Topps 1962 The Civil War News Gum Card Set Checklist & Values

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The 1962 Topps The Civil War News card set is one of the most popular issues in non-sports card history. A complete set in excellent to mint condition is valued at $400-500.

The Topps Chewing Gum Co. produced the famous The Civil War News gum card set in 1962. Numbering 88 cards – with 17 Confederate banknotes as featured inserts – The Civil War News remains a huge favorite with non-sports card collectors today.

Civil War News: Hand-Painted Scenes by Norman Saunders, Maurice Blumenfeld and Bob Powell

The American Civil War raged from 1861 to 1865, pitting North versus South. It was a very bloody affair, with over 618,000 Americans losing their lives in the conflict.

One hundred years after the start of the Civil War, the Topps Chewing Gum Co. of Brooklyn, New York, commissioned a bubblegum card set commemorating the War Between the States. Brought in to do the artwork for the card series were Norman Saunders, Maurice Blumenfeld and Bob Powell, with Woody Gelman serving as editor and Len Brown as writer/product developer. The card set production proved to be a laborious process, taking some six months to complete.

Topps 1962 Civil War News Cards - Heritage Auction Galleries

The Civil War News: Bloody and Graphic

The Civil War News editor Woody Gelman had vividly recalled collecting Gum Inc.'s Horrors of War cards back in the 1930s. That famous card set had influenced Gelman's thinking regarding The Civil War News. Rather than present a straightforward educational series on the conflict, one which he thought kids might reject, Gelman decided to go with a more graphic depiction of the Civil War.

Gelman certainly accomplished his mission, as The Civil War News still makes hobby headlines today, featuring many of the goriest scenes ever to grace a trading card set. Apparently, no punches were pulled, as the cards depict bloody battle scenes and the harrowing effects of what some have called the first modern industrial war.

The card's various titles are often self-explanatory. There's "Bloody Combat," "Direct Hit," "Death To The Enemy," "Pushed To His Doom," "Dynamite Victim," "Hanging The Spy," "Massacre," "The Cannon Roars," "Wall Of Corpses," "Crushed By The Wheels" and many other similar titles, all of which feature gruesome combat scenes. The words "death," "deadly," "dying" and "dies" encompass the titles of 18 cards, ensuring The Civil War News its own bloody place in trading card history.

Topps 1962 The Civil War News card backs featuring informative text - Heritage Auction Galleries

The Civil War News: Sold in Five Cent Packs

The Civil War News came out in 1962 and were sold in five cent wax packs with illustrated wrapper. Along with the five cards per pack, youngsters of the era could also obtain the 17 Topps-produced Confederate banknotes, which were inserted into every pack. No doubt attracting kids' attention at stores was The Civil War News display box, featuring a stunning, full color Civil War illustration expertly rendered by Bob Powell.

The Civil War News proved to be a successful card series for Topps, with the faux-Confederate currency inserts proving to be especially popular with youth of the era. Some parents, however, upon seeing the gruesome nature of the cards, objected to the series. It was later reported that some mothers forced their baby boomer sons to trash their beloved The Civil War News cards – or performed the dastardly deed themselves – thus destroying one of the most coveted non-sports card collectibles of the 1960s.

Rare Topps 1962 The Civil War News uncut strip of 17 Confederate currency inserts - Heritage Auction Galleries

Topps The Civil War News: Current Collectible Values

The Civil War News has retained its popularity among card collectors today. Along with another graphic 1962 card entry, the equally gruesome Mars Attacks, released by Topps under the dummy corporation of Bubbles Inc., The Civil War News commands top value among non-sports card aficionados. Here are some recent auction results, courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas, Texas:

  • Complete set of 88 Topps The Civil War News cards in excellent to excellent/mint condition $448.13
  • Complete set of 17 Topps The Civil War News Confederate currency inserts in excellent to excellent/mint condition $262.90
  • Complete set of 17 Topps The Civil War News Confederate banknote inserts in rare uncut factory strip form $358.50
  • Partial set of 50 cards out of 88: 25% PSA-graded near mint to mint and 75% excellent to excellent/mint condition $896.25 
  • Artists proof card for entry #1 The Angry Man (John Brown Raids U.S. Arsenal) along with the regularly-issued card in excellent/mint condition $478 

