Consignments Wanted : Green Bay Packers Memorabilia and Rare Premium / Regional items, contact or call (414) 828-9990

Already 44 years old now, the 1970 Clark Oil Volpe Premium Photos routinely appear throughout the organized hobby. But, for the first time in nearly 25 years of dealing in vintage Green Bay Packers memorabilia, this is the first time I have found a grouping of the Packers Premiums complete with the original mailing tabs. The accompanying lot remains in near mint condition, with only the slightest of handling wear to the outer edges of the corners preventing these from being classified as gem mint. The colors remain vibrant, with the front surface appearing to drip from its original surface gloss.

During 1970 in many Wisconsin cities, customers of Clark Oil Gas Stations were treated to these Green Bay Packers Regional Promotional photos. The complete set of 66 NFL Stars had Midwest distribution, with Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Minnesota, and St. Louis providing paying customers team cards from their respective city. The cards were not cross distributed, meaning you could only get your team in your region.

Issued by the Alex Karras, C/O Clark Oil & Refining Corporation, the Clark Oil & Refining Corporation was incorporated in Wisconsin in July, 1934 as the Petco  Corporation. In March of 1954 the name was changed to Clark Oil & Refining. The company refined petroleum products and distributed them at the wholesale and retail levels, including its own service stations. 

There are 66 cards in the complete Midwest Distributed set, with 9 depicting Wisconsin’s Green Bay Packers. They were: Lionel Aldridge, Donny Anderson, Ken Bowman, Carrol Dale, Jim Grabowski, Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson, Travis Williams, and Willie Wood.

Design: Each card depicts a full portrait painting, done in realistic colors of pastels. An action shot of the player in full uniform is also included in the design. The portraits are completed with an accurate facsimile signature of each player. Bottom left corner reads, “Cinemac Inc., 1970”. Stylistic artist signature, “Volpe” appears incorporated in the artwork of each card.

These rare cards also have the Business Reply Mail tabs still firmly attached. These are quite rare to find complete with reply cards, and these are the first examples I have seen in 25 years of aggressively dealing in vintage Green Bay Packers items. The mailing card included the First Class Permit No. 8026, Milwaukee, Wisconsin marking. The return address area reads, “Postage will be paid by, Alex Karras, c/o Clark Oil & Refining Corporation, 8530 West National Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53227”.

In this rare un-punched form, these cards measure 7 ¾” x 14”. The large size is important to the understanding as to why these do not appear in their original condition. The oversized dimensions kept collectors from placing them in the binders that were sold via the mail order promotion.

As stated, the art was done by the artist Volpe. Nicholas Volpe was a noted artist who handled the Los Angeles Dodgers’ drawings as well as portraits of Academy Award winners. By 1970, he was doing commissioned artwork for NFL properties.

As per the text at the bottom of the card, Volpe was credited as “Pro-Star Portraits by Nicholas Volpe, one of America’s most distinguished portrait painters. Among Mr. Volpe’s credits are portraits of Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, David Ben Guiron, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, and many more. He has a lifetime contract to do the portraits of the annual “Oscar” winner for best actor and actress. Mr. Volpe himself won a “Grammy” for his Frank Sinatra “Only the Lonely” record album cover. Millions of Californians for the last eight years have enjoyed Mr. Volpe’s weekly “Byways” painting and poem in the Sunday Los Angeles Herald Examiner’s “California Living” magazine.

The reverse features advertising for various NFL premium gifts that you could purchase direct. The text on reverse read, “Now On Sale At your Clark Oil Dealer, Green Bay Pro Portraits, Football Album …$2.98”. Examples of the albums have entered the market. This helps explain why the majority of these premiums that enter the hobby are minus the accompanying order form/business reply mailing tabs. The premiums did not fit into the albums if they were still attached, and the mailing tabs had to be removed to complete the information for the send aways. Also available:

Full-Color Poster of Ray Nitschke was advertised as big 2 ft x 3 ft in full color for the price of $1.49. Set of 6 Pro Star Portraits tumblers are offered for $2.99.

Finally, you could order a framed Canvas Print measuring 11”x24” of stars Dick Butkus, Bennie McRae, Leroy Kelly, Bill Nelsen, Alex Karras, Mel Farr, Ray Nitscke, Donny Anderson, Len Dawson, Bobby Bell, Gary Cuozzo, Gene Washington, Johnny Roland, and Jackie Smith for the price of $5.99.

This lot includes near mint examples of Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson, Lionel Aldridge, Jim Grabowski, Travis Williams, and Willie Wood. A very rare opportunity to add these rare Wisconsin regional cards to your collection. Please direct your questions to Troy R. Kinunen at