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Topps bottoms out in baseball coin strikeout

Published Oct. 12, 2005

The Topps Co., famous for its baseball cards if not its chewing gum, began marketing baseball coins in 1964.

Topps distributed thousands of coins featuring 164 players. They were inserted into a package as a bonus with a baseball card and a stick of gum.

The coins were the size of a 50-cent piece, but they proved less than popular. The coins, with a portrait on the obverse and statistics about the player on the reverse, were discontinued after 1964.

In 1971, a new set of coins was distributed, featuring 153 players, but the coins still had problems with consumer acceptance.

In 1988, the company revived the coin idea once again with a set of just 60 coins, wrapped three to a package and sold without the gum, and in 1990 it sold the whole set of 60 as a single collection.

The last year of production was 1990, and there are no plans to resurrect the coins, barring a sudden surge of popularity and demand.