By 1962, Babe Ruth’s major league career had long since ended. Even though His final major league season came in 1935, Ruth was still a legendary figure in the sport as cards were still being produced to commemorate his career.
Here’s a look at a unique 1960s set that included a popular post-war vintage card that paid tribute to the slugger.
About the 1962 Dickson Orde Sports of the Countries set
Sports of the world sets were quite popular in the early 1900s. These cards sought to spread the word about what other countries were doing in terms of recreation. Some sports that originated in one country, like soccer, tennis, or golf, began to spread to other parts of the world. Others remained fairly regionalized.
These sets aren’t for everyone, mind you. Most of them were international sets, thus making them a bit harder to find here in the U.S. And many of the sports in earlier sets might not even be considered sports by everyone. Cards depicting hunting, for example, were quite popular in these types of sets. Others featured things that were less like sports and more like activities or games. Still, whenever a baseball card pops up in one of these sets, there’s generally pretty good demand for it from vintage collectors.
Baseball was featured in several of these types of sets, though its inclusion was not always guaranteed in the slightest. Baseball was not the worldwide attraction it’s become today and many card manufacturers preferred other things like kangaroo hunting to the sport that has become America’s pastime. Go figure.
Even when it was included, often the player depicted was a generic, nameless one. There is demand for those cards, only less so. But on occasion, the cards mentioned actual players and one such example is found in a 1962 set.
The 1962 Dickson Sports of the Countries set, like many similar issues, included a total of 25 cards. This was a UK release and the great majority of those sets usually had either or 50 cards. The cards were distributed by Dickson Orde and Co., Ltd., a tobacco company.
The fronts of the cards featured a colorful image depicting a sport from around the world. The pictures on the fronts were fit into a rectangle with a white border around the edges. Backs included the Sports of the Countries name along with a card number, the country from which the sport comes, and a description of the sport. Dickson Orde and Co., Ltd. is identified at the bottom of the cards. The cards are essentially your standard tobacco card size, measuring approximately 1 3/8″ wide by 2 5/8″ tall.
Baseball, Babe Ruth, and Others
The set includes many attractive cards but there’s no doubt that the baseball card is the key to the release. Now, it is important to note that Ruth is not named on the front of the card. However, no print exists on the front of the other cards, either. Instead, Ruth is cited on the back as being the best known baseball player of all time. Ruth’s 714 home runs are stated as a record that had not yet been equaled. Hank Aaron, of course, was currently playing and on his way to topping Ruth’s legendary mark.
While Ruth is not explicitly mentioned on the front, the card depicting a somewhat large left-handed batter is generally credited as being him because of the language on the back that includes his name.
The baseball card is the most popular and most valuable card in the set. However, there are several others that are of interest to American collectors. A second card for America (Hawaii, specifically) was created for surfing. The card actually identifies the country as Hawaii, even though Hawaii gained statehood a few years earlier in 1959. Also related to the U.S. is a card for Puerto Rico depicting cockfighting. Another popular major sport included is basketball as a card featuring the Brazilian team is found in the set, too. There’s also a hockey card for Canada. A host of other popular sports includes tennis, golf, auto racing, and more.
Prices and Rarity
Decent commons in the set start as little as $2-$3 in decent shape. The major sports command a bit more with the hockey and basketball cards starting in the $7-$10 range. The baseball/Babe Ruth card is a relative bargain, starting at only around $25 or so. Even high-grade examples of that card can be purchased starting at around $50.
The cards are not rare but they are not overly common, either. The baseball card almost always has several examples on eBay but cards for the smaller, less notable sports can be tougher to find.