Many pre-war collectors are familiar with World Wide Gum cards. Those, if you’re unfamiliar, closely paralleled the Goudey sets of the 1930s. But while they are arguably the most popular Canadian issues featuring American baseball, there are several other similar vintage sets from the pre-war era. Here are five of them.
1912 Imperial Tobacco Set (C46)
The C46 Imperial set is often heralded as the only tobacco baseball issue from Canada during the pre-war era. The set is somewhat popular with vintage collectors for a few reasons.
It features only minor league teams but several of the players did make it to the major leagues. The cards’ appearances are also different from most other tobacco issues of the era. The featured a faux, wood-grain background and sepia-style of picture as opposed to a bright, colorful lithographic depiction, as found in sets like T206.
Most notably, perhaps, the set is most famous for a card of Chick Gandil. Gandil was a member of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox team and his cards are highly desired. 1912 Imperial Tobacco also has Hall of Famers Joe Kelley and Iron Man McGinnity. Mid-grade commons start around $50.
The 1923 Maple Crispette set is one of the rarer Canadian issues. Complete 30-card sets could be redeemed for a glove or a baseball. For that reason, the company shortprinted Casey Stengel’s card to make acquiring a set difficult.
Maple Crispette was a candy manufacturer out of Montreal. The cards had a plain, black and white look and the backs advertised the contest.
The set contains numerous big-name players, including Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and Babe Ruth. Commons in the set generally start around $100 in decent condition.
The 1922 Neilson’s Chocolate baseball card set is a larger issue, believed to contain 120 cards. Designated as V61 in the American Card Catalog, this set used cards with a design found in the E120 American Caramel set.
Instead of standard American Caramel backs, however, these include one of two different Neilson’s ads – one has smaller, plain font and the other as the Neilson’s name in a large calligraphic style. Neither is wildly rarer than the other, although PSA has graded a few more of the plain Type 2 style. Mid-grade commons start around $40-50.
The 1923 Willard’s Chocolates baseball card release featured 180 cards and was designated as V100 in the American Card Catalog.
This sepia-colored issue is known for its use of real pictures and thick borders. That also makes these appear more like miniature photos and less like traditional baseball cards as we know them today.
Highlighted by Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, the set includes numerous other Hall of Famers and star players. In mid-grade shape, commons begin around $50 or so.
1937 O-Pee-Chee (V300)
One of the later pre-war Canadian issues, the 1937 O-Pee-Chee baseball cards used the familiar square-like shape from the Goudey and World Wide Gum sets.
These die-cut issues ‘popped out’ so that they could be stood up on a flat surface when fully opened. Cards that were never ‘opened up’, so to speak, are more valuable. The cards utilized black and white pictures of players and, as a 40-card set, was relatively small.
It is also worth noting that the design was extremely similar to the 1936-37 V304D O-Pee-Chee hockey issue, which makes since as the company was the same and they were from the same time period. Despite the small checklist, the cards are not terribly easy to find. Generally, commons in decent condition start around $75.