A fresh generation of kids grew up in the 14-year break between the last Dixie Lid baseball set of the 1930s and the first of the 1950s. In between, America fought World War II and a new set of stars came to the forefront.
Dixie Lids were again found on the underside of the little cups of ice cream that were produced by various dairy companies. The revival began in 1952, the same year Topps produced its first full set of bubble gum cards. The baby boom had begun as military personnel returned home and the market for gum and candy was beginning to explode.
While the 1930s product used rounded photos of the players, the 1950s sets had photos that were squared off with the player’s name and team underneath. Around the top was a promotion for what we know today at Dixie Lids Premiums. “Save Any 12 Dixie Picture Lids for a Large Picture of Me” consumers were instructed.
Not many did.
The Premium sets produced in 1952 and 1953 are pretty rare.
Just as with the 1930s sets, there’s a pull tab on the lid. Those that weren’t torn away are preferred by collectors and carry a premium over those that don’t.
1952 Dixie Lids Set
As it is, it’s an extremely scarce and much sought after set but what a frenzy there would be today if young Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays had been included oin the 1952 Dixie Lids roster. As it is, the Dixie Lids were a little short on star power in the 50s. Ted Williams, Stan Musial and Jackie Robinson weren’t included either, perhaps because of promotional conflicts with products they endorsed or contractual issues. For Mays and Williams, it may have been because of the military commitments that kept them away from the game during the time Dixie Lids were being produced.
The reason for the player selection has been lost to time but the ’52 set isn’t totally void of recognizable names. Bob Feller is here. So is Nellie Fox. Hank Bauer, Gene Woodling and Allie Reynolds give the set some Yankee chops. There’s a Red Schoendienst and an Enos Slaughter for Cardinal fans and the set leads off with Richie Ashburn.
By far the most rare and expensive of the 50s sets, 1952 Dixie Lids are valued at $50-$75 for cards with modest wear but they are extremely difficult to find. In fact, a complete set isn’t known to exist and PSA has graded only 29 in total. Some believe the promotion barely got off the ground because of those issues with the players.
Feller, Fox and Ashburn are the most expensive, when you can find them.
The photos on the front have a blue tint to them while the 1953 and ’54 sets have darker hues.
The 1952 Dixie Premium set checklist mirrors the Lids. Printed on heavy paper, the premiums feature the player’s 1951 season statistics on the lower right of the front. The player is pictured with a facsimile autograph. Interestingly, these are valued at about half the of the regular lids.
1953 Dixie Lids Set
The ice cream lid promotion continued in 1953—with 24 more to collect—27 if you could the three variations. Ashburn again led off the checklist and several of the same names returned including Fox, Monte Irvin and Schoendienst but there were some newcomers and some adjustments during the course of the promotion.
Warren Spahn was initially produced as a member of the Boston Braves but the club’s late spring move resulted in a second Spahn issued in the summer that put him in Milwaukee. Teammate Sid Gordon got the same treatment. The Boston version of the Spahn lid is hard to find and the most valuable of the 27 issued.
Ralph Kiner joined the set and is pictured as a Pirate in the first run and a Cub in the second after he was dealt away by Pittsburgh.
Ted Kluszewski and Jackie Jensen, two fresh young stars, were notable additions in 1953.
The 8×10 mail-in premiums returned in ’53 but are more in line with the values of the lids themselves.
1954 Dixie Lids Set
The checklist for the 1954 Dixie Lids set was limited to 18 players with many of the same faces found in 1952 and ’53. This time, each player has a “left” and “right” facing version. The photo premium went away, replaced by an offer for a “3-D Starviewer”.
Kiner, Irvin, Jensen, Slaughter and Schoendienst headed up the roster with Gil McDougald and Minnie Minoso among the few making their Dixie debuts.
For some reason, Ashburn, who appeared in all three sets, is difficult to find in 1954, especially with the tab intact.
The 1954 set is often a little cheaper than the first two Dixie sets of the 1950s, and for that collectors are grateful, but also still wondering “what if” their ice cream had come with Willie, Mickey, Duke or Teddy Ballgame.
You can see Dixie Lids from all three sets on eBay by clicking here.