These little sheets of brightly-coloured stickers have been kicking around for years and years. I actually used to have dozens of them when I was a kid - they came in packets accompanied by a flat sheet of pink bubble gum. This lot were found in a jumble sale back in the '80s, and must have cost me some typically token price made up on the spot by a volunteer in a church hall . Like 5p for the handful.
It was a time when this sort of ephemera was being chucked out - though it's amazing how they survived at all! The individual stickers measure 2 x 1.7 cms, and there were 16 of them to a thin card sheet. Some of the individual pieces were peeled off from my batch of cards by the previous owner, and I recall using some during the weeks after I'd picked them up. Of course they're now difficult-to-find these days - but at least it's easy to trawl the web and discover far more information about the stickers than just the fond memories I had of them when I was young.
For one thing they originated in the US in 1968, a product of the famous Topps company, who dubbed them with a surprisingly bland name - 'Mini Stickers'. Over here they were issued two years later in 1970 by the A&BC manufacturers who were based in Romford, Essex. The name they chose? 'Mickey Takers' - a rather odd choice, but one which sounds like it must have been inspired by the cockney banter heard in the playgrounds of the locality...
However I'm not sure if the stickers with the Americanisms like 'Ratfink' and 'I flunked MATH' made it into the British edition. These would have been lost on me and most other British school kids at the time - and also I never knew anyone called 'Trina'. But in hindsight, these pieces of disposable nonsense are perfect brash and bold statements of 60s design - and ooze throwaway pop art and culture in a way that so many 'serious' works of the same time can only dream of doing now. And hey, they also tell it like it is:
|This wrapper is "COND-EMMED' Now that spelling is taking the mickey...|
Inevitably, even the images of the actual wrappers turn up on the 'net. Your threepence got you 2 cards with 12 stickers on each...
|and it seems like there were several versions - no 'COND-EMMED' on this one - instead, the 'OFISHAL SPELIN CHAMP'|
|'Idiot of the Year'|
|This is the American wrapper from '68 (note - four more stickers per card than the UK version!)|
"I LOVE HATE!"
|and here's the US Topps Mini Stickers box - so not only with bubble gum, plus 2 'Nutty Tickets'...|