From 1909-13, Colgan’s Chips produced three separate baseball card sets classified as E254 and E270 by Jefferson Burdick in his American Card Catalog. They were originally issued as a bonus incentive inside small nickel tins of gum sold by Colgan’s. Here’s a closer look at the three issues.
E254 / E270 Colgan’s Chips Overview
Colgan’s Chips were little disc-shaped pieces of gum issued in round containers and because of that, the cards included inside of the packages were also round. The discs measured approximately 1 1/2″ in diameter and featured black and white portraits of players. Each card had the player’s name and team printed around his picture and the backs contained an advertisement for Colgan’s Chips products. While the three series had generally the same look, they were all a bit different, too.
The E254 set was issued first and was printed from 1909-11. These cards had no borders and the back advertisement for Colgan’s called the set ‘Stars of the Diamond.’ Of the three sets, this one is the most common.
E270-1 is the only set to incorporate any color. Printed in 1912, the pictures remained black and white but the cards had a thin red border around the edge of the front. The backs again contained an advertisement for Colgan’s products but did not have the ‘Stars of the Diamond’ moniker.
Finally, E270-2 is called the Tin Tops set because the back advertisement has a mention of an offer by redeeming tin tops from their packages. This was the final Colgan’s Chips release and was printed in 1912 and 1913.
In all, more than 600 cards are combined in the sets making it a sizable issue.
E254 / E270 Colgan’s Chips Stars
While there are more than 600 cards in the three sets, there are only a little more than 200 different players included because many were included in more than one set. Some of those instances included players with different teams after they moved to a new franchise.
Collectors will find any number of big names across the three sets, including Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Addie Joss, Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, Eddie Collins, Joe Tinker, Sam Crawford, Frank Chance, Zack Wheat, Smoky Joe Wood, Ed Walsh, Rube Waddell, Home Run Baker, Hal Chase, Fred Clarke, Roger Bresnahan, Hughie Jennings, Miller Huggins, Rube Marquard, Iron Man McGinnity, Elmer Flick, and more.
The set included both major and minor leaguers.
A Special Promotion
E254 Colgan’s Chips cards only advertised that they were found in every five-cent package of the company’s Violet Chips and Mint Chips products. However, the E270 cards offered a special promotion.
The E270-1 issue offered a ‘handsome photograph of the World’s Pennant Winning Team’ in exchange for 25 box tops. The E270-2 set similarly offered a photograph of the pennant winners. However, the offer was modified slightly as it required 25 tin tops from Colgan’s products and also a two-cent stamp for mailing the photograph.
E254 / E270 Colgan’s Chips Prices
The E254 Colgan’s Chips cards are one of the best values in pre-War collecting. Mid-grade commons can be found for as little as under $20.
Even many Hall of Famers often sell for under $100. A few exceptions to that are players like Cobb, Jackson, and Wagner, and those three can sell for considerable amounts. A Cobb SGC 50/4 sold a few months ago for more than $1,400. A PSA 9 Cobb, the highest graded example in the hobby, sold for $6,572 in 2016.
E270 issues, though, are another story. Commons top $100 and stars can sell for hundreds of dollars and up. A PSA 2 Cobb sold for over $4,000 in 2015.
You can see Colgan’s Chips discs on eBay by clicking here.