Even though it’s a set that doesn’t include either Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig, the 1934-36 Diamond Stars baseball set is popular with pre-War collectors thanks to its art-deco style fronts that reflect its time as good or better than any set.
Despite missing a few key stars who apparently were under exclusive contract to Goudey, the Diamond Stars set can be expensive thanks to the last 12 cards, which are essentially duplicates of cards issued earlier in the series, but rare enough to be worth a lot more.
If you’re not up for chasing down all 108 cards in the set (plus a few variations that exist), here’s a look at five great Diamond Stars cards you can usually find for less than $100 in reasonbly nice (VG/EX type) condition.
Hall of Famer Ducky Medwick won the National League Triple Crown in 1937. No one’s done it since. The hard-charging left fielder for the Gashouse Gang, Medwick was a ten-time All-Star who played well into the 1940s.
His cards have been on the rise, but it’s still possible to land a VG-EX card from the Diamond Stars set for under $100…and it’s a piece of art.
If you were a hitter in the 1930s, this might have been the last guy you wanted to face. Deadly with a screwball, he famously fanned Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons and Cronin—all on their way to the Hall of Fame—all in a row—during the 1934 All-Star Game. Hubbell spent his entire career with the Giants, winning two MVP awards and, at one point, 24 straight games en route to Cooperstown.
You can often buy this card, from the prime of his career, for around $80-$100 in respectable shape. Yes, really.
A quiet Detroit Tigers superstar, Gehringer is considered one of the best all-around second basemen of all-time. He recorded 200 or more hits seven times, finishing with 2,839.
The Mechanical Man led the Tigers to three pennants in 1934, ’35 and ’40 and was at the peak of his powers during the three-year era when Diamond Stars cards were issued. His is one of a few landscape-oriented cards in the set.
There’s been some upward movement on the DS Gehringer but if you’re patient and willing to bid in an auction, you can still land one in VG/EX for a shade under $100.
Fun fact: Gehringer was the starting second baseman and played every inning of the first six All-Star games.
Unless you’re a big fan of baseball history, you might not know his name, but Wally Berger was simply one of the best hitters in baseball during the 30s. For the first seven years of his injury-shortened career, Berger averaged.305 with 28 HR and 103 RBI per year. Berger’s record of 38 home runs as a rookie set in 1930 wasn’t broken until Mark McGwire came along in 1987 and his 20 homers in the first 51 games of his career wasn’t matched until recently.
The underappreciated Berger appeared twice in the Diamond Stars set and while #106 (the last card in the set, by the way) is a little pricey, #25 is dirt cheap.
Another Gashouse Ganger, it was worth the price of admission just to watch ‘The Wild Horse of the Osage’ run the bases. He led the league in stolen bases three times and was a big part of the Cardinals’ World Series championship teams of 1931 and ’34. His World Series career batting average of .418 is still tied with Paul Molitor for the best of all-time (50 or more at-bats).
Amazingly, not only is a mid-grade example of his Diamond Stars card accessible for under $50, you can own an EX/NM version for less than $100.