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Bricks of Cards

Bricks of Tea Cards

We are talking about Bricks... bricks of tea cards. You've heard of them before, right?

We know the printer printed up sets of 48 cards in the form of sheets. The sheets get cut with a die and the 48 cards get collected along with many other identical sets. The printer has all these cards and they need to get them to the Red Rose factory.


Here is a sheet with the die cuts. The cards are still attached to the webbing at this point.

How does the printer get those cards to Red Rose? They put them in bricks. Bricks of 10 sets in a "sleeve".

According to my friend Marcel, they receive the bricks at the Red Rose factory and load them into the machines that spit the cards into the box like a magazine on a gun. Way cool!

(As related to Marcel by Vern Martin Jr., the owner of Kaumagraph Inc. Brantford, Ontario. Vern had brokered the original 1959 to 1975 issues as "The Walker Press" of Paris Ontario. That included working with The Wildlife and Historical Folks as well as the various Artists to generate stories, layouts and technical requirements. The plates were made and printing was done. he is not sure of the die cutting process used, but it is feasible that the sheets were die cut, and hand collated into sets of 48 which would have been time consuming, but the logic of getting properly sequenced cards makes a lot of sense as it made for easier set completion and trading.)


Here are a couple of Space Age bricks and some loose cards. Notice that the sleeve is visible along with plugs (blanks) front and back.

If you have had any access to the Red Rose bricks at all, you would note that the original Brooke Bond Red Rose bricks ('59 to '74) had a sleeve around the cards along with a plug on each end and a rubber band. The new Lipton Red Rose bricks from 1990 to 1991 appear to have lost the plugs on the ends. I asked Marcel (Operator of Fairfax Packaging of Brantford who executed the Brick Packing on the Re-issues of 90 - 91 for Kaumagraph) about this and he told me that he priced out the original job for the 1990 Animals and Their Young for Kaumagraph (Walker Press). He did it with and without plugs. Lipton came back and said they would accept the plugless bid. That's why you don't see plugs on the newer bricks.

Note: Numerical integrity of the sets was sacrificed along with the end "Plugs" based on added costs. This was experimental and he assumes that from a marketing perspective, there was not enough anticipated interest to justify those costs vs anticipated bump in sales of the tea brands . These thoughts are Marcel's recollections from 30 years ago and there was no money allocated to set down an actual historical account of what transpired. Marcel does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracies which would be strictly unintended, but he says that he is enjoying this look into the past and will attempt to fill in some blanks to the best of his capabilities. (He turns 73 in September.    :-o  )

The old bricks had 10 sets in order. 1 to 48 or 48 to 1, I do not know which. But there were always 10 complete sets in each brick. There were Canadian bricks and US bricks.


This graphic attempts to show you that for the older sets, each brick has 10 sets in it. We know that since it is older, it should have plugs on each end and a rubber band to hold it all together


This further shows that a brick is made up of 10 sets.

The two new sets ('90 and '91) had the cards scrambled. Frontward, backward, right side up and up side down. Counting out 48 cards is no guarentee of a complete set. A complete brick will not guarentee ten complete sets. The scrambling took care of all that. I have seen this firsthand as well as my friend Marcel telling me that he came up with the methodology to mix them and pack them into the bricks for the factory.

I came across this picture of a few bricks of the first Lipton Series, Animals and Young. I love the way they are stacked. Bright and crisp.


These are a couple of '90 Animals and Their Young bricks. Notice that the newer bricks are plugless and random.

I hope you have been properly educated with bricks now. Ten sets per sleeve. Old cards with plugs. New cards without. Old cards are sorted, new cards are not. And we know the boxers loaded up the cards into a magazine like a machine gun. I guess that covers it.

In case you have or have not noticed, these bricks sitting for years develop issues. The rubber bands mark the top and bottom cards and the few near each end deform where the band applies pressure. It's still pretty great to get ahold of one or two if you can.

 Last modified: September 22, 2020


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