Q&A: Why Do Some Topps Boxes From The 80s Have Black Marks On Them?

Question: Looking on eBay I see so many 1980s Topps boxes with black marks on the covers.  What are the black marks for?

Answer: As a way to help distributors/stores clear out old inventory that had been sitting for awhile, Topps allowed for some products to be returned.  The distributors/stores would get a little money back.  Once Topps received those products back they would place black marks on the box covers.  Then Topps would ship them off to discount outlets.  In order to qualify for this the cases and/or boxes had to be complete.  Nothing tampered with.  Back then Topps did not seal their boxes in plastic like they do today.  Its very possible the people sending them back compiled packs from multiple boxes just to make a complete one.  That is the true origin of those black marks.  Complete boxes from the 1980s without the black marks will always be more desirable.  But this practice was so common you see them everywhere.

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