In 1933 and 1934, World Wide Gum, Canada’s Goudey counterpart so to speak, created two sets of baseball cards. These cards mirrored the 1933 and 1934 Goudey sets pretty closely. The World Wide Gum sets were smaller but they retained the same Goudey designs. The 1936 World Wide Gum set, however, broke with tradition and were distinctly different from the 1936 Goudey set. Here’s more on this unique issue.
The 1936 World Wide Gum cards were, in a way, like the others. The cards had the same shape that was more like a square, measuring approximately 2 3/8″ wide by 2 13/16″ tall. The biggest difference was in terms of the pictures. Instead of colored art renditions of players, the 1936 World Wide Gum set utilized real black and white images. That was also the case with the 1936 Goudey set but the two issues were also significantly different in their design.
First, while the Goudey set included a player’s name written in cursive font on the front, the World Wide Gum issue placed the player’s name in a capital-letter font neatly in a box. The World Wide Gum cards also included a card number while no such number was found on the Goudey cards.
Backs of the cards are even more different. Goudey cards included a short biography of the player in question in the middle but the cards were also to be used as part of a game with game actions printed on them. The World Wide Gum card backs were almost entirely about the player. A longer bio was provided and the bio was also printed both in English and French, due to the Canadian distribution. They also included the World Wide Gum name on the back and stated they were printed in Canada. The Goudey cards, by comparison, made no such mention of the printer or the printing location.
1936 World Wide Gum Stars … and a Short Print
One other notable distinction is in the size of the sets. The Goudey set was extremely short with only 25 players featured while the World Wide Gum issue has 135 cards. This was a reversal from 1933 and 1934 when the Goudey sets had more cards.
As a result, the World Wide Gum set includes many more stars. The release is loaded with big names from the era, including Lou Gehrig, Dizzy Dean, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg but the key to the set in terms of star power is the Joe DiMaggio card No. 51. DiMaggio’s card is so important because it’s considered to be a rookie card. In all, there are more than 35 Hall of Famers in a mostly star-studded set. There are actually more Hall of Famers in the World Wide Gum release than there are total cards in the Goudey issue.
The 1936 World Wide Gum set fills a cardboard void by offering a fairly comprehensive picture of baseball at the time in an era when American-made sets were limited.
While there are bigger names in the set, one of the rarest cards is No. 135, the final one in the release. That card features Philip Weintraub and is seen as a short print. It is difficult to find and can often be a thorn in the side of set collectors.
1936 World Wide Gum Prices
1936 World Wide Gum prices are higher than they are for the 1936 Goudey set as the cards are significantly more scarce. Mid-grade commons generally start around $75 and can often top $100. Stars and Hall of Famers vary by name and condition but there’s no doubt that the DiMaggio is the gem of the set. An SGC 50 sold for $6,600 in a 2015 REA auction and the card easily sells into the five figures in better condition.