The 1st Ten years of Monster cards!
The "golden age of monster cards" was the first ten years they were published in America. It began in 1959 and lasted through the 1960s. Almost every monster or science-fiction series from that decade are highly collectible and treasured by collectors. There was an innocence about them that would seem impossible to duplicate in later years. Take a tour of those first ten years and see if you don't agree.
Note: Click highlighted images for the back image of the card.
You'll Die Laughing (AKA, Funny Monsters by Topps) The monster set that started them all! 66 color card series featuring the monster cartoons of Jack Davis. A funny line was included beneath the image and this idea was copied for most monster sets in the 1960s. The reverse has the monsters gathered around the tombstone with a joke on it. "You'll Die Laughing" was splashed across the top, and many collectors refer to this set (and the 1973 & 1980 photo versions) by this title. The title on the 1959 wrapper was actually FUNNY MONSTERS. Retail $100- $150 EX/Nrmt (Read our special series profile.)
Horror Monster Green & Orange (Nucard): Great Duotone photos with colored borders. The back graphic to the second series was better than the first, but the first (green) series had pretty cool skull designs on the front. Retail: Series 1 (green 1-66) can run $400-$600 in Ex/Nrmt. Series 2 (orange 67-146) is usually $250-$300 Nrmt. See our special Horror Monster Profile page.
Mars Attacks (Bubbles aka Topps): Topps put hard work and imagination into this one. It's probably their most creative set ever. And that great Norm Saunders pulp style painting was icing on the cake. 55 cards in the set. The backs have a pink backround. (Later reprints had different color backs.) Retail: $800-$2000 Ext-Nrmt. See our special Mars Attacks Profile Page.
Monster Tatoo (Topps) Very rare tattoos with Jack Davis art. The backs form the red wrapper. I have a few dupes and would prefer to trade them for singles from the same series that I don't have. Contact me if you need any or have some to trade. Unknown number in series, but over 75 at least. Retail: $15 each. See our special profile page.
Spook Stories (Leaf) This series is copyright 1961, but was distributed in two series from 1962 to 1965. Two series of 72 black and white cards, plus a sticker set made up of 48 slightly smaller "lick'em" stickers. The stickers have backs that are like postage stamps. If the adhesive is uneven or appears brushed on, it is likely a counterfeit. Series 1 card set retail: $200 Nrmt. Series 2 card set retail: $350. Unnumbered stickers, $15-$20 each Nrmt. (see back) Read our special profile of the stickers.
Famous Monsters of Filmland (Rosan) 64 black and white set with orange (sometimes red) borders. The fronts are photos mostly robbed from the Terror Monster Green set. The backs are ads that Ackerman's mag was always trying to push on subscribers: Masks, skull rings and the lot. Most cards are found with different ads on the back. If one were to combine all these reverse variations, they would have a 256 card set. Often found as a complete 64 card set. Retail: $100-$150 NM
Monster Pin-ups (Phoenix Candy) Six candy boxes with a cut-out photo of Frankenstein, Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, and the like. Retail: Uncertain.
Monster Flip Movies (Topps) Not a card series, but a series of 36 different flip books that one could flip though to see a scene from a famous classic Universal monster movie. Originally sold in pairs. Retail: $12-$20 Ex
Monster Magic Action (Abbey Vending) 24 colorful but confusing cards to the naked eye, until a special lens is passed over the front and the images appear to move. The color drawing are somewhat crude. Retail: $25-$35
Monster Midgees (AKA Mini-Monster Laffs, Topps) Low # series 1-108. Small 1 9/16 x 2 1/2" cards that originally came in 3 card panels.(Often separated.) Great photos of your favorite B monster movies, the typical "Monster Laffs" jokes on the back and gag lines on the front. Also high number series, 109-153. More rare and much more expensive. Retail series 1: $150. Series 2: $250-$300 Ex. (See backs.)
Terror Monster Green & Purple (Rosan, 1963): These looks so primitive, you can't help but enjoy it in an immature sort of way. The quality stinks, any kid with a photo copy machine could do a better set today- but that only adds to the charm. 132 cards (both series combined). The Retail price for both these sets has reached surprising highs in the last several years. Expect to pay between $400-$600 per set in EX/NM. Series 1 (green) is cards 1-64. The last twenty cards have illustrations instead of photos. Series 2 (purple) is cards 67-132. There are also two unnumbered bonus cards (usually considered #65 and #66). These bonus cards can run from $50 to $250 each. (View green backs and purple backs.)
