothes in sweatshop conditions in the US territory of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. As a US Commonwealth, clothes made there can be labeled "Made in the USA" but federal labor laws including the minimum wage do not apply. In March 2000, the company (along with other defendants) settled a class action suit brought by Saipan garment workers which had alleged that their working conditions amounted to indentured servitude. 
In 2000, a false rumour circulated on the internet that Hilfiger had made a racist remark on The Oprah Winfrey Show along the lines that he didn't want Asians wearing his clothing.  Despite this being proven false, continued negative perceptions of Hilfiger as a fashion profiteer are reflected by his being unflatteringly portrayed as "Timmi Hilnigger" in the Spike Lee feature film Bamboozled.
True Star is a fragrance created by Tommy Hilfiger along with spokesperson Beyoncé Knowles. Hilfiger has also released True Star Gold.
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Hilfiger has also released True Star Gold. Topps made its first foray into the world of games in July 2003 by acquiring the game company WizKids for $28.4 million in cash. True Star is a fragrance created by Tommy Hilfiger along with spokesperson Beyoncé Knowles. The Topps Pokémon cards were purely for entertainment and collecting, but a new niche of collectible card games was also developing during this period (a Pokémon trading card game was produced simultaneously by Wizards of the Coast).  Despite this being proven false, continued negative perceptions of Hilfiger as a fashion profiteer are reflected by his being unflatteringly portrayed as "Timmi Hilnigger" in the Spike Lee feature film Bamboozled. Pokémon cards would accomplish the same feat for a few years starting in 1999. In 2000, a false rumour circulated on the internet that Hilfiger had made a racist remark on The Oprah Winfrey Show along the lines that he didn't want Asians wearing his clothing. For a period beginning in 1973, the Wacky Packages stickers managed to outsell Topps baseball cards, becoming the first product to do so since the company's early days as purely a gum and candy maker.
. Although baseball cards have been Topps's most consistently profitable item, certain fads have occasionally produced spikes in popularity for non-sports items. In March 2000, the company (along with other defendants) settled a class action suit brought by Saipan garment workers which had alleged that their working conditions amounted to indentured servitude. Kennedy. As a US Commonwealth, clothes made there can be labeled "Made in the USA" but federal labor laws including the minimum wage do not apply. Topps has also covered celebrities and other cultural phenomena ranging from The Beatles to the life story of John F. Hilfiger has been criticised for manufacturing clothes in sweatshop conditions in the US territory of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. Examples of the latter include The Waltons, The Mod Squad, Emergency!, Welcome Back Kotter, Mork and Mindy, and many others.
His daughter Ally Hilfiger was featured in the MTV reality show Rich Girls. Topps has also issued trading card series for movies, including the Star Wars and Star Trek series, and a number of popular television programs. Hilfiger is married and has four children. Among Topps's most notable achievements in this area have been Wacky Packages, a takeoff on various household consumer products, and a series of stickers called Garbage Pail Kids, a parody of the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. In the end Hilfiger chose Chris Cortez. These artistic talents carried over into more general efforts at parody as well. In 2005, a CBS TV reality show called The Cut tracked the progress of sixteen contestants as they competed for a design job with Hilfiger in similar fashion to Donald Trump's The Apprentice. The 1962 Mars Attacks cards, sketched by Wood and Powell and painted by Norman Saunders, later inspired a Tim Burton movie.
The company was purchased by Apax Partners for $1.6 billion, or $16.80 a share, all in cash. Drawing on their previous work, these artists were adept at things like mixing humor and horror, as with the Funny Monsters cards in 1959. In August 2005 Hilfiger announced he was selling his company. Some artists might work only on a project or two; others were regulars, like Art Spiegelman, who worked for Topps for over twenty years. Hilfiger was named Menswear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1995. They also brought in others from the underground comix movement, including Bill Griffith and Kim Deitch. By 2004 the company had 5,400 employees and revenues in excess of $1.8 billion. Topps creative directors Woody Gelman and Len Brown capitalized by hiring a number of artists from the industry, such as Jack Davis, Wally Wood, and Bob Powell.
