While baseball cards in the 1920s and 1930s were generally getting bigger in size than the tobacco and caramel cards that preceded them, one issue chose to go small. Tiny, actually. Let me introduce you to the 1930 Baguer Chocolates set, a Cuban issue that’s unknown even to many knowledgeable collectors.
1930 Baguer Chocolates Overview
Simply put, the 1930 Baguer Chocolates (technically Chocolate Baguer in Spanish) set is one of the smallest ever produced. Measuring at approximately 5/8″ wide x 7/8″ tall, the cards can be, quite literally, hard to find.
A total of 90 ‘cards’ are in the set, which is sepia-colored. The fronts include an obviously small portrait of a baseball player with his name printed at the bottom. The backs are even more understated containing only the simple phrase, ‘El mas popular’ after the Chocolate Baguer name. Translated, that means, ‘the most popular.’
The cards used real photographs of players and also had a glossy appearance. An album was offered, which collectors could use to glue their cards into. That has led to the discovery of some with damaged backs on occasion.
Also of importance is that the card set is a candy/gum issue. That was unique because the bulk of international baseball issues at that time were issued with tobacco products.
Because of its small size and the fact that it’s an international issue, many collectors choose to pass on it. One reason that you shouldn’t, however, is the checklist.
1930 Baguer Chocolates Checklist
Despite the production by a Cuban chocolatier, the set included American baseball players.
Not only is the set home to major leaguers, but a boatload of stars. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Walter Johnson represent the biggest ones here. But many other Hall of Famers can be found, too, including Mickey Cochrane, Jimmie Foxx, Eddie Collins, Lefty Grove, Rogers Hornsby, Mel Ott, Kiki Cuyler, John McGraw, George Sisler, Hack Wilson, Al Simmons, and many more.
Also in the checklist is a name unfamiliar to most collectors – Mitchell Blake. However, Blake is important in this set in that his card was reportedly short printed. The exact reason isn’t known for sure, although it could have been a case of preventing large-scale redemptions of the sets for prizes, which was a common practice. According to Hake’s, prizes were indeed offered for a full set, which provides us with the likely reason that Blake’s card was shortprinted. ‘Complete’ sets are often sold without his card included.
1930 Baguer Chocolates Pricing
Despite being nearly 90 years old and somewhat difficult to find international issue, the Baguer Chocolates remains extremely affordable in the grand scheme of things. Mid-grade commons generally start in the $20 – $30 neighborhood and some Hall of Famers can be found in that condition for under $100. Ruth is the most expensive (non-short printed, anyway) issue with his card topping $1,000 in mid-grade condition.
In 2014, a complete set, missing the Blake card, was sold by REA for $3,600.
Blake’s short-printed card is so scarcely seen that it is difficult to put a reliable price on it. To date, PSA has not graded a single copy and SGC has graded only one, according to their pop reports.
You can see a few dozen on eBay here.