Topps 1962 The Civil War News Card & Currency Insert Checklist

Cards:

1. The Angry Man, John Brown's Raid – October 16, 1859

2. President Jeff Davis, Montgomery, Ala – Feb. 18, 1861

3. The War Starts, Ft. Sumter, S.C. – Apr. 12, 1861

4. Rebel Power, Bull Run, Va. – July 21, 1861

5. Exploding Fury,  Fort Henry, Tenn. – Feb. 6, 1862

6. Pulled To Safety, Ft. Donelson, Tenn. – Feb. 16, 1862

7. Death At Sea, Norfolk, Va. – March 8, 1862

8. Destructive Blow, Norfolk, Va. – March 8, 1862

9. Savages Attack, Pea Ridge, Ark. – March 8, 1862

10. Destruction At Sea, Monitor vs. Merrimac – March 9, 1862

11. Attack, Front Royal, Va. – Mar. 26, 1862

12. Bloody Combat, Kernstown, Va. – Mar. 23, 1862

13. Dying Effort, Cross Keys, Va. – Mar. 27, 1862

14. Fight to the Finish, Shiloh, Tenn. – Apr. 7, 1862

15. Nature's Fury, Island #10 – Miss. River – Apr. 7, 1862

16. Direct Hit, New Orleans, La. – Apr. 24, 1862

17. The Flaming Raft, New Orleans, La. - Apr. 26, 1862

18. Death To The Enemy, Williamsburg, Va. – May 5, 1862

19. Pushed To His Doom, Winchester, Va. – May 24, 1862

20. Death Fall, Fair Oaks, Va. – May 30, 1862

21. Painful Death, Port Republic, Va. – June 7, 1862

22. Wave Of Death, The Seven Day Battle – June 26, 1862

23. Crushed By The Wheels, Mechanicsville, Va. – June 26, 1862

24. After The Battle, Gaines' Mill, Va. – June 27, 1862

25. Hanging The Spy, Eden, Pa. - June 29, 1862

26. Messenger of Death, Frayser's Farm, Va. – June 30, 1862

27. Massacre, White Oak, Va. – June 30, 1862

28. The Cannon Roars, Malvern Hill, Va. – July 1, 1862

29. Bridge of Doom, Rustburg, Va. – Aug. 15, 1862

30. Charging The Bullets, Manassas, Va. – Aug. 30, 1862

31. Terror Of The Sea, New Orleans, La. – Sept. 15, 1862

32. Death Struggle, Antietam Creek, Md. – Sept. 15, 1862

33. Fight For Survival, Fredericksburg, Va. – Dec. 13, 1862

34. Wall Of Corpses, Fredericksburg, Va. – Dec. 16, 1862

35. Gasping For Air, Stones River – Jan. 3, 1863

36. Midnight Raid, Hartsdale, Va. – Mar. 30, 1863

37. Death Barges In, Twin Forks, Ga. – Mar. 30, 1863

38. General Grant, Northern Headquarters – Apr. 1, 1863

39. General Lee, Southern Headquarters – Apr. 1, 1863

40. Bullets Of Death, Port Gibson, Miss. – May 1, 1863

41. Protecting His Family, Westford, Va. – May 2, 1863

42. The Battle Continues, Chancellorsville, Va. – May 10, 1863

43. Costly Mistake, Chancellorsville, Va. – May 10, 1863

44. Shot To Death, Jackson, Miss. – May 15, 1863

45. The Riverboat Explodes, Memphis, Tenn. – June 5, 1863

46. Vicious Attack, Gettysburg, Pa. – July 2, 1863

47. Death Battle, Seminary Ridge, Pa. – July 3, 1863

48. Smashing The Enemy, Champions Hill, Miss. – July 4, 1863

49. The Explosion, Port Hudson, La. – July 8, 1863

50. Stolen Secrets, Pauline Cushman – July 25, 1863

51. Horse Thieves, Simstown, Ky. – Aug. 10, 1863

52. Friendly Enemies, Chattanooga, Tenn. – Sept. 10, 1863