In 1984, he founded the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation (NYSE:TOM), introducing his signature menswear collection. The shift from sports to other topics better suited the creative instincts of the artists and coincided with turmoil in the comic book industry over regulation by the Comics Code Authority. Hilfiger reportedly contributed funding to the building of the arena, but declined to have it named after him, according to news reports from the time of construction. Many Topps artists came from the world of comics and continued to work in that field as well. The building in which The People's Place was located was torn down in the late 1990s to make way for First Arena, home to the United Hockey League's Elmira Jackals. Topps has continued to create collectible cards and stickers on a variety of subjects, often centered around movies, TV shows, musicians, and other entertainment phenomena. After the business went bankrupt, Hilfiger moved to New York City in 1979 to pursue a career as a fashion designer. For example, the Space Race prompted a set of "Space Cards" in 1958.
The store was a big draw for the local teen crowd in Elmira because it often held live broadcasts from local radio personalities, sold rock and roll related clothing including Kiss and Aerosmith belt buckles, and had a discreet head shop upstairs which sold drug related paraphernalia such as bongs, roach clips, and incense. As its sports products relied more on photography, Topps redirected its artistic efforts toward editorial trading cards on themes inspired by popular culture. His initial foray into fashion was a store, The People's Place. Under pressure by shareholders, the company considered selling off its confectionery business in 2005, but was unable to find a buyer to meet its price and decided to cut management expenses instead. He is a graduate of Elmira Free Academy. One particular focus has been lollipops, such as Ring Pops. Hilfiger grew up one of nine children in an Irish Catholic family in Elmira, a small town close to Cornell University. In recent years, Topps has added more candy items without gum.
Thomas Jacob "Tommy" Hilfiger (born in Elmira, New York, on March 24, 1951) is a world-famous fashion designer best known for his eponymous "Tommy Hilfiger" and "Tommy" brands. Sales declined significantly in the 1970s, however, when this relatively hard gum was challenged by Bubble Yum, a new, softer form of bubblegum from Lifesavers. For quite a few years, the company stuck within familiar confines, and virtually all of these products involved gum in some way. Even though baseball cards became the company's primary focus during this period, Topps still developed a variety of candy items. In 1953, Topps began selling smaller penny pieces with the Bazooka Joe comic strip on the wrapper as an added attraction.
Unlike the gum sold with baseball cards, it was of better quality and capable of selling on its own merit. Bazooka was introduced in 1947 as a bar of gum that sold for five cents. The longest-lived Topps product line remains Bazooka bubblegum, small pieces of gum in patriotic red, white, and blue packaging. Its best-selling title was The X-Files, based on the Fox TV show.
Topps Comics specialized in licensed titles, particularly movie and television series tie-ins, though it also published a smattering of such original series as Cadillacs and Dinosaurs and several based on concepts by then-retired industry legend Jack Kirby. This division of the company published comic books from 1993 — during the first half-decade's comics-industry boom, which attacted many investors and new companies — through 1998. In imitation of Bowman and other competitors, Topps eventually also began producing trading cards and other collectibles for a variety of topics unrelated to sports. Other gum and candy products followed.
Originally, Topps was purely a gum company, and its first product was simply called "Topps gum". In a more recent addition to its lineup, Topps began producing cards for soccer in 1996, in partnership with Major League Soccer. Topps finally returned to basketball cards in 1992, several years after its competitors. It started again in 1969 and continued until 1982, then abandoned the market for another decade.
Topps first sold cards for basketball in 1957, but stopped after one season. This ultimately left the sport to Upper Deck, which emerged as the sole licensee when the league resumed play. However, anticipating the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Topps allowed its license for hockey to expire after the 2003-04 season. Topps then acquired the rights to use the O-Pee-Chee name on sports cards after that company was sold to Nestlé.
O-Pee-Chee had already obtained a license to print Topps baseball cards for the Canadian market, and for a number of years the two companies would produce often-identical cards for both sports, but each under its own brand for its respective market. After Parkhurst disappeared from the market in the 1960s, Topps then reached an agreement with O-Pee-Chee, another Canadian company, to jointly produce hockey cards. Topps did not make a serious effort to take on Parkhurst Products, the leading Canadian hockey card manufacturer, for a couple more years. at the time (Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, and New York Rangers).
After football, its next venture was into ice hockey, with a 1954 set featuring players from the four National Hockey League franchises located in the U.S. Topps also makes cards for other major American professional sports. The situation continued until growth in the sports card market generally prompted two new companies, Pro Set and Score, to start making football cards in 1989. In spite of the lack of competition, or perhaps to preempt it, Topps also created two sets of cards for the short-lived United States Football League in the 1980s.
