Wednesday, February 24, 2010

1967 Dexter Press Photos and the 1967 Coke Caps Promotion

I was reading Uni Watch this past Sunday and was enjoying the feature "From The Taxman Collection" about the 1967 Dexter Press photos when I saw the following request: "Maybe our friends at the Fleer Sticker project would have a clue?"

With that request, the research team at The Fleer Sticker Project went into action. In case you are wondering what the 1967 Dexter Press photos are, here is an example from the Taxman's collection:

You can see the Taxman's collection of 1967 Dexter Press photos on Flickr.

In the Uni Watch post, The Taxman said "These were issued around 1967, and I am pretty certain I received the set as a promotional prize. My best recollection would be that we collected Coca-Cola bottle caps with player pictures in the liners — unless it was sending in cereal box tops or maybe even Kool-Aid packages. The back side of each photo referenced Dexter Press. Maybe our friends at the Fleer Sticker project would have a clue?"

I'm glad to report that The Fleer Sticker Project can provide the complete rundown, and confirm that the Taxman is correct that these photos were part of a Coca-Cola promotion, and that they are indeed from 1967.

In 1967 Coke ran a promotion with player photos on the underside of their bottle caps. There were actually 2 different promotions - 1 featured a set of All Star bottle caps as seen on this Brooks Robinson cap where he is identified as an All Star (and is cap # 3)

and another promotion that was team specific in each local market, as seen in this Brooks cap where he is identified as playing for the Orioles (and is cap # O10):

(this is actually the 1968 cap as the 1967 caps list the position to the right of the player)


Lets take a look at the All Star promotion first. Here is an ad for the All Star caps (click the picture to see a larger image):

If you collected the 35 All Star caps, you could receive prizes such as 6 photos, a baseball, or a cap. Here is a closer look at the prizes:

Since this indicates that one complete collection of 35 caps would get you a set of 6 autographed pictures, it must have taken 70 caps to get both sets for the total of 12 that comprise the full set of All Star pictures. The set that Taxman has posted is the All Star set.

The really interesting thing about this contest is that you didn't have to actually have the could draw the players onto the saver sheet and that would count!

To make things even easier, according to item # 3 you could get the full set of illustrations from your Coca-Cola Bottler!

The saver sheet contains drawings depicting players in action with spaces for their caps with numbers which correspond to the number on the cap. As we saw with the Brooks All-Star cap, he was #3, which matches up with the saver sheet:

Here is another example of one of the All Star photos featuring Roberto Clemente:

The backs of the All Star cards provide a short bio:

One thing that is interesting to note that is even though these were done as a Coca-Cola promotion, the cards do not have any type of Coke logo or advertising.

Team Sets:

Eighteen of the 20 teams in the league participated in the promotion. The only 2 teams that did not have a promotion were the Cardinals and the Angels.

The team saver sheets are almost identical to the All-Star ad, with the main difference being the players names listed on the saver sheet, and the prizes including a set of 12 photos instead of 6, and additional prizes such as game tickets.

Lets take a look at the Senators saver sheet from this ad:

The saver sheet has replaced the All Star players with Senators such as Ed Brinkman and Pete Richert:

The Senators prizes include a 12 card set of photos or a free ticket to a Senators game for a child 16 and under.

If you were to send in your full set of caps for the autographed pictures, this is what you would have received:

As with the All Star promotion, you needed to collect 35 caps. As the saver sheet shows, the first 18 caps are Senators caps, with the remaining 17 caps being American League All Stars.

Because each team saver sheet had 18 caps from the local team, the final 17 caps would be either American League or National League All Stars to make up the full set of 35 caps. This led to a 3rd cap variation for the All Star players who were included on the team saver sheets:

Here is Brooks Robinson again as cap # A21 which corresponds to # 21 on the saver sheet pictured above. The "A" presumably means American League.

So for some All Stars like Brooks, there are 3 cap variations - the All Star cap from the All Star saver sheet, the team saver sheet cap where they are identified as being on that particular team, and finally the AL or NL All Star cap that was also part of the team saver sheet promotion.

There are 2 exceptions to the 18 team caps / 17 All Star cap saver sheets - The Dodgers and Angels were combined for a 35 cap set and the Yankees and Mets also combined for a 35 cap set.

