Babe Ruth’s card in the 1932 Sanella / Astra sets is the key issue in the release. Despite the fact the set was issued in Germany, Ruth is featured and his card is easily the most popular. It is also the most expensive, even thought it is actually one of the cheapest cards of the slugger.
In all, there are 112 cards in the release and there are also plenty of other interesting cards, too, and all are extremely affordable. Here are seven of them:
Beyond the Ruth, this is often the card that draws the most attention from American collectors as it is the only other baseball issue.
The catcher is unnamed but I believe it features Japanese Hall of Famer Jiro Kuji for a number of reasons. Kuji and Ruth were closely linked during Ruth’s time in Japan and it would make sense that he is the subject here. The catcher is pictured against the backdrop of an airfield, which included a recreational baseball field.
Another popular card with American collectors is one featuring a hockey game. Initial thoughts might be that one of the teams featured is a Canadian national taem with those red and white uniforms but that isn’t the case.
The players are not named here but the teams are stated on the back. Pictured is action from a game between Brandenburg and SCC. These appear to be two German hockey clubs and SCC could reference a club team from Berlin.
Ruth’s name is the biggest found in the 1932 Sanella set but one that would have rivaled his at the time would have been Sonja Henie. Henie is one of the greatest figure skaters of all time and won three consecutive Olympic titles from 1928 through 1936.
Even beyond that, however, she was also a movie star appearing in numerous films. Henie was born in Norway and would later become an American citizen. But she also performed quite a bit in Germany and is even said to have been friendly with Adolf Hitler.
Basket … Er, Netball
One of the more interesting pictures in the 1932 Sanella set features a game that looks like something resembling basketball. Participants seem to be divided into teams in an old-fashioned game of ‘shirts vs. skins.’
A ball is being tossed towards a basket but this isn’t quite basketball. Rather, it’s the sport of netball. The two games are certainly similar, which is why the card draws interest among some vintage basketball collectors. But netball is a definitively different sport and one that is still played today. One of the biggest differences between the activities is that netball does not use a backboard.
German what? The 1932 Sanella set has a few odd-looking pictures and one with a man inside of a large wheel is certainly one of those. The card features a man inside of the large apparatus rolling down a hill, prompting the question of ‘What is this?”
The wheel sort of looks like a more complex version of today’s cyr wheel. These wheels are the ring-type objects that you often see being used by street performers as they roll around. This contraption, though, is certainly a little different as it has more bars on it and was called the Globus Rhönrad on the back of the card. But the two appear similar in nature.
Max Schmeling vs. Jack Sharkey
In terms of big name athletes in the set, few will be able to match up with Max Schmeling and Jack Sharkey. The pair of boxers are featured on this card picturing them in a fight. The pair fought twice – once in 1930 and again in 1932. The latter bout is the source of this picture as indicated on the back.
The two had an important rivalry in the early 1930s and that has made this card desirable among boxing fans. Schmeling won the 1930 fight due to a low blow by Sharkey but Sharkey would win the 1932 fight by a split decision.
One of the more underrated cards in the set is that of tennis star Helen Wills (sometimes referred to as Helen Wills-Moody). At the time, Wills was one of the top players in the game and was fresh off winning the Wimbledon title in 1932, one of her 19 Grand Slam singles titles. Her inclusion here, in a set with several other tennis players, seems natural.
Regarded as one of the top players of all time, she was twice on the cover of Time Magazine and would go on to be inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame.
Most of the above cards–and many others in this set– can be found online for less than $10.