After the AFL-NFL Merger was agreed to, Topps became the only major football card manufacturer beginning in 1968. Although more competitive for a time, the football card market was never as lucrative, so the other companies did not fight as hard over it. Philadelphia Gum then secured the NFL rights for 1964, forcing Topps to go for the AFL and leaving Fleer with no product in either baseball or football. Fleer produced a set for the AFL in 1960, then featured both leagues for one year before focusing on the AFL again.
However, the emergence of the American Football League in 1960 to compete with the established National Football League also allowed Topps's competitors, beginning with Fleer, to make inroads. Since then, Topps has sold football cards every season. After buying out Bowman, Topps took over the market the following year. For football cards Bowman dominated the field, and Topps did not try again until 1955, when it released an All-American set with a mix of active players and retired stars.
In addition to baseball, Topps also produced cards for American football in 1951, which are known as the Magic set. The 1964 set issued cards for 2 then-recently-dead players--Ken Hubbs of the Cubs with a different "In Memoriam" front design compared the the standard cards, and Colts pitcher Jim Umbricht's regular card with a special note on its back about his April 1964 death (from cancer). The 1959 set had card 550 as "Symbol Of Courage - Roy Campanella", with a color photo of the paralyzed former Dodger in his wheelchair and a black-and-white photo of him in uniform inserted to the upper left. On rare occasions, Topps issued special cards for players who had either died or had been injured.
It involved the clearly-readable obscenity on the bottom of the bat of Orioles infielder Billy Ripken. The most celebrated error in baseball-card history was not printed by Topps, but by competitor Fleer in 1989. The photo's cropping captured only the last 3 letters of one sign, so that the word "ASS" appears in vivid letters behind Sadecki. The full-figure pitching-pose of Sadecki is normal; the problem was with the advertising signs on the outfield fence that he posed in front of.
The prime example of this was the Topps 1964 card for Cardinals' pitcher Ray Sadecki (#147). Yet another class of card is the "unintentional error," in which something in the photo makes it look as if an actual error has occurred. This gives the card a "3-D" look. An interesting type of error is the print separation.
These are generally considered "ghost cards". Another error type is when the back stats are overprinted on the front of the card. Anticipating that possibility, Topps substituted the term "Washington Nat'l League" onto early-series Padres' cards, since the nickname of the potentially re-located team was not known. This came about when there was a strong possibility that the San Diego Padres might move to Washington after the 1973 season.
The 1974 "Washington Nat'l League" cards are considered errors too, but were corrected during the run. In addition, misspelled words/names, print blotches, missing border sections, and different colored backgrounds (like the 1973 manager cards) are all considered errors although relatively few of these are corrected. Another type of card that is considered an error is the blankback (or blankfront) Most likely however, these are first run proofs from the company not intended for distribution. It is possible to find a centered back and off center front.
Most wrongbacks have the backs off center. This occurs when the sheet is mated with a back which is up side down or reversed. Another type of error is the "wrongback." You can find these in just about any year. The Reniff card's number was still incorrect in this second printing, so a third, corrected one of his was produced, resulting in 1 'true' Reniff card and 2 errors (each error card with a different photograph).
All remaining photos were re-cropped for the re-printing (e.g., some photos were moved a bit to one side, and others moved up or down), thus giving every card in the series an error card. The entire series was re-printed and re-distributed, with the photo inks in proper proportion and with 8 photos replaced with different poses (Reniff's among them). All the photos were somewhat out of focus, and card number 159 (Yankees Pitcher Hal Reniff) was incorrectly numbered as 139. The set's entire second series (the 87 cards numbered 110 through 196) was first printed and distributed without the proper amount of ink for the photographs; the result has been known ever since as the "Green Tint" series, for the sky and dirt in the backgrounds of some cards are decidedly green, rather than blue or brown.
The Topps 1962 baseball set saw the 'grandaddy' of all error situations. The result was that said cards occur in two variations, based on the back color. The photographs and information on the cards themselves were not in error. Certain cards were printed on two different types of cardstock; one produced a white back, and the other a darker gray.