Addams Family (Donruss) 66 black & white card set of photo cards show casing the 1960s TV show of the same name. The reverse forms a giant photo. Retail: $250-$400 Ex- Nrmt
Becker Prize Cards (L.M. Becker) Crude black and white cards with colored borders featuring several 25 card mini-sets on a variety of different "funny" subjects (Animals, football, Space age, Armed forces (50 cards), Wild West). Two sets are devoted to funny monsters (beginning in 1964). One series is numbered, the other isn't. . Retail: $2 -$3 per card.
Dracula's Greatest Hits (RCA) A sheet of 15 perforated black and white monster illustrations by Jack Davis, included in the record of Monster Mash style music. The backs are blank. Retail: $2-$5 each.
Monster Old Maid (Milton Bradley) 19 different 3 1/2" x 5 6/8" cards with close up black & white photos of various Universal monsters (tinted in different colors). The backs (reduced here) have a spider web with MONSTER across it. The 20th card is an instruction card. Sold as a game, there were two of each card except the Dracula's Daughter (only one, the "old maid"). Retail: $35 a set
Munsters (Leaf) 72 black and white cards based on the TV show, plus 16 smaller lick 'em stickers with cartoon images from the same image. Backs contain jokes. Card set retail: $300 EX, sticker set $200 Nrmt.
Outer Limits (Bubbles aka Topps)- 50 cool colorized photos from the classic TV show! The corny stories on the back only made it more endearing. The black borders were easily chipped. (Beware of retouching from black markers on the edge.) Retail: $350-500 Ex/Nrmt
Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea (Topps) There's no monsters in the set (except a fake looking shark) but being an Irwin Allen Production, the TV series had several. (Like a Lobsterman. Ummmmm.) 66 black and white cards. Ones issued in Canada were stamped "printed in the USA" on the backs. Retail: $125
Addams Family-- card game (Milton Bradley) Four different images sold in the 1960s Milton Bradley game. Gomez, Morticia, Children, and the "wild card" of Lurch/ Fester. The backs (reduced here) have identical graphics. Retail: $2 each.
Ed-U-Cards (Ed-U-Card corp) Series of at least 18 different cardboard monsters measuring 2.25" x 3.5". They have cardboard hands and jaws that attach, making them more three dimensional. They are unnumbered and have no other text other than copyright info on the back. They may have been game pieces, or salesmen samples. Retail: Unknown.
King Kong- Test issue (Topps) A serious profile of the famous black & white flick of the same name. The backs have a graphic and text telling the story. 55 card set, quite rare. Retail: $100-$150 per card.
King Kong (Donruss) 55 card set with word balloons providing gags to the famous black & white film of the same name. Backs featured a color puzzle. No #16 card, but a #0 is included. $200-$300 Ex/ Nrmt
(Reverse of Monster Greetings card)
Monster Greetings (Topps) Color set of 50 cards. The fronts feature illustrations by R. Crumb, but the backs use photos of various Topps employees wearing monster masks and such. The front sets up the gag, the back delivers the punch line. Retail: $150 Nrmt
Ugly Stickers (Topps) Two series (the other was in '73) of bizarre monster stickers by former EC & Mad Magazine artists Wally Wood and Basil Wolverton-- and probably several others. Each series has common names under the monster, variations of the same sticker with different names available (and blank sticker backs). All stickers have blank backs. Series 1 (44 stickers) retail: $200 Nrmt. (Complete set of all variations would be 164 stickers.)
Weird-ohs (Fleer) 66 colorful card set based on the weird models from Hawk Model Company. Weird quasi-goofy monsters do strange things with a gag line underneath, and details on the back. Fleer followed this series with a similar cross-over set, Baseball Weird-ohs (Not listed here since it's baseball). Retail: $2 a card Nrmt.
Frankenstein Stickers (Topps) Fun cartoons- but pretty accurate renderings- of Universal monsters in the Valentine motif. 44 die-cut sticker set. These sets are very hard to find on account that most wound up peeled and plastered on things. A typical price for a Nrmt set is over $1,000. (Blank sticker backs.)
