Thursday, August 27, 2020

Topps Rails and Sails

Vintage cards are one thing that I never really had any interest in, until recently. Now that I'm actively on the hunt for more train cards, I've been looking to add some stuff from the 1955 Topps Rails and Sails set. There are some really cool cards in that set and they would look great with the other train stuff I've accumulated so far, especially the tea cards.

First, a little background information. Rails and Sails was released by Topps way back in 1955. The set has 200 total cards with the first 130 depicting various locomotives and rolling stock. The remaining 70 cards feature various types of boats and ships.

Since I am a train guy and well, my collection my rules, I am only going after the first 130 cards of the set. I could even refer to it as simply "Rails" moving forward, but I think I'll keep labeling the posts with the full name of the set because why not?

As far as the design, the Rails cards have painting-like color photo taking up a majority of the card. Along the bottom there is a brief description of the equipment shown along with name of the railroad that it belongs to. The simplicity is perfect for this type of set.

The backs are every bit as good as the fronts. Unlike most cards I post on here, I am going to make sure I scan and share the back of each card. They each have something unique and the bright colors work very well with the artwork on the fronts.

To get things going for this set, I was lucky enough to find a great deal on eBay my first four cards. I paid $2.99 plus shipping, which worked out to $1.79 per card. Based on some other completed listings I've seen, this was a pretty good deal. Hopefully the first of many.

Up first is card #5 featuring the Southern Pacific Daylight streamliner.

Next is card #3 featuring a Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 type electric locomotive.

Card #4 features and S-type electric locomotive from the New York Central Railroad.

Last is card #6 featuring a camelback locomotive from the Central Railroad of New Jersey.

Now that I have officially have a good start to this set, I thought it would be neat to track my progress and overall spending on it as I go. It will be a kind of challenge to myself to see how cost effectively I can put the whole thing together.

I'm not usually a big spender on singles or small lots, so it will be interesting to see how it goes building a vintage set like this. I care more about the subject matter than condition so I won't be getting hung up on finding mint condition cards, because that would get way too expensive for me very quickly. As long as they're not completely terrible, its all good.

Since this is not just some box set I can buy outright, I'll be doing this the fun way by scouring eBay and other places for the best deals. Maybe even card shows whenever I can get back to doing that again. Its been way too long since I've been to one now.

Rails and Sails Set Progress:  4/130 = 3.1%
Cumulative Cost (including shipping): $7.14
Average Cost per Card: $1.79


  1. Gorgeous set. Topps should do a kickstarter for a nice reprint set of these. I'd definitely back that project.