53. Train Of Doom, Chattanooga, Tenn. – Sept. 15, 1863

54. A Horseman Falls, Chickamauga, Ga. – Sept. 20, 1863

55. The Silent Drum, New Lisbon, Ohio – Nov. 15, 1863

56. Burst Of Fire, Lookout Mountain, Tenn. – Nov. 24, 1863

57. Hand To Hand Combat, Missionary Ridge, Tenn. – Nov. 25, 1863

58. Angel Of Mercy, Clara Barton – Dec. 25, 1863

59. Submarine Attack, Charleston, Va. – Feb. 17, 1864

60. Suicide Charge, Fort Pillow, Tenn. – Apr. 12, 1864

61. The Flaming Forest, The Wilderness, Va. – May 5, 1864

62. The General Dies, The Wilderness, Va. – May 5, 1864

63. Ambushed, Yellow Tavern, Va. – May 11, 1864

64. Jaws Of Death, Bloody Angle, Va. – May 12, 1864

65. Flaming Death, Spotsylvania, Va. – May 12, 1864

66. Victim Of The War, Resaca, Ga. – May 15, 1864

67. Deadly Duel, New Hope Church, Ga. – May 25, 1864

68. The Will To Win, Cold Harbor, Va. - June 3, 1864

69. Death In The Water, Cherbourg, France – June 19, 1864

70. The Sniper, Haven Falls, Ga. – July 15, 1864

71. No Escape, Whistle Falls, Ga. – July 16, 1864

72. The Cannon's Victim, Peachtree, Ga. – July 17, 1864

73. Through The Swamp, Grey Embers, Ga. – July 21, 1864

74. Fighting For Victory, Atlanta, Ga. – July 22, 1864

75. The Family Flees, Atlanta, Ga. – July 22, 1864

76. Blazing Cannon, Mobile Bay, Ala. – Aug. 5, 1864

77. Trapped, Fisher's Hill, Va. – Sept. 22, 1864

78. Sudden Attack, Cedar Creek, Va. – Oct. 19, 1864

79. Council Of War, Lincoln & Grant – Nov. 1, 1864

80. City In Flames, Atlanta, Ga. – Nov. 15, 1864

81. Deadly Defense, Nashville, Tenn. – Dec. 16, 1864

82. Destroying The Rails, Savannah, Ga. – Dec. 21, 1864

83. The Looters, Savannah, Ga. – Dec. 23, 1864

84. Deadly Arrows, Columbia, S.C. – Feb. 16, 1865

85. Attacked From Behind, Waynesboro, Va. – Mar. 2, 1865

86. Dynamite Victim, Petersburg, Va. – Apr. 2, 1865

87. The War Ends, Appomattox, Va. – Apr. 9, 1865

88. Checklist

Confederate Currency Inserts:

1. $1 Bill - Type One

2. $1 Bill - Type Two

3. $2 Bill - Type One

4. $2 Bill - Type Two

5. $5 Bill - Type One

6. $5 Bill - Type Two

7. $5 Bill - Type Three

8. $10 Bill - Type One

9. $10 Bill - Type Two

10. $20 Bill - Type One

11. $20 Bill - Type Two

12. $20 Bill - Type Three

13. $50 Bill - Type One

14. $50 Bill - Type Two

15. $100 Bill - Type One

16. $500 Bill - Type One

17. $1000 Bill - Type One

Card #5 Exploding Fury, Topps 1962 The Civil War News - Topps Chewing Gum

"War is all hell," declared Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. And Topps' 1962 The Civil War News certainly drives home that graphic, bloody point.

The Civil War News Top Image

  • Card #47 Death Battle, Topps 1962 The Civil War News - Topps Chewing Gum

Copyright © 2012 William J. Felchner. All rights reserved. 

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Ralph Heron
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