“Planes of the World” (R707-2)
Following in the footsteps of their popular “Wings … Friend or Foe” airplane trading cards, Topps introduced a new series of 60 “Planes of the World” … aka “Planes” airplane trading cards in the Spring of 1957. This initial series was consecutively numbered from 1 to 60. A second series of 60 cards quickly followed during the summer of 1957. The second series of cards were numbered from 61 to 120.
This series of airplane cards is most commonly known as “Topps Planes,” however the real title of the series is “Planes of the World.” The colored artwork of the card fronts depicted planes, dirigibles, and helicopters, with the name of the aircraft and one line of description located in a small yellow panel inside the picture area. The card number, data table, text, and a “Junior Skywatcher Quiz”; are printed on the Back. A Public Service ad, “Earn Your Wings … Join The Ground Observer Corps,” sits at the very bottom of each card.
There has been much discussion about the detail differences found in this set. The most important of these is the color of accents on the gray stocks Backs: Blue and Red.
Every card in the series is found in both colors. The most likely reason for the variations in colors was that Topps had recently bought Bowman Gum and decided to test out their newly acquired equipment by printing the Planes set in one color with their old printing presses, and in another color with Bowman’s printing presses, using Bowman’s cardboard, ink, and gum. This speculation is made more plausible by the fact that the Planes checklist comes with advertising lines for both Bazooka and Blony gum, the latter being Bowman’s brand.
At any rate, “Blue-Back” cards are twice as numerous as their “Red-Back” counterparts, and the second series of both cards is harder to find in the first. In addition, Card No. 9 (shown below) appears on many want lists, and is considered the “key” to completing the set. The American Card Catalog reference number for the set is: “R707-2”.
R707-2 Topps “Planes of the World” (60)(60) Image-Guide
(issued Spring of 1957)
Topps R707-2 Planes of the World, Series 1 “Blue Backs” (Cards 1 - 60)
Topps R707-2 Planes of the World, Series 1 “Red Backs” (Cards 1-60)
Topps R707-2 “Planes of the World” Series 2 (Cards 61 to 120)
Topps R707-2 Planes of the World, Series 2 “Blue Backs” (Cards 61-120)
Topps R707-2 Planes of the World, Series 2 “Red Backs” (Cards 61-120)
R707-2 “Checklist” Cards
There were two versions of the R707-2 “Checklist” cards: (1) The “Bazooka … Young America’s Favorite Bubble Gum,” checklist card, and (2) the “Big Blony America’s Longest Chew” checklist card. The two checklist cards are identical on both sides except for the brand names. Thanks to Al Kramer, we were able to scan the Bazooka checklist card. We have also reconstructed a “Blony” checklist card. However, we are not sure what the color scheme is on the reverse side of the card. 600 dpi scans of both the “Blony” and the “Bazooka” checklist cards would be appreciated.
R707-2 Wrappers and Display Boxes
There were two different wrappers and two different display boxes associated with the series. The 1¢ wrapper is made of wax paper and has red, white and blue planes repeated on alternating red and yellow bands. The 5¢ wax wrapper is yellow and green with a single red, white and blue in the center. The 1¢ and 5¢ retail display boxes colors are presented in a mixture of blue, yellow, red and white.
R707-2 Topps “Planes of the World” Checklist
The R707-2 Topps “Planes of the World” Checklist is presented below.
Similar “Planes” Series
The saga of the “Planes of the World” cards continued across the pond to England in 1960. The A.& B.C. Gum Company issued two different series of Planes cards. One series of 120 cards measured 88 × 64 mm. The other series measured 94 × 67 mm. Examples of the Backs of both of these series are shown below. There was also an Israeli “Planes” 60 card set issued by Judaica Israel Old Chewing Gum. The Israeli set use the artwork from the Topps R707-2 Series 2 set 60 cards. The fronts and Backs of a typical card from this set are also shown below.
