Relive the Golden Age of MONSTER CARDS

Remember those monster trading cards you lost when you were a kid? They’re on display at The Monster Card Museum.  


TRADING CARDS, or “trade” cards as they were originally called, have been around since the mid 1860s—turning kids into collectors and offering pocket-size reference on everything from war and nature to, of course, baseball. But in 1959, just as the “monster kid” era was beginning to take hold all across America, the Topps trading card company released a line of humorous monster-themed cards called You’ll Die Laughing, kicking-off what would become a monster-card boom that flourished throughout the ’60s and lingers even to this day.

Vintage cards can be hard to come by, and when you do find one it’s usually expensive. They’re rare because their original owners were kids who never thought about saving them for posterity. I know, because I was one of those kids. Trust me, these cards were not taken care of. They were played with, taped to walls, stuffed in pockets, and even sometimes mistakenly laundered! Fortunately, though, we have the internet, and one particular website that’s devoted to preserving this fun slice of pop culture history.

The Monster Card Museum was founded in 1992 by trading card designer Kurt Kuersteiner. He makes and sells retro-style card sets through his online store, Monster Wax. But being first and foremost a fan he early on set aside a portion of the website for the museum, and today it houses a large collection of images and articles chronicling the golden age of monster cards.

Check out the Monster Card Museum and Kuersteiner’s Monster Wax store for yourself. You’ll find everything there but the gum.

Clockwise from top left: One of Topps’ pioneering “You’ll Die Laughing” cards, featuring art by the legendary Jack Davis (1959); a “Horror Monster Series” card from 1961; Milton Bradley’s “Addams Family” card game (1965); and a Topps “Outer Limits” card from 1964.


Clockwise from top left: In 1962, wherever monster cards were sold, you could also find Topps’ “Monster Tatoos” packaged with bubble gum; in 1964, Milton Bradley issued a fun “Monster Old Maid” set, featuring Draculas’ Daughter as the Old Maid; in 1965, the famous Weird-oh line of plastic model kits also spawned a line of trading cards.



Stephen Vincent D'Emidio is the editor and publisher of Wonder Alliance.

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