Readers ask about Bazooka comics, wheels & newspapers
Each Friday, I offer questions submitted by readers seeking information about items that they own or were given. I also get questions asking me to determine the value of items. For those, I have no answer but I try to help readers get started in searching on their own.
Here are this week’s questions and answers:
I have been cleaning out my parents’ home when I came across Bazooka Joe comics that I collected when I was a kid (60+ years ago). They are D5, D6, D7 series. Any suggestion of what I should do with them?
What Baby Boomer among us doesn’t remember the sticky and gooey, but oh-so-sweet tasting pink wad called Bazooka Joe bubble gum – and the comic strip with the eye-patched boy who came with it. The gum and its comic strips were ubiquitous, and as a result, aren’t worth much these days.
I wrote a blog post about the comic strips more than a year or so ago when I came across a collection at auction that probably looked like yours. I researched the comics then and found that they were not valuable – even single ones listed on eBay at 99 cents weren’t selling at all.
That doesn’t seem to have changed, although I did find some collections of 100 comic strips or more selling for up to $50 now.
Bazooka bubble gum was first made in Brooklyn, NY, after World War II, according to the website for Topps, which makes the gum. Bazooka Joe and his Gang appeared in 1953, and there were more than 700 different comics.
The Topps website has a price guide for items from its vaults, including Bazooka Joe original art, uncut contact sheets, original comic strip art and original production photos worth up to $1,000. Note that these are originals owned by the company, not the comics that we got with our bubble gum.
The website was also advertising an auction in 2011 that included a framed 1971 Bazooka display box sheet featuring Willie Mays, Randy Hundley and Jim “Catfish” Hunter.
Your D series from the 1960s were part of a group of 12, according to the website bubblegumcomics.com, and it included comics, combinations of comics and prize coupons. By 1970, Topps had dropped the D series designation, opting to go with year of release as part of the code, according to the website.
Several forums suggested checking the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, which is the Bible for comics collectors. You can buy your own or check your local library or bookstore and browse it. A book celebrating the 60th anniversary of Bazooka Joe is set for release next April. It will contain 200 illustrations.
For those who chose to collect Topps baseball cards rather than its Bazooka Joe comics, you’re the lucky ones. Those trading cards started appearing around 1951, and they are valuable now.
That Topps 2011 auction also featured baseball cards from its vault: Roger Maris (circa 1957), Willie Mays (circa 1958), Pee Wee Reese (circa 1958), Ernie Banks (circa 1959), Nolan Ryan (circa 1969) and Tom Selleck (a novelty card, circa 1987).
I wasn’t able to determine what they sold for, but I found several cards offered for sale on eBay for tens of thousands of dollars. The Mickey Mantle cards seemed to be the only ones that actually sold.
I am looking for metal wheels to decorate my yard. Where do I find them?
You didn’t mention what type of wheels, so I’m assuming you’re referring to wagon wheels after reading the blog post I wrote earlier this year about decorating with them. I would suggest auctions like the one where I saw those lovely old large and rusty wheels.
Garden shops may have the wheels, too, along with folks selling them on craigslist. Since they are so large, you’d want to find them locally rather than on the web. The cost to get them to you would be prohibitive.
Google to see if there are wheel shops near year, or check out large standing flea markets in your area – especially rural locations. You may not find the wheels on your first or second or third outing, but sometimes you have to keep at it until you do.
If you live near Amish people, look for makers and sellers of buggy products in the areas where they live. Think of people who use wheels or need wheels – like small farmers who may still be doing it the old way – and go looking for shops and flea markets near them, or just ask them.
I have a complete New York Daily News dated August 15, 1945, with its headline announcing the end of WWII in mint condition. Back then, the paper cost 2 cents. I wonder the value of this newspaper today.
I have a New York Times newspaper, complete, excellent condition, dated November 23, 1963, all about Kennedy’s assassination and with all the pictures. … Does anyone know what this might be worth?
After getting many questions about old newspapers, especially ones from the Kennedy assassination, I interviewed an expert in the field. Timothy Hughes operates a website called rarenewspapers.com that sells historic newspapers. He’s been collecting them for more than three decades. Here’s what he had to say.
I’d suggest you always first try eBay to see what your newspapers are selling for or if they are selling at all in that giant flea market. In checking the World War II copy of the New York Daily News, I found several with Hitler’s name on the front selling for up to $100. Others were selling for less. Prices varied for the New York Times Kennedy assassination papers – from no buys to up to nearly $200.