Back in 2009, a new baseball card issue was offered to the hobby — an obscure 1930s gum card set that was distributed by Fleer. Ten years later, the 1930s Whiz Bang Gum cards are still a difficult find and quite valuable.
1930s Whiz Bang Gum Overview
In 2009, REA offered a large collection of previously unknown cards in the 1930s Whiz Bang Gum cards. The cards were not in the American Card Catalog and appeared to be completely new to the hobby.
The cards have an incredibly odd shape. They are discs with four corners / tabs sticking out of the edges. A player’s name and team are printed inside of the circular shape where their picture is presented. Backs have a colorful swirl design but no printed text to further identify them. They were not pack-issued and really more of a premium. They came with small factory holes in them for a string to be inserted and could be made into a bit of a toy.
The disc-shaped cards were printed with green, yellow, or orange borders. Those colors are mixed and matched among the subjects. Assuming each subject has each of those front color variations, that would provide for a master set of at least a total of 48 different cards. However, not every subject is known with every color to date so a complete checklist with all variations remains inconclusive.
Notably, while baseball players are included in the set, this is largely a non-sports issue. Of the 16 subjects, only three baseball players are included. All three, however, are Hall of Famers in Goose Goslin, Gabby Hartnett, and Lefty Grove. Others in the set are non-sports personalities, such as famous actor Gary Cooper. Another subject, Hoot Gibson, could be considered both a sports and non-sports figure, as he was a professional rodeo champion but also more known for being an actor.
Dating for the set is often confusing with many referring to this set as a 1930s issue. REA first cited the set as a circa 1932 issue but then stated that information found dates it almost certainly to 1930.
The Find and Link to Fleer
Many people don’t know that the find of these unique cards was actually part of a much larger offering of candy issues that was being auctioned by REA. The cards were found in a box with unopened packages of gum. The box was really a large display, including the cards, gum, and an advertisement. The advertisement provides more information on the set and actually identifies the cards as ‘Taka-Flyers’ and ‘Boomerang Flyers.’
Whiz Bang Gum, was a Fleer brand and thus, these are considered to be Fleer cards. More importantly, the cards were in tremendous condition and apparently had never been distributed.
How collectors could receive the gum is also important. The cards were not distributed merely to everyone buying gum. Two pieces were given for one cent and the cards were only given away to a consumer finding a white stick of gum. 300 packages of gum was in the box and only 30 sticks were white. That would, presumably, leave the dealer with many extra cards left over if every box had the total of 83 cards that were found in this box. The cards were not wrapped in packages, so it is possible that the original intent was to allow the buyer to select which card they wanted.
The lot from the find included many duplicates with a grand total of 16 different subjects. As no new subjects have been since found, these are believed to make up the entire set.
Original distribution of the subjects found was also not equal. Among the baseball players, four Gabby Hartnett cards were found, along with five of Goose Goslin and six of Lefty Grove. By comparison with the others, those numbers were around the middle. A few subjects had only one card but others, including Buck Jones, Ken Maynard, and Wallace McDonald had more.
Whiz Bang Gum Prices
The original collection of the Whiz Bang Gum cards sold in 2009 for $18,800. If you’re looking for a Whiz Bang Gum card these days, you’ll need some patience. They simply aren’t up for sale very often. While eBay usually has a few pieces of Whiz Bang Gum memorabilia, they often do not have any cards.
Because of the rarity of this issue, determining a precise value is not possible. However, any of the baseball cards would seemingly sell for at least several hundred dollars in decent condition. An SGC 8 of Grove fetched nearly $1,000 in a 2015 auction.