Produced from 1911 through 1938, the Zee-Nut baseball sets represented one of the longest-running pre-war series. They were produced on the west coast and the checklists consisted of minor leaguers so many names are not recognizable to even seasoned collectors. However, the Zee-Nuts sets do include several players that ultimately had Hall of Fame careers.
One of those is Dazzy Vance and an ultra rare version of his 1919 Zee-Nut has surfaced.
The source? His family.
The card was recently obtained by Dave Hobson of BaseballCardBuyer.com. It was purchased directly from a member the Vance family, where it has apparently resided since it was printed.
Vance’s 1919 Zee-Nut card is rare but has been seen before. PSA hasn’t graded any copies yet but SGC has graded seven. What makes this particular card noteworthy, though, is that Vance’s card is complete– with the coupon at the bottom still attached. It might be the only complete 1919 Vance card in existence. That should translate into a significant amount of interest from pre-War collectors.
Cards issued under the Zee-Nut brand by Collins-McCarthy Company began in 1911 and lasted until 1938 and showcased players from the Pacific Coast League. Zee-Nut cards were usually issued with coupons that could be sent in for prizes. Most of those have since been torn off and, as a result, most come with torn edges. Those with the coupons intact are much rarer and, consequentially, much more valuable.
The card was recently graded a 1.5 by SGC because of some horizontal creasing. It is expected to be offered in Heritage Auctions’ Spring catalog February 23-24 and a five-figure price tag isn’t out of the question. A lesser graded SGC 10 (1)–without the coupon– was sold in 2017 by REA for $1,440. In 2011, REA sold an SGC 3–again without the coupon–for $2,644.
Vance’s card is one of the key cards in the set. And while he actually appeared in major league games prior to that with the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates, the card is believed to be his first picturing him as a professional.
Vance’s card features him pitching for Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League. His career got off to a pretty slow start and Vance didn’t become a full-time major leaguer until 1922 at the age of 31. But it wouldn’t take him long to become acclimated to the league. The hurler won a total of 86 games in his first four full years. Vance won the pitcher’s version of the Triple Crown in 1924, leading the league with 28 wins (to only six losses), 262 strikeouts, and a 2.16 ERA. His 262 whiffs were the third in what would become a run of seven straight years in leading the league.