CGC Cards Grades Complete Mars Attacks! Set from the Toser Collection

Posted on 2/7/2024

Roxanne Toser, a pioneer in running non-sports card conventions, assembled an entire collection of the original Mars Attacks! cards from the 1960s.

CGC Cards™ recently certified a complete collection of one of the most celebrated sci-fi trading card sets from the 1960s: Mars Attacks! The entire collection is complete with cards 1 through 55 in grades of CGC 1.5 to CGC 5.

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What is Mars Attacks!?

Mars Attacks! was released in 1962, when the world was in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Developed by a team of Topps designers — including Len Brown, known for his work on Garbage Pail Kids, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and other series — Mars Attacks! tells the story of a Martian invasion on Earth, one card at a time. By assembling an entire set, collectors were able to see the entire story resolve from beginning to conclusion, with the final card (#55) being a checklist.

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The Mars Attacks! cards were extremely popular with children and adolescents in the 1960s. Younger audiences were enraptured by the cartoonish alien violence and enjoyed the gory artwork that the cards detailed. However, the grotesque nature of Mars Attacks was met with negativity and outcry by parents and other adults, who were already agitated by the ongoing Cuban Missile Crisis and Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Parents called for the set to be discontinued due to its gore and sexual content, and they eventually got their wish. Topps originally attempted to repaint some of the more monstrous scenes with tamer artwork, but further outcry forced the company to pull the set from store shelves altogether before redistribution could take place.

Despite (or perhaps because of) its untimely end, Mars Attacks! is a popular card set to this day. After the Cold War ended, Topps revisited Mars Attacks! and began producing related merchandise, including card reprints, a mini-comic series and expanded trading card sets. Topps even endorsed a film by Tim Burton, which was released in 1996. Mars Attacks! merchandise has continued to be popular in modern times, with Topps still releasing cards in the form of two subsets: Mars Attacks!: Early Missions and Mars Attacks! vs. Dinosaurs Attack!

The Roxanne Toser Collection

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The Mars Attacks! cards that were certified by CGC Cards belong to Roxanne Toser, a pioneer in the non-sports card community. Toser ran a mail-order business with her son in the 1970s that evolved into further opportunities, including starting Non-Sport Update magazine in 1990. In 1984, Toser became the first dealer asked to exhibit at the Philly Non-Sports Card Show. Her family would later take over the convention in 2007.

During her time as a card dealer, Toser accumulated a large non-sports card collection, including this full set of Mars Attacks cards. Each CGC-certified card is distinguished with a pedigree on the back of the label to display their provenance.

Roxanne Toser’s collection of Mars Attacks cards will be offered in a Hake's Auctions sale in early 2024.

To learn more about Mars Attacks and Roxanne Toser’s collection, check out the video below.

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