Another small avenue worth exploring on Little Plastic Men is the history of the 'team box.' A new design was almost as guaranteed as the periodical reincarnation of Dr Who during the 1960's and 70's when every few years you would be treated to a new design c100 team box totally out of the blue, or green...
Just as you had finally got used to the current box (because it was never quite as good as the last one and needed getting used to) it would be killed off for something bigger and better... well in the eyes of Waddingtons anyway. In my opinion, they seemed to get smaller and worse, but there you go.
I remember in 1977 when the first smaller green box came out, I was devastated as they looked rubbish against my perfectly stored and ordered large box collection. I think the only saving grace was the Home Internationals series, which added a bit of colour to my collection of teams. Being a full 1 cm shorter, the new boxes didn't sit correctly on the shelf and the plastic trays made it difficult to write the players names on, unlike the card trays I had grown up with and innocently abused with felt pen with such revered names as Keegan, Clemence and Toshack.
The box can be a good way of determining a teams age, but must be stressed that teams were often swapped from box to box so not always a concrete guide for collectors today, but, if you find a team with the corresponding original number sticker on the box, then it is more than likely from the correct era as shown below. As for value, an original numbered box does add to value to a team, but the age seems unimportant to most collectors, a heavyweight Bradford or a Liverpool can be the same value if made in 1971 or 1979, what can make a difference is if it's in the pre 1971 box (Type 3) with the wire keeper and especially if it is the older vintage heavyweight figure. (see figures reference section)
Below is the history of the team box used for the heavyweight figures from 1961 to about 1980. The team holder was an accessory only and designed for the first flat cardboard and celluloid figures, so strictly not a heavyweight figure box, but as it had such a long production run and was the first of all the official team boxes to follow, so seems criminal not to include it in this listing.