All About Aurora Postage Stamp Trains
Flat box sets are more difficult to obtain intact, likely because they're so big and cumbersome and prone to simply falling apart. Also, since Aurora dropped the Postage Stamp line at the end of 1969, there's very little documentation to help hang some flesh on the bones about this era.
Yellow Flat Box
This big, bulky, uninspired-looking box is the most ubiquitous—and conspicuous—of the flat boxes, which I believe was introduced in 1970 or thereabouts, when the Postage Stamp Line ostensibly came under the control of distributor C.J. Bubla, Inc. The lid has two large openings that show everything except the power pack. The catalog numbers and set contents both still correspond to 1968/69-era sets. In addition to the same Styrofoam trays used in the original bookshelf boxes, these sets contain a 1968 color service manual and, optionally, a black metal power pack.
We then encounter a strange detour in the road, when four "PST Special Sets" were released. In order to create these non-standard sets, boxes were fitted with large yellow vacu-formed nests to hold the locomotive and rolling stock in individual packages, as well as the track and power pack. See the page on American Tortoise for another perspective of this style of packaging.
Because there's no clear plastic behind the box lid windows, these sets were either entirely wrapped in cellophane, or they shipped with cardboard sheets under the lids; track was bundled with rubber bands. Also, some of these sets had F9-A diesels packed in clear plastic boxes with foam rubber as a "nest" and no inserts.
The White Box made its debut in 1973. Aurora's new owner, Nabisco, inherited a large surplus of Postage Stamp stock, and evidently made an attempt to sell it off. Colorful and clean-looking, these eye-catching boxes bore the same catalog numbers and set names as the 1968/69-era sets. The lid had two windows: a small one for the locomotive, and a larger one for the rolling stock. In addition to the same Styrofoam trays used in the original bookshelf boxes, these sets contained either a 1968 color service manual or a black-and-white service manual, and one of three flavors of power pack: black metal, gold plastic or blue plastic (I believe all of these sets included packs).
Note that Aurora dropped the "Micro-Gauge" descriptor and switched to "N Gauge," likely to fit in with the rest of the market better, which by then had long embraced the Big N. Bear in mind that, out of necessity, some of this is speculation. As always, feedback is greatly appreciated.
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Postage Stamp Trains is a Trademark of the Aurora Plastics Corporation.