As far as collectors of vintage baseball cards are concerned, not many sets are as challenging and rewarding as the 1933 George C. Miller set.
A regional issue which was distributed in the Greater Boston area alone, this Depression era set is very fascinating, with portraits made from original artwork. They were purposely designed for marketing toward children and kids could swap a 32-card set for a baseball they liked, a glove or a ticket to any big league game. A lot of them were sent in and returned but with holes punched into them or their edges trimmed so that they would be difficult to redeem a second time. For this reason and also for the fact that those which were not redeemed were possibly carried around by kids, it was very difficult to find them in high grade. The cards that were sent in were cancelled by a company rep either cutting off the bottom fourth of the card or via a series of punch holes. Obviously, the cancelled cards are considered low grade and not worth as much.
George C. Miller cards are artistic, challenging and yet enticing. Far more scarce than the more common Goudey gum issues from the mid-1930s, they’ve earned the respect of hobbyists for a long time. Jefferson Burdick, the creator of the American Card Catalog designations which are still used today, tagged the Miller issue as “R300”, an even number which he used to possibly demonstrate the importance he attached to a set that was already difficult to find in the ‘50s.
Two players were represented for all of the National and American teams; 16 for each league. The Ivy Andrews card was short printed, apparently to keep the Miller company from having to send out too many prizes.
Each card has two variations. “Type 1” cards have Jimmie Foxx’s name spelled with only one “x” and Chuck Klein’s last name with the “i” before the “e”. The errors were corrected.
On PSA’s Set Registry, the best set having a grade of just above 5 (EX), was sold three years ago at auction for over $246,000. The Andrews, Foxx, Dizzy Dean, Lefty Grove and other Hall of Famers are the priciest cards in the set with even poor quality examples often selling for $350 and up. On rare occasions when higher grade cards have been offered, prices soar into the thousands.
In PSA’s Population Report, there are less than 600 cards from set and many are of lower grade.
Fewer than 50 George C. Miller cards are currently available on eBay including several of those that were cancelled by the company.