One example of "variations" happened in the 1959 and 1960 Topps baseball sets. Some errors are corrected and re-printed within the print runs of the same set, resulting in an "Error Card;" others are not corrected, and are referred to among collectors as "Uncorrected Errors.". Topps and other card publishers were not immune to production 'glitches,' and such mistakes gave collectors unusual items to seek for their collections. In 1993, Topps finally managed again to incorporate a player photo on the back as well as the front of the card, after some competitors had been doing so for a number of years.
These appeared on card backs as late as 1982, but gradually declined in the prominence of their placement and the proportion of cards on which they appeared. This primarily involved using various types of cartoons drawn by its stable of artists. Before statistics, biographical information, and commentary became the dominant element on the backs of cards, Topps also featured artwork there. These problems diminished as Topps's selection of photographs gradually improved.
In a few cases, a misidentification meant that the player didn't even appear in the picture. The photos were sometimes out of focus or included several players, making it difficult to pick out the player who was supposed to be featured on the card. When used for the cards of individual players, some of the early action photography had awkward results. Since that time, Topps has mixed game photography with posed shots in its sets.
Starting in 1960 a few cards showed true game action, primarily highlights from the World Series, but the photographs were either in black-and-white or hand-tinted color until 1971. In the absence of real action photography, Topps still occasionally used artwork to depict action on a handful of cards. (Cards for 'rookies' were also prepared by airbrushing over their minor-league uniforms in photos.). Another was to paint out, by airbrush, the former team logo on both cap and uniform, or to paint on their new team cap logo.
One way was to show the player without any team cap. Topps used various ways to cope with players changing teams before the company could issue a card of them in their new uniform. Photographs did not appear in sharp focus and natural color until 1962. If using such a prop, the player might pose in a position as if he were in the act of batting, pitching, or fielding.
From 1957 on, virtually all cards were posed photographs, either as a head shot or together with a typical piece of equipment like a bat or glove. The close-up head shots of some individual players were reused each year. For 1956, the close-up tinted photo was placed against a tinted full-background 'game-action' photo of the player. The same basic format was used in 1955, this time with the full-length photo also hand-tinted.
After starting out with simple portraits, in 1954 Topps put two pictures on the front of the card--a hand-tinted 'color' close-up photo of the player's head, and the other a black-and-white full-length pose. The cards themselves had been in color from the beginning, though for the first few years this was done by using artist's portraits of players rather than actual photographs. Although the 1971 set was an aborted experiment in terms of putting photos on card backs, that year was also a landmark in terms of baseball card photography, as Topps for the first time included cards showing color photographs from actual games. The practice of showing complete career statistics became permanent in 1963, except for one year, 1971, when Topps sacrificed the full statistics in order to put a player photo on the back of the card as well.
Over the next few years, Topps alternated between this format and merely showing the past season plus career totals. For the first time in 1957, Topps put full year-by-year statistics for the player's entire career on the back of the card. Bowman promptly imitated this by putting statistics on its own cards where it had previously only had biographical information. the 1951 season for cards in the 1952 set) and another with the player's lifetime totals.
The cards originally had one line for statistics from the most recent year (i.e. It also had some pedagogical benefit by encouraging youngsters to take an interest in the underlying math. Those who played with baseball cards could study the numbers and use them as the basis for comparing players, trading cards with friends, or playing imaginary baseball games. While baseball cards themselves had been around for years, including statistics was a relative novelty that fascinated many collectors.
At the time, complete and reliable baseball statistics for all players were not widely available, so Topps actually compiled the information itself from published box scores. One of the features that contributed significantly to Topps's success beginning with the 1952 set was providing player statistics. Some of these were the company's own innovations, while some were ideas borrowed from others that Topps helped popularize. In addition to establishing a standard size, Topps developed various design elements that are considered typical of baseball cards.
Although Topps did not invent the concept of baseball cards, its dominance in the field basically allowed the company to define people's expectations of what a baseball card would look like. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed, but Topps charged a $3.7 million after-tax loss on its books in connection with the sale. This undertaking was not very successful, however, and Topps unloaded the site on Naxcom in January 2006. The purchase was for $5.7 million cash in August 2001 after Topps had earlier committed to invest in a round of venture capital financing for the company.
