The 1952 Star-Cal Decals set is one of the more interesting 1950s issues. While the Topps and Bowman sets get most of the attention from collectors, this unique set has its own great lineup of stars and is significantly tougher to find.
1952 Star-Cal Decals Basics
The 1952 Star-Cal Decals set was produced by the Meyercord Company, which was based in Chicago, as is printed on the backs of the packaging. These were offered in red packaging with the Star-Cal name and, as advertised, were decals that would adhere to a surface with the addition of water. Once dipped into warm water, they would stick to a desired surface.
Meyercord offered several different ideas for collectors. These could adhere to mirrors, walls, lunch boxes, books, lockers, furniture, trays, lamp shades, as well as several other items. In addition to a list of possibilities on the backs, Meyercord even provided visual displays of some of these possibilities. A unique suggestion was sticking it directly to a wall and then using colored tape to create a frame of sorts. I have to imagine parents were less than thrilled with that idea.
While the backs of the packaging explained the concept, it was the actual decals that were the feature. The decals featured all sorts of Major League Baseball Players and the set had various stars. The biggest are Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, but also found here are Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Yogi Berra, and many more. While most collectors think of the Mick’s 1952 Topps card, his 1952 Star-Cal Decal is much rarer.
In addition to baseball players, a similar but less popular set with the same kind of design was also created featuring non-sports entertainers.
There are two types of Star-Cal Decals. Both were issued in 1952 and have the same kind of design and packaging. However, the two types are distinctive. The first type of decals (shown left) featured only one player while the second type (on the right) included two smaller ones.
While the first type includes a total of 68 decals, the second includes 32, giving us a clean 100 for the complete set. Some players, such as Mays, can be found in both types. However, Mantle is included in only Type 1.
One interesting thing is the unique numbering of the decals. Type 1 decals were given a corresponding number and letter combination starting with No. 70 and with letters running through letter G. Thus, cards were numbered such as 70D or 80 A. Type 2 decals followed a similar system but instead starting at 84 and with letters A, B, or C.
1952 Star-Cal Decals Prices
While these are decals and not traditional baseball cards, they are still heavily desired for a few reasons. First, they are now more than 60 years old and are sought after by vintage collectors. Second, they are pretty rare compared to the more common Topps and Bowman issues. Finally, they have the aforementioned large assortment of big names, which makes assembling a set even more worthwhile.
Commons from the set typically start around $20-$30. Stars, depending on the player, can sell for hundreds. The Mantle, as you would expect, is the most expensive one in the set. One sold for more than $5,000 at auction. These are worth more when found sealed in the original red packaging, which is how they are most commonly seen.
Complete sets are seen but not too often. A Type 1 set with the Mantle sold for $42,000 in an REA auction in 2018.
You can find 1952 Star Cal Decals on eBay here.