Speaking of the Angels, even though they had caps, as mentioned, they did not participate in the prize promotion and did not have any photos - except for 1. Photos were made up for Angel Paul Schall, supposedly as a favor to the player, but not distributed as part of the promotion.

In addition to ads like the ones I've shown, saver sheets were also available in stores such as this sheet for the Twins:

If you had completed this sheet, you would have been able to win this set of Twins photos:

Here is the Giants saver sheet:

along with the complete set of Giants photos:

Here is a look at a few more saver sheet ads I was able to find:




And here are 2 smaller ads which aren't saver sheets, but advertise the promotion for the Pirates:

and the Tigers:

The Dexter Press photos made a return in 1983 when sticker sets (featuring 16 players) were produced using the pictures from the set:

These are called Starliner stickers as that is the name that is on the backing of the stickers:

The stickers are much smaller than the originals (which were 5 1/2" x 7") and do not include the white border around the photo.

The stickers are sometimes misidentified as being Dexter Press photos.

To wrap up this look at the Dexter Press photos, I would first like to thank Paul Lukas from Uni Watch for being a big supporter of this blog as well as Phil from Uni Watch and The Taxman for thinking of the Fleer Sticker Project as a resource for a research question like this. It was a lot of fun researching this promotion as I was aware of the Dexter photos, but not with the connection to Coca Cola.

I'd like to finish up with this article on a collector who amassed 243 full collector sheets back in 1967!

For more information, including the story of how this promotion ties in to helping bring about the end of the reserve clause and the start of free agency, check out part 2 of this review in the look at the 1968 Coke / Dexter Press promotion.


Anonymous said...

As there seems to be clear opinion that the caps were issued in 1967 and 1968 - are there variations in the promotion or sheets from 1967 and 1968? What about all the different soda brand variations and cap variations - Kosher, WV state map, etc.

Matthew Glidden said...

Love the detailed write-up and scans for the Coke tie-ins. I recently ordered a few caps and it helps a lot (as a collector) to see how they promoted things locally with the store posters and team photos.

I bet most fans would be surprised how critical this kind of product licensing proved to the growth of American sports' strongest union. Thanks for filling in these details and glad to see it get linked through UniWatch.

Jeff Williams said...

I want to thank you for this great write up! My grandfather, Joe Capicotto, had a small photography and advertising business in Miami, Fl from after WWII through the mid 70's and did alot of work for Dexter Press, mainly post cards. However, he was hired by Dexter to take player photos of 4 of the teams for the Coke promotion in 1967. He received $75.00 per team as pay plus a complete set of all the teams associated with the promotion, including the single Paul Schall card. I have those cards now as he passed away in 1996 to include all the correspondence from Dexter Press, Coca Cola, and each team he was assigned to photograph. He was always proud of the work he did and told me that the cards were in conjunction with a Coca Cola contest, but never expounded on it; so I was excited to see this write up. It really does my soul good to know that my grandfather had a part in this great piece of Americana! I would like to forward a scanned copy of the Dexter Press letter to my grandfather to Fleerfan as a thank you for helping me complete the story of my grandfather's cards! Fleerfan, please email me at if you would like to add my grandfather's Dexter Press letter to your collection. Thank you again for your research!

Jeff Williams

Anonymous said...

I realize my comment is coming a little late, but I really appreciated finding this explanation of this promotion. I just purchased a full set for my husband's birthday, and I was wondering if you've ever seen how people display these. I'd be grateful for any suggestions! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I found 7 of these in a trunk in mothers attic. How much are they worth? Gaylord Perry, Claude osteen,Hal lanier, Tito Fuentes, willie mccovey,Jesus alou,Willie stargell. Cap's in O.K. condition.Bent in middle as someone used a bottle opener. Tony

Bill Fink said...

I was redoing a scrapbook I made in 1967 of the Cleveland Indians to give to my son, and came across the set of 12 Indians autographed photos that was given as a prize for the bottle caps...I found a newspaper clipping with a picture of myself (at 12 years old) sitting in the Indians dugout with another young fan, Max Alvis, and Leon Wagner advertising the "Match The Stars" promotion. (My dad worked for Coca Cola for over 45 years) Great memory!

Unknown said...

I was 13 when I and 9 others won 1st prize and went to a Tiger game and met the Team.