While tobacco companies had ruled the baseball card market in the 1800s and early 1900s, they eventually gave way to other types of manufacturers. Starting around 1909-1910, bread companies, for example, entered the mix and began producing baseball cards. Standard Biscuit was one such company that produced three sets from 1916 to 1921.
Classified in the American Card Catalog as D350 sets, these cards were printed for the Standard Biscuit Company from 1916 to 1921. The Standard Biscuit Company was based out of San Francisco, California. In all, a total of three sets were produced and recognized by collectors today, generally classified as D350-1, D350-2, and D350-3.
Despite three separate sets being produced, all three have roughly the same look. Cards across the three sets are all printed in black and white. Specifically, the fronts include a player image with his name, position, and team at the bottom. Backs have almost the same exact backs across the three brands, referencing that both American and National League cards can be found in the company’s five-cent and ten-cent packages of products. At the bottom, the Standard Biscuit name is printed along with a reference to being the sole manufacturer of Paradise Sodas. A few variances between the sets are noted, however, and explained below.
The 1916 D350-1 Standard Biscuit issue is the first of the three sets and a confusing issue. For years, collectors have believed that they corresponded to either the M101-4 or M101-5 checklist but cards have been found with card numbers matching up with both of those.
The backs of these cards advertise 200 cards in the set but that may be incorrect due to the card numbering issue since some card numbers are known to have been found on more than one player. In addition, some players span more than one card number. Joe Jackson, for example, is found on card numbers 86 and 87.
Those cards along with cards of all-around athlete Jim Thorpe and the legendary Babe Ruth (which some collectors have termed as a rookie card) headline this impressive set. These cards measure approximately 1 5/8″ wide x 3″ tall.
1917 D350-2 Standard Biscuit
Like the D350-1 issue, the 1917 D350-2 Standard Biscuit set mentions a total of 200 cards on the backs. However, these cards correspond with the E135 Collins-McCarthy checklist and measure at 2″ x 3 1/4″.
This set does not have the heavy hitters found in the first issue, but still has a boatload of impressive names, such as Rogers Hornsby, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner, Tris Speaker, and many of the members from the 1919 Chicago Black Sox team. For that reason, it can be a popular set for Hall of Fame or 1919 White Sox collectors.
Printed in 1921, the D350-3 set is the most different of the three. Instead of 200 cards, backs from this subset advertise only 80 cards in a set. The border around the text is also a different pattern than the one found on the first two issues and the fronts do not include card numbers as are on D350-1 and D350-2 cards. At 2″ x 3 1/4″, they are the same size as the D350-2 series, however.
The checklist for these cards seems to align with the E121 American Caramel (Series of 80, not 120) cards but so few cards have been confirmed that it cannot be conclusively stated. Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth highlight this supremely scarce set.
Standard Biscuit Prices
Standard Biscuit prices are all over the map because of the scarcity of some cards. In general, however, commons from the first two sets are the most inexpensive cards available. D350 Standard Biscuit cards are all rare, but decent mid-grade commons at the lower end of the spectrum can be found for under $100 with some patience. Even Hall of Famers can be found at some reasonable prices given how scarce they are. This Max Carey in Good condition, for example, recently sold for only about $80. Most Hall of Famers in decent shape will vary in the hundreds of dollars.
Heavy hitters sell for tens of thousands of dollars and that 1916 Ruth card tops $100,000 even in low-grade condition.
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