Hey Guys, he is the factual information I have compiled on this issue, this is basically the write-up from my new and upcoming book the VHC. I have researched this information for years and believe what is writen below to be the best in fact and not speculation. Get ready for a fun read...
This so-called “Test” issue of 66 cards set was the first official released issued exclusively by Topps for the USA market. (Generally “Test” issues were released in plain white wrappers with an applied sticker on the front of what product was inside and also had a sticker to seal the back of the pack, this issue has none of those characteristics). While the cards remained the standard size of 2 ˝” x 3 ˝” identical to the Canadian issue, on this issue the French text was omited and also displayed a lighter colored wood grain boarder. Allot of controversy surrounds this particular issue as to when and how it was released. Well, it WAS released as many do not believe, a real wrapper has been confirmed (as well as a display box proof)and both seen by me personally! This wrapper is actually a cello wrapper,beautiful red wrapper with a hockey player on it and says National Hockey League instead of NHL as prior wrappers did, guess they wanted the Americans to know exactly what they were buying with hockey being not so popular in the USA at that time. So the reason why these haven’t been found is that most cellos when opened are usually torn and then discarded(pictures of these can be found in the VHC in Oct). These codes identify this to be released 1967,(all topps packs from 1967 up had set and date codes, that is another story)....so released when? Well, sometime in 1967 but not exactly sure. I believe this issue was released later than anticipated by Topps. Due to the overwhelming popularity of Bobby Orr coming into the NHL and Topps was scheduled to distribute hockey in the USA exclusively, while O-Pee-Chee would continue on their way as they had for many years with producing hockey cards in Canada but only under the Topps license, wink! What better way to prime the USA market for their first hockey card distribution.
I had seen the Keith Olbermann article on the "Test Issue", he has allot of good points but as for ice cream trucks and only in Los Angeles, I wouldn't go that far. They were released in New York (where the wrapper was found)and surrounding states, why does the Test issue have so many New York Rangers 15 in the set and all the other teams only had from 9 to 12 players, sure weren't that many great Rangers from that era over the other teams.
Attached is an advertisement from a New York dealer back in the day. This ad is from Dec 30th 1967. Now given what the ad says about the 1967-68 set being the biggest and best ever, well there were 132 cards in 1966-67, 66 cards in 1966-67 Topps Test Issue, and 132 cards in 1967-68....so you can figure it out from there, seems they supplied the test issue too.
Anyhow, I could go on, but this should give you a good overview on what are the facts that I have compiled.