Topps also acquired ThePit.com, a startup company that earlier in 2000 had launched a site for online stock-market style card trading. After a sale, the cards are held in a climate-controlled warehouse unless the buyer requests delivery, and the cards can be traded online without changing hands except in the virtual sense. The quantity sold depends on how many people offer to buy, but is limited to a certain maximum. These cards are sold exclusively online through individual "IPOs" in which the card is offered for a week at the IPO price.
Working in partnership with eBay, Topps launched a new brand of sports cards called etopps in December 2000. Although most of its products were distributed through retail stores and hobby shops, Topps also attempted to establish itself online, where a significant secondary market for sports cards was developing. The union announced that for 2006, licenses would only be granted to Topps and Upper Deck, the number of different products would be limited, and players would not appear on cards before reaching the major leagues. The resulting glut of different baseball sets caused the MLBPA to take drastic measures as the market for them deteriorated.
Topps continued adding more sets and trying to distinguish them from each other, as did its competitors. The initial Topps effort at producing a premium line of cards, in 1991, was called Stadium Club. Following Topps's example, other manufacturers now began to diversify their product lines into different sets, each catering to a different niche of the market. Also beginning in 1989 with the entry of Upper Deck into the market, card companies began to develop higher-end cards using improved technology.
As a further step in this race, Topps resurrected its former competitor Bowman as a subsidiary brand in 1989, with Bowman sets similarly chosen to include a lot of young players with bright prospects. This card from the 1984 squad appeared in Topps's regular 1985 set, but by the next Olympic cycle the team's cards had been migrated to the "Traded" set. Olympic baseball team and thus produced the first card of Mark McGwire, one that would become quite valuable to collectors. For example, Topps obtained a license to produce cards featuring the U.S.
Increasingly, they also included highly touted minor league players who had yet to play in the major leagues. Since a "rookie card" is typically the most valuable for any given player, the companies now competed to be the first to produce a card of players who might be future stars. In order to fill out a 132-card set (the number of cards that fit on a single sheet of the uncut cardboard used in the production process), it would contain a number of rookie players who had just reached the major leagues and not previously appeared on a card. While "Traded" or "Update" sets were originally conceived to deal with players who changed teams, they became increasingly important for another reason.
In response to the competition, Topps began regularly issuing additional "Traded" sets featuring players who had changed teams since the main set was issued, following up on an idea it had experimented with a few years earlier. Other manufacturers later followed, but Topps remains one of the leading brands in the baseball card hobby. Fleer and Donruss began making large, widely distributed sets to compete directly with Topps, although they still avoided packaging their cards with gum. The Topps monopoly on baseball cards was finally broken by a lawsuit that let Fleer and another company, Donruss, enter the market in 1981.
Topps appears not to have considered the Kellogg's cards a threat and took no action to stop them. The Kellogg's sets contained fewer cards than Topps sets, and the cards served as an incentive to buy the cereal rather than being the intended focus of the purchase, as tended to be the case for cards distributed with smaller items like candy or gum. A semblance of competition returned to the baseball card market in the 1970s when Kellogg's began producing "3-D" cards and inserting them in boxes of breakfast cereal (originally Corn Flakes, later Raisin Bran and other brands). In addition, Topps is the only manufacturer able to produce cards of players who worked as replacement players during the 1994-95 baseball strike, since they are barred from union membership and participation in the group licensing program.
Topps, however, can negotiate individually and was belatedly able to create a 2004 card of Bonds. On the other hand, if a player opts out of group licensing, as Barry Bonds did in 2004, then manufacturers who depend on the MLBPA system will have no way of including him. Players who decline to sign individual contracts will not have Topps cards even when the group licensing system allows other manufacturers to produce cards of the player, as happened with Alex Rodriguez early in his career. The difference has occasionally affected whether specific players are included in particular sets.
This contrasts with other manufacturers, who all obtain group licenses from the MLBPA. As a byproduct of this history, Topps continues to use individual player contracts as the basis for its baseball card sets today. Although Fleer declined the proposal, by the end of the year Topps had agreed to double its payments to each player from $125 to $250, and also to begin paying players a percentage of Topps's overall sales. After continued discussions went nowhere, the union before the 1968 season asked its members to stop signing renewals on these contracts, and offered Fleer the exclusive rights to market cards of most players (with gum) starting in 1973.