Typical A.&B.C. 88 × 64 mm Card Back
John Shupek — John is retired Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineer that lives in Southern California. John’s 36 year aerospace career/adventure started in the mid-1960s when he worked for Pratt & Whitney at their “FRDC” … Florida Research and Development Center, West Palm Beach, Florida. John was part of the P&W jet engine design team for the CIA/USAF’s Lockheed A-12/SR-71A “Oxcart/Blackbird” engines (J58/JT11D-20). He also worked on the RL-10 rocket engine and the JTF-17A which was P&W’s entry into the United States’ SST competition between Boeing and Lockheed. Several years later, John moved back to California and worked at the AiResearch Mfg. Company at LAX and Torrance. He originally worked on the thermal design of the HRE (Hypersonic Ramjet Engine) which was a supersonic combustion Mach 7 ramjet engine that was to be tested on the North American X-15. John did about three more years of jet engine design work before he disappeared for 13 years into the classified DOE “GCEP” (Gas Centrifuge Enrichment Plant) Atomic Energy program for the enrichment of U235. After the GCEP program was cancelled by the DOE in 1985, John was hired by Northrop Aircraft to do the thermal design for Northrop’s entry into the ATF (Advanced Tactical Fighter) competition, the Northrop YF-23A “Black Widow II” stealth supercruise fighter. He also worked on the Northrop Grumman B-2A “Spirit” stealth bomber. After several years on a classified stealth missile program, John worked the remainder of his Aerospace career as one of Northrop Grumman’s Program Directors on the United States Navy’s F/A-18E/F “Super Hornet” jet fighter program.
During John’s career at Northrop Grumman he served for five years as Northrop’s “Vintage Aircraft Club” Commissioner and the Curator and Webmaster for the Western Museum of Flight in Hawthorne, California. Several years later, John was the volunteer webmaster (for about 3 years) for the Yanks Air Museum, Chino, California. He also served as President and webmaster for two different NPO’s after his retirement. The Whittier Historical Society & Museum and Whittier Meals on Wheels.
John’s love of aviation history and aviation photography lead to the establishment of this Skytamer.com website in 1998. The Skytamer.com site has continued to expand and will always grow and will never be completed. It’s sort of analogous to a snowball rolling down a hill without any trees to stop it. In approximately 2002, John remembered that he had collected Topps “Wings” (ACC# R707-4) airplane trading cards while in High School. Somehow the cards had disappeared over the years. So at this point, he started to re-collect airplane trading cards via eBay and become an airplane card “Image Collector” rather than a “Card Collector” per se. After John scans an airplane card for the website, he has no further use for it and he puts it back into circulation via eBay. John’s mission statement for the Skytamer.com is basically to restore and preserve high-quality card images/artwork associated with the various airplane card sets from the early 1900s to the present. These cards are wonderful historical “snapshots” into aviation history showing which aviation events and aircraft were important at that point in time. For the Skytamer.com website, basically if it is a trading card collection that features things that fly, but doesn’t have feathers, it is eligible for consideration on the Skytamer.com website. John always welcomes inputs and high resolution scans (600-dpi) that can be used on this website. John can be reached via the “Contact Us” navigation button on the left.
Albert “Al” B. Kramer — A very special thanks to Albert B. Kramer, President of Roll-EZ Wheels, for loaning us his entire collection of over 200 Non-Sports aviation trading card sets to scan for our Skytamer.com website. Without Al’s generous help, the scope of the airplane trading cards on this website would be significantly less. Al is a retired Air Racing pilot who raced during the 1980’s in his famous “Cobra #22” Biplane Air Racer (N12FE). After his Air Racing career, Al went on to become Owner and President of San-Val Aviation located at the Van Nuys Airport. Al recently “retired” and turned his hobby of large scale model trains into “Roll-EZ Wheels”. Roll-EZ Wheels specializes in the finest large scale model train wheels, and other exclusive products strictly for large scale model trains! Be sure to visit Al’s Roll-EZ Wheels website.
Al’s Non-Sports card collection consists of War Cards, Presidents, Indians, Cars, Boats, Ships, Planes, Rockets, Movie Stars, Dogs, Licence Plates, Flags of the World, Headlines, Cigarette, and Cereal cards. Al’s collection includes the only-known example of the Carnation “Aircraft Recognition Cards” (F270-1a) Douglas D558-2 “Red Skyrocket”. Al obtained the Carnation “Red Skyrocket” card in a group of 12 different cards that he bought on eBay. He originally thought that the cards were a batch of Nabisco cards until he turned over the “Red Skyrocket” card and it instantly became Al’s most prized Non-Sports card. Al believes that the “Red Skyrocket” was made as a sample for Carnation and somehow got into circulation. The Carnation “Red Skyrocket“ (Douglas D-558-2) was an artist drawing, while the Douglas D-558-2 “Skyrocket” included in both the Carnation F270-1a (single line) and the F270-1b (two-line) normal circulation sets were color photos, rather than drawings. As a sidenote, the Douglas D-558-1 “Red Skystreak” was also an artist drawing, but went into general circulation and was included in both the F270-1a and F270-1b Carnation sets. All of the other cards in both of the Carnation sets appear to be photographs.
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