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1932 R308 Tattoo Orbit Chewing Gum Box - "Surprise Photos" Series
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $3,525
Display box of Tattoo Chewing Gum, issued by the Orbit Gum Company of Chicago, Illinois, containing ninety-one unopened packs of gum (out of an original 100), plus thirty-two R308 Tattoo Self-Developing Photos ("Surprise Photos") as originally presented for distribution in the store-counter display box. The colorful back panel of this display box is dedicated to the promotion of the "surprise photographs" given free with each pack of Tattoo Chewing Gum. As illustrated on the panel, the novel giveaway consists of a small piece of blotting paper and a card. When the blotting paper is dipped in water and then rubbed on the attached card, a picture will appear. Prior to the discovery of this display box, it has always been assumed that the self-developing R308 cards, which picture picture baseball players and movie stars, were actually included in packs of Tattoo Chewing Gum. That is not the case! From this original untouched near-complete store display box we learn exactly how these cards were distributed. The thirty-two R308 cards found here (all of which are undeveloped) were all neatly stacked in the counter display box alongside the packs of gum. The free self-developing card was simply handed to the customer along with each pack of gum purchased. To be certain this was the case, we opened one of the packs to verify. No card was found in the pack. The R308 cards are in their original undeveloped blank state. The cards are in overall Excellent condition but the developing chemicals utilized have reacted over time with the elements, causing cards to have darkening or a hint of an image in places. The cards can no longer be developed to reveal the photographs of movie stars and baseball players, as could be done in 1932, but it is fascinating to see them in their original form, exactly as they appeared in 1932 (which we have never seen before), with the original blotting paper with printed instructions attached to each card. The box (9 x 5 x 1.5 inches) has imperfections (including a torn front flap) but still has tremendous display value. The colorful back panel of the counter-display box, which was intended to be displayed and draw the attention of customers, is the most important visual element of the box and aside from an area of slight darkening in the upper right is in Excellent condition. (It appears the area of slight darkening is a result of a reaction to the chemicals used to produce the cards as it is in the area exactly above where the cards were stored in the box.) The gum packs remain in their original issued state, in perfect condition, looking exactly as they did in 1932. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,525
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