New finds certainly ring the dinner bell for the vintage collectors who are astute to the true rarities the hobby seldom reveal and what seems to be, in no timely manner. The constant quest to find market-fresh vintage cards or collectibles keeps that sometimes ambiguous word “hope” alive within all collectors.
A new find by Shawn Chaulk, long-time hobbyist and most noted for having the greatest Wayne Gretzky memorabilia collection ever amassed, brings to market 107 hobby-fresh, 1949-50 NHL Ice Hockey Star wrappers. These wrappers come with a familiar name, resurrected from the 1930’s: the World Wide Gum Company (often called the Canadian Goudey company), located out of Granby, Quebec. The company’s resurgence came as they reentered the hockey gum premium market in the late 1940’s.
These “cards” aren’t printed on traditional card stock but rather on their “Oh Boy” chewing gum wrappers. This first post-war hockey gum issue has 48 NHL players, and teems with 21 Hockey Hall of Famers.
On the inside sleeve of the Oh Boy chewing gum sticks reveal 48, not often seen or represented, NHL hockey stars from the 1940’s. Certainly a lost era of collectibles for our hobby and from a decade totally absent of hockey gum packs and almost void of any type of premiums being released. This was denied through a time of war and economic recovery with little place to find any company focusing on promotions after living through an era of ration tokens and paper drives.
The paper wrapper, gum stick sleeves, when opened measure 2 5/8” x 2 3/16”, pretty much the same size as their previous cards issued in the 1930’s. Each wrapper is numbered with the players name and any allocated nickname inclusive, team, position and a detailed biographical write up in both English and French.
This super scarce set of 48 “NHL Ice Hockey Star” wrappers would be thought to have eight different players represented from each of the six National Hockey League teams, however due late summer player trades between Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins, confusing the maker of the count per team. So, four teams have eight players each and Boston ended up with nine and this years Stanley Cup Champions, the Detroit Red Wings were thus reduced to seven.
The set is defined by the bounty of NHL Hall of Fame players, boasting 21 in all. The preeminent players’ that grace this set are; a Montreal Canadiens player who starts at wrapper #1 being Maurice “Rocket” Richard, followed by the one of a kind, #2 Walter “Turk” Broda. The #4 wrapper is Gerald “Sid” Abel who would finally win a Stanley Cup after a long 20-year storied history as a pro hockey player. Milton Schmidt is #5, the lead protagonist of the famed Kraut line of the Boston Bruins. Last but certainly not least, William “Bill” Barilko, who’s sadly shorten career and life makes for very few collectibles available from this Toronto Maple Leaf-centric revered hockey star. These five gum wrappers would certainly top the want lists of the hockey masses.
I would be remiss by not mentioning the balance of the Hall of Fame players poised in this star studded set: #3 William “Buddy” O’Connor, #6 Douglas Bently, #7 Elmer Lach, #9 Earl “Chuck” Rayner, #12 Roy Conacher, #13 Bill Durnan, #14 Harry Watson, #16 George “Bill” Quackenbush, #17 Woodrow “Woody” Dumart, #18 William “Bill” Mosienko, #19 Kenneth Reardon, #20 Ted “Teeder” Kennedy, #22 Robert “Ted” Lindsay, #26 Max Bently, #28 Harry Lumley, #31 Emile “Butch” Bouchard and #34 Robert “Bud” Poile to round out to be over 1/3 of this set as hall of famers.
The only other find of these wrappers harkens back to 2006 by none other than your writer. At that time when we had never even documented one wrapper, about 80 came into my possession but there was not a complete set to be had and a few players were yet to be found. The checklist has since been fulfilled but that took almost a decade to do so. Since then, there has been a small splatter of one or two, here or there that has come to the marketplace in the 16 years.
To date, there has been no collector with bragging rights as to possessing a full complete set of these obscure NHL wrappers. Although, Shawn Chaulk now can claim these rights and does have a full set, he stated ”it will be sent to PSA soon enough.”
The surge in the past five years for wrappers and display boxes has been unprecedented in the hobby and going forward, this early set may well be on the want lists of hockey collectors, be it a single player, a team set or to chase a full set to satisfy the completest for those so inclined.
You can contact Shawn Chaulk about these wrappers or any other hobby questions, by reaching out directly at [email protected]