Insult Postcards (Topps) Full sized postcards featuring comic monster artwork by Wally Wood.(He snuck his name into one of the tombstones). 32 postcards in the set. They measure 3 1/8 x 5 1/4". See back. Retail: $2-$5 each EX.
Lost In Space (Topps): Just plain old black and white photos with a story line on the back (along with several different graphics), but the charm of the campy TV show pulls it through. Several Cyclops and other dangerous aliens, but mainly the first several episodes are profiled (which were the most serious sci-fi episodes of the show). 55 cards. Retail: $300-$500 Ex/Nrmt.
Make Your Own Name Stickers (Topps) Basil Wolverton monster art, same as Ugly Stickers (also Topps) and Monstickers (also Topps), but these are just a LITTLE more serious. 33 color stickers. (Blank sticker backs.) Retail: $150-$250 Ex/Nrmt.
Monster Cards (Rosan?) 84 blue & white photo set of famous and not-so-famous monster movies, with a crude cartoon image on the reverse and bad jokes. This is thought to be a "knock-off" set of Horror Monster Green set. They are basically the same images, but not as professionally produced. (This pirated set has no company name listed on the backs. The date is uncertain as well.) Usually found as complete sets in high grade. Retail: $100-$175 Nrmt.
Nestle's Chiller Club (Nestle's) Very crudely drawn rather goofy monster images on cards given away Nestle's product. At least 60 different ones made. Low supply, low demand item. Retail: Uncertain.
Monster Laffs (Topps) 66 of the images taken from Monster Midgees put in regular sized card. Often found as complete sets. Originally sold in clear cello packs. Retail: $35-60 (see back)
Nutty Initials (Topps) Not really monsters, more like goofy creatures that form initials (Wally Wood cartoons?). Either one or four intials per sticker. 48 different. Retail: $4 - $10 each.
Terror Tales (Topps): At first I didn't care for the word balloons imposed over the monster photos, but they've grown on me. And the scary (not!) stories on the back are really great. (They were later repeated on the backs of Fright Flicks). This set is tough to complete, but worth it. 88 cards. Retail: $600-$1200 Ex- Nrmt
Dark Shadows, Pink (Philadelphia Gum, 1968) 66 card set of black and white images from the Dark Shadows TV show with bright pink borders. The backs made puzzle photos. Retail: $250-300 EX (Read series profile.)
Flash Gordon, TEST (Topps, 1968) Oh yeah, there's monsters in this black and white photo set based on the Buster Crabb movie... but they're so corny you'll laugh more than anything else. The ape man with a horn in his head, the fanged bald men from Mongo, and of course, the tin Robot. (Scary!) This is only a 24 card black and white set tested but not mass produced. Complete sets are said to be exceptionally rare. (I'm still missing #24. Anyone out there have one to sell or trade?) Read a full article on the series here or view the cards here. Retail: $3,000 NM (See backs.)
Land of the Giants- TEST (Topps, 1968) This 55 color card set may not seem like a monster card series, but it is. Giants are, after all, monsters. This test series if very rare, but fortunately, most collectors can get a slightly smaller version of the same set from Topps UK (around $300). Both sets have cartoon strips images on the back #1-44. The last 11 cards have puzzle backs. The test cards retail for $100- $150 per card. (Read series profile.)
Dark Shadows, Green (Philadelphia Gum) 66 card set of black and white images from the Dark Shadows TV show with light green wavy borders. The backs made puzzle photos. This set is more professionally made than the first, and is more often seen in high grade. Retail: $300-$350 NM (Read series profile.)
Planet of the Apes- Movie (Topps) 44 color card set featuring scenes from the film. Backs have green graphic with text. Retail: $150
Planet of the Apes-TEST (Topps) Same set as above but with black borders and the actors names are include in the text. Rare. Set retail: $1800
Quentin Post Cards (Philly Gum) 12 cards with black & white photos of David Selby (Quentin Collins from the Dark Shadows TV show.) Retail: $5 per card.
Topps Pak O' Fun (Topps) Two card panel set of 42, almost the size of postcards. Many of the cards have Halloween themes, like Halloween finger puppets (image reduced), and several of the cards are re-issued images from the original Jack Davis Funny Monsters (issued in two card panels). Retail: $750 Nrmt.
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