Saturday, 21 October 2017

Go Get 'Em! - (Volume 1 Update)

Two things about collecting Canadian football memorabilia are fairly constant yet somewhat contradictory at the same time:

1) The process of purposely searching for and finally locating quality obscure uncatalogued material can be long and tedious with rewards few and far between, and yet

2) Wait long enough and keep your eyes open and no matter how popular and presumably well documented a classic CFL collectible promotion is, uncatalogued items will likely continue to surface.

Beautiful promotional retail advertising cardboard window display from
the classic 1965 CFL Coke & Sprite promotion 

Case in point is the fabulous retail display (roughly 15" X 24") that I was lucky enough to come across in Southern Ontario on a recent trip to Toronto. I had some spare cycles and spent them looking for any interesting memorabilia and after coming up empty for the first couple of days, finally struck paydirt!

The piece would have been folded in half initially and mailed out to probably hundreds of corner store and grocery retailers in mid 1965 in a large cardboard sleeve. A similar promotional package of retail advertising signs and ephemera was earlier detailed in this blog post. This sign would have also been accompanied by related documentation to assure the retailer of the probability of healthy profits and heavy manufacturer advertising support for the promotion.

Photograph of the type of billboard advertising the retailer could expect for the products 

One such additional piece was framed with the sign, the above small actual developed photograph, likely taken somewhere in Toronto with the same slogan and graphics. There was also another interested printed illustration of a Coke billboard scheduled to be run in October 1965, found with this group, but that piece was for the American Coke football promotion and had a different slogan with different graphics altogether.

Canadian Football News October 12th 1965 Advertisement 

The above ad ran in October but the uneven distribution of players per team strongly indicates that the caps were being produced from as early as August of 1965 as players cut during that month appear on the caps and a couple of  players traded in August appear with both teams.

Gorgeous French language magazine advertising page.

A poster and two magazine advertisements in English were catalogued in Collecting Canadian Football V1 but as the above image shows, in French the slogan was Allons-Y! Collectionnons, and this would lead one to suppose that all of the promotional material available in English was most likely also produced in French as well.

Two distinct cap holder order forms from different provinces

The cap holder order form was listed in Collecting Canadian Football V1 and as noted in the writeup different bottling plants were distribution points for the mail-in premium resulting in multiple variations for the pamphlet. And these aren't the only variations within the issue, on at least one bottle cap images were reversed from printing to printing or plant to plant. No way to know at the present time how many of these might exist or within which product or language type differences or even which ones are the rarer variant. Thanks to Carl Lamendola for the image below.

Blue Bombers Barrie Hansen with obvious left and right image reversal  

Many years ago there was an Ebay auction that had a couple of actual full bottles of Coke with the caps still intact and the 1965 Coke inside. Unfortunately I have misplaced the images and even more unfortunately since one of the bottles had a Wayne Harris cap I neglected to add it to my Stampeder collection and will now never see them again.

Nifty metal tab "pinback" for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 

Another recently surfaced related collectible is the promotion specific lapel button shown above. While it is possible that only Hamilton area bottlers funded this extra novelty a more likely assumption would be that these were available for every team, possibly in both languages for Montreal. On the other hand if that were the case one would expect to see these around from time to time and since this is the only one I've ever seen it may have been city specific.

A Cap Holder filled with Argonauts caps

Over half a century ago you might have seen the impressive display above hanging on a diligent young fan's bedroom wall (with probably a worrisome number of dental cavities as well). It is too late to carefully pry the caps off of product bottles without denting or scratching the player image to accumulate a near mint team set for your favorite franchise, and in 1965 very few would have had the foresight to do so. But it is not too late to keep uncovering old and forgotten aspects of vintage issues and expanding the knowledge base of CFL collectibles and the history of the sport in Canada.



  1. Hello Andy : i know someone that has a 1972 Grey Cup hard cardboard mounted poster like the one pictured. The one you have pictured is missing the bottom part. My friend's one is 48 x 19 inches and shows all 9 team helmets along with the Grey Cup and a CFL helmet. I can send you pictures of it if you want : is my email address. I'm located in Quebec City. Best regards,Francois Beliveau.

  2. Francois, May I ask you to please send me pictures of a 1972 Grey Cup mounted poster to my email address? with pdf attachment? Thank you!