|1961 Golden Tulips Chargers Ron Mix card|
In the early 1960s, AFL teams were attempting spread the word about “The Other League,” and were holding promotions of all sorts. One method that was nearly always popular, especially with younger fans, was player trading cards.
|Back of a standard Golden Tulips card|
While Topps and Fleer were distributing their bubble gum sets on a national basis, many smaller, regional sets were produced that were dedicated to an individual team. The 1961 Golden Tulip Chargers set is one such issue. The cards, which measured 2″x3″ and were distributed in the San Diego area, came inserted into bags of Golden Tulip Potato Chips, one card per bag. Though the cards were housed in a cellophane sleeve, most are found today with oil stains from the greasy chips.
The complete set of 1961 Golden Tulip Chargers cards consists of 22 cards. The two most-prized cards in the set are of quarterback Jack Kemp, and hall of fame tackle, Ron Mix. The other players in the set are Ron Botchan, Howard Clark, Fred Cole, Sam DeLuca, Orlando Ferrante, Charlie Flowers, Dick Harris, Emil Karas, Dave Kocourek, Bob Laraba, Paul Lowe, Paul Maguire, Charlie McNeil, Ron Nery, Don Norton, Volney Peters, Don Rogers, Maury Schleicher, Ernie Wright and Bob Zeman. Botchan, Ferrante, Laraba, Schleicher and Zeman were never featured on regular-issue Topps or Fleer cards, and thus the Golden Tulip issue represents a rare opportunity to find them on cards.
The backs of all Golden Tulip cards are identical, and advertise a contest to win tickets to Chargers games. Additionally, they speak of an opportunity to receive an 8″x10″ photo of Chargers players. By mailing in five cards of a particular player, you would then receive back your 8″x10″ photo of the same player. These blank-backed photos, now referred to as Golden Tulip Premiums, are exceedingly rare, and amongst the most desired of all regional AFL issues.
|Maury Schleicher Golden Tulips Premium|
The Golden Tulip Chargers premiums were only produced in 1961, the Chargers first year in San Diego. Other companies produced Chargers premiums in later years, including the Golden Arrow Dairy Milk Caps, Union Oil Prints, and of course, the Coca-Cola Bottle Caps.