At this time, Topps had every major league player under contract, generally for five years plus renewal options, so Shorin declined. MLBPA executive director Marvin Miller then approached Joel Shorin, the president of Topps, about renegotiating these contracts. After initially putting players on Coca-Cola bottlecaps, the union concluded that the Topps contracts did not pay players adequately for their rights. Struggling to raise funds, the MLBPA discovered that it could generate significant income by pooling the publicity rights of its members and offering companies a group license to use their images on various products.
That same year, however, Topps faced an attempt to undermine its position from the nascent players' union, the Major League Baseball Players Association. The decision gave Topps an effective monopoly of the baseball card market. However, Fleer chose not to pursue such options and instead sold its remaining player contracts to Topps for $395,000 in 1966. The Commission concluded that because the contracts only covered the sale of cards with gum, competition was still possible by selling cards with other small, low-cost products.
A hearing examiner ruled against Topps in 1965, but the Commission reversed this decision on appeal. Stymied, Fleer turned its efforts to supporting an administrative complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission, alleging that Topps was engaging in unfair competition through its aggregation of exclusive contracts. However, Topps held onto the rights of most players and the set was not particularly successful. Two of these sets were produced before Fleer finally tried a 67-card set of currently active players in 1963.
Williams retired the next year, so Fleer began adding around him other mostly retired players in a Baseball Greats series, which was sold with gum. Fleer signed star Ted Williams to an exclusive contract in 1959 and sold a set of cards oriented around him. The next company to challenge Topps was Fleer, another gum manufacturer. This left Topps as the dominant producer of baseball cards for a number of years.
The competition, both for consumer attention and player contracts, continued until 1956, when Topps bought out Bowman. As the contract situation was sorted out, several Topps sets during these years had a few "missing" cards, where the numbering of the set skips several numbers because they had been assigned to players whose cards could not legally be distributed. The contract issue proved more difficult because it turned on the dates when a given player signed contracts with each company, and whether the player's contract with one company had an exception for his contract with the other. The court rejected Bowman's attempt to claim a trademark on the word "baseball" in connection with the sale of gum, and disposed of the unfair competition claim because Topps had made no attempt to pass its cards off as being made by Bowman.
The lawsuit alleged infringement on Bowman's trademarks, unfair competition, and contractual interference. federal court. Bowman responded by adding chewing gum "or confections" to the exclusivity language of its 1951 contracts, and also sued Topps in U.S. Topps also tried to establish exclusive rights through its contracts by having players agree not to grant similar rights to others, or renew existing contracts except where specifically noted in the contract.
However, because Bowman had signed many players in 1950 to contracts for that year, plus a renewal option for one year, Topps included in its own contracts the rights to sell cards with gum starting in 1952 (as it ultimately did). To avoid the language of Bowman's existing contracts, Topps sold its 1951 cards with caramel candy instead of gum. The language of these contracts focused particularly on the rights to sell cards with chewing gum, which had already been established in the 1930s as a popular product to pair with baseball cards. Bowman had become the primary maker of baseball cards and driven out several competitors by signing its players to exclusive contracts.
This promptly brought Topps into furious competition with Bowman Gum, another company producing baseball cards. The later acquisition of rights to additional players allowed Topps to release its second series. Topps first became active in this process through an agent called Players Enterprises in July 1950, in preparation for its first 1951 set. During this period, baseball card manufacturers generally obtained the rights to depict players on merchandise by signing individual players to contracts for the purpose.
It was finally dropped from baseball card packs in 1992. In fact, the gum eventually became a hindrance because it tended to stain the cards, thus impairing their value to collectors who wanted to keep them in pristine condition. The combination of baseball cards and bubblegum was popular among young boys, and given the mediocre quality of the gum, the cards quickly became the primary attraction. The last series in 1952 started with card #311, which is Topps' first card of Mickey Mantle and remains the most valuable Topps card ever.
As a result, cards with higher numbers from this period are rarer than low numbers in the same set, and collectors will pay significantly higher prices for them. In later years, Topps either printed series in smaller quantities late in the season or destroyed excess cards. Topps was left with a substantial amount of surplus stock in 1952, which it largely disposed of by dumping many cards into the Atlantic. However, the later series did not sell as well, as the baseball season wore on and popular attention began to turn towards football.
