The 1934 Goudey set was the smaller follow-up issue to the extremely popular 1933 Goudeys. The cards had a different design but a similar look. Measuring 2 3/8″ x 2 7/8″, they were again shaped more like a square instead of earlier issues that were a bit taller. They again had colorful depictions of players on the front and biographies on the back.
Most notable by his absence was Babe Ruth. Ruth was clearly the highlight of the 1933 set with a total of four cards in the issue – the most of any player. He was replaced by Lou Gehrig as the focal point and the 1934 set even bore Lou Gehrig’s name and image on most cards on a small banner at the bottom. The banner read, “Lou Gehrig says” and the biography on the back was a statement from Gehrig on that particular player. The exception are the high number cards which feature Chuck Klein’s name/image on the fronts in the banner area and his commentary on the back.
Here are five key cards from the set.
We’re going to start off with a two-for-one here as both of Lou Gehrig’s cards are clearly the keys to the set. Card No. 37 features a classic portrait headshot of the Hall of Famer and No. 61 features him with a baseball bat.
Goudey really did a nice job in including some variety in his poses and both cards are heavily desired. They’re easily the two most expensive cards in the set. Thankfully, they’re easy to find in a variety of price points but respectable copies usually sell for more than $1,000.
High end examples, of course, are highly sought after and sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
Foxx had just won the Triple Crown, so it’s no surprise Goudey made him the first card in their second set.
While the designs on the 1934 Goudey cards were slightly different from the 1933 issue, some pictures were the same and that holds true for Foxx. A different Foxx image would have been nice since the same shot was actually featured twice in the 1933 set on both of his cards.
Of note also is that, many No. 1 cards in sets are also often found in lesser condition as it was the first one seen in collector’s sets and often less protected. That appears to be a factor here as Foxx’s card has a higher ratio of low graded cards than others in the set, per PSA’s pop report. Nearly 20% of his PSA-graded cards are in Authentic or Poor condition.
Hank Greenberg (No. 62)
Right after Lou Gehrig’s card No. 61 in the set is another big name in Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. Greenberg was a major star of the day and his card is extremely important here in that he wasn’t featured in the 1933 issue.
Greenberg was active in 1933 but it was his first full season so it’s easy to see why he was left out of that set. But he showed some promise as a rookie batting .301 and was included here. Since he had no major 1933 issues, the 1934 Goudey is seen as his rookie card, making it even more desirable.
Kiki Cuyler (No. 90)
Even as a Hall of Famer, Kiki Cuyler’s name isn’t among the biggest in the set. Other cards in the set not recognized here are more expensive and more prestigious than his. However, I’ve added Cuyler to my list because he is the most significant prize in the issue’s high number series. Those cards had a different look, featuring Chuck Klein instead of Lou Gehrig and are a bit tougher to find than the rest of the set.
Cuyler’s card is a great image, featuring him with a bat and a the only Hall of Famer in the high number series, it’s definitely one of the more noteworthy cards in the release.
Ernie Lombardi (No. 35)
Lombardi rounds out my list and the Hall of Fame catcher is deserving. Like Cuyler, other bigger names and more expensive card can be found here. But Lombardi makes the cut since unlike some others (i.e. Dizzy Dean), he wasn’t featured in the 1933 set.
Lombardi’s 1934 Goudey card isn’t generally viewed as a true rookie card as he appeared in some earlier Zeenut series and also the 1933 Tatoo Orbit Gum set. But the card is his first Goudey and can be seen as a second-year card of sorts as his earlier Zeenuts were produced when he was a minor leaguer.
This is one of the earliest cards of the Hall of Famer and is a relative bargain starting around $75-$100 in mid-grade condition.