A Random eBay Score
April 10th, 2011 by slangon

Every now and again, I like to troll eBay for old non-sports cards. Some of them are really awesome looking cards and often times can be had for much less than what you would shell out for a baseball card from the same era. There’s a ton of tobacco issue cards of non-sport subjects out there that you could get for a fraction of the price of a T-205 or T-206 card. Some of the subject matter is a little less desirable as far as I’m concerned, such as “Fancy Ball Costumes” or “Fairest Flowers of the World”, but there’s also enough really interesting stuff that it’s pretty easy to find something you like. The art work on those old cards is so incredible, though, that even if the subject isn’t the most exciting, the card still looks beautiful.

As cool as the non-sport tobacco issue cards are, I’ve kind of taken a bit of a liking to the gum issues from the 1930’s. The artwork is really cool looking and since they were more targeted towards kids, boys specifically, the subject matter is right up the alley of a 30-something guy who refuses to let go of childish things.

The specific card that I picked up from eBay was from the 1933 Goudey Indian Gum set, which depicted various Native American figures as well as famous figures and scenes from America’s pioneer days.

If that design looks familiar, it should. It’s pretty much exactly the same as the 1933 Goudey Big League Gum baseball cards that most people are familiar with. This set was actually issued over the course of several years, from 1933 through 1940. It was surprisingly hard to find definitive information about this set on the web, considering that it seems to be pretty popular and relatively widely available. From what I could gather, though, it seems that Goudey initially issued a 24 card set, and then expanded it several times after they saw how popular it was.

According to the Net54 boards, Indian Gum was issued in these series:

Series of 24
Series of 48
Series of 48 Blue Panel
Series of 96
Series of 192
Series of 216
Series of 264
Series of 288
Series of 312 White Background
Series of 312

The blue panel refers to the box at the bottom of the card that has the words “Indian Chewing Gum” in it. Apparently the series of 48 cards had versions with red boxes and blue boxes. I’m going to go ahead and consider that a parallel rather than a separate issue. The card that I got states on the back that it is “one of a series of 192 cards”, which would put it in the 4th issue. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like anyone really knows when exactly these different series were issued other than that they first appeared in 1933. I would assume that since this card is from the 4th go-round, it’s probably not from 1933, but I have no idea what year it was actually issued.

Another thing that makes trying to date this set is the fact that apparently Goudey re-released it in the late 40’s, continuing to sporadically issue it through 1958. At least that’s pretty easy to differentiate because apparently the 40’s-50’s versions had all black printing on the back of the card. Also the bottom part of the back, everything under the triple line was laid out a bit differently. “Indian Gum” was the first thing at the top of that section and rather than any mention of how many cards are in the series, it just says “This is one of a series of cards illustrating Indian and Pioneer romantic days”. Going by that info, at least I know that this card is from the 30’s and not the 40’s or 50’s.

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