The cards were released in several series over the course of the baseball season, a practice Topps would continue with its baseball cards until 1974. This set became a landmark in the baseball card industry, and today the company considers this its first true baseball card set. (In 1957, Topps shrank the dimensions of its cards slightly, to 2-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches, setting a standard that remains the basic format for most sports cards produced in the United States.) The cards now had a color portrait on one side, with statistical and biographical information on the other. The company also decided that its playing card model was too small (2 inches by 2-5/8 inches) and changed the dimensions to 2-5/8 inches by 3-5/8 inches with square corners.
Topps changed its approach in 1952, this time creating a much larger (407 total) set of baseball cards and packaging them with its signature product, bubblegum. The other side featured the portrait of a player within a baseball diamond in the center, and in opposite corners a picture of a baseball together with the event for that card, such as "fly out" or "single". Also like playing cards, the cards had rounded corners and were blank on one side, which was colored either red or blue (hence the names given to these sets). Each set contained 52 cards, like a deck of playing cards, and in fact the cards could be used to play a game that would simulate the events of a baseball game.
In 1951, Topps produced its first baseball cards in two different sets known today as Red Backs and Blue Backs. Management was left in the hands of the Shorin family throughout all of these maneuverings. In this incarnation, the company was incorporated in Delaware for legal purposes, but company headquarters remained in New York. The new ownership group again made Topps into a publicly traded company in 1987, now renamed to The Topps Company, Inc.
The company returned to private ownership when it was acquired in a leveraged buyout led by Forstmann Little & Company in 1984. After being privately held for several decades, Topps offered stock to the public for the first time in 1972 with the assistance of investment banking firm White, Weld & Co. In 1994, the headquarters would move to One Whitehall Street in Manhattan. Corporate offices remained at 254 36th Street in New York, a location in the Brooklyn waterfront district by the Gowanus Expressway.
The entire company originally operated out of Brooklyn, but production facilities were moved to a plant in Duryea, Pennsylvania in 1965. It later incorporated under New York law in 1947. The company began its existence as Topps Chewing Gum, Inc., a partnership between the four Shorin brothers. Topps then added baseball cards as a product, which quickly became its primary emphasis.
Starting in 1950, the company decided to try increasing gum sales by packaging them together with trading cards featuring Western character Hopalong Cassidy. Topps's most successful early product was Bazooka bubblegum, which was packaged with a small comic on the wrapper. At the time, chewing gum was still a relative novelty sold in individual pieces. The chosen field was the manufacture of chewing gum, selected after going into the produce business was considered and rejected.
To do this, they relaunched the company as Topps, with the name meant to indicate that it would be "tops" in its field. Shorin's sons, Abram, Ira, Philip, and Joseph, decided to focus on a new product but take advantage of the company's existing distribution channels. American Leaf Tobacco encountered difficulties as World War I cut off Turkish supplies of tobacco to the United States, and later as a result of the Great Depression. (American Leaf Tobacco should not be confused with the American Tobacco Company, which monopolized US-grown tobacco during this period.).
imported tobacco to the United States and sold it to other tobacco companies. Founded in 1890 by Morris Shorin, the American Leaf Tobacco Co. Topps itself was founded in 1938, but the company can trace its roots back to an earlier firm, American Leaf Tobacco. .
It is best known as a leading producer of baseball cards and other sports-related trading cards. The Topps Company, Inc. NASDAQ: TOPP is a publicly traded company based in New York City that manufactures candy and collectibles. New York: Warner Books. Topps Baseball Cards: The complete picture collection, a 40 year history.
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The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics. Schwarz, Alan (2004). Chicago Reader, 25 June 2004. "Culture Jamming for the Swingset Set".
Schwartz, Ben. 1953). 904 (E.D.N.Y. Topps Chewing Gum Co., 112 F.Supp.
v. Haelan Laboratories, Inc. 1953). Topps Chewing Gum, Inc., 202 F.2d 866 (2d Cir.
v. Haelan Laboratories, Inc. 1981). Topps Chewing Gum, Inc., 658 F.2d 139 (3d Cir.
v. Fleer Corp. 1980). Pa.
485 (E.D. Topps Chewing Gum, Inc., 501 F.Supp. v. Fleer Corp.
ISBN 0-316-10429-9. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book. Harris (1973).
& Fred C. Boyd, Brendan C. 1952). 944 (E.D.N.Y.
Topps Chewing Gum, Inc., 103 F.Supp. v. Bowman Gum, Inc.