1947 Popeye and Flash Gordon Bubble Gum Display Box

Sold For: $940

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1667

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Extremely rare, possibly unique, display box of Popeye and Flash Gordon Bubble Gum, issued in 1947 by the Jane Shaw Candy Company of New York, containing eight-four pieces of unwrapped bubble gum. The box originally housed 100 pieces of gum (almost all the gum remains, exactly as originally packaged; just a few sticks have been sampled). This rare, heretofore unknown, display box originates from the historic find of 1930s nonsports gum boxes featured in our 2009 auction. Our consignor overlooked this box at the time, because it was not related to a card issue, hence its inclusion here one year later. The appeal of the box lies in its colorful lid, which features an illustration of both Popeye and Flash Gordon riding with Santa Claus in his sleigh as he makes his appointed rounds on Christmas eve. This unlikely trio results from the fact that Popeye and Flash Gordon were both King Features Syndicates characters, for which permission for use was simultaneously arranged, and Santa Claus requires no licensing permission. Obviously, this was a holiday issue, a fact supported by the vintage black-ink notation on the lid that reads "11/25/47 - .69/box at Whelan's Drug Stores." Our research has failed to find any additional information regarding the Jane Shaw Candy Company or Popeye and Flash Gordon Bubble Gum. This is almost certainly the only known example of this desirable display box, which capitalizes on two of the most popular comic strip characters of the era, not to mention Santa himself. A 1947 copyright notice by King Features Syndicates, Inc., for use of the Popeye and Flash Gordon characters, appears along the base of the lid. The box (8 x 8 x .75 inches) displays a piece of vintage clear tape on either side of the lid that once held it closed; it is otherwise in Excellent condition overall, displaying just light wear. Reserve $200. Estimate (open).


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