Bond Bread issued three baseball card sets in the 1940s and 1950s. Over a three-part series, we’ll be taking a look at each one. The first part of this series reviewed the company’s 48-card D305 set that was issued in 1947. In this second part, we’ll cover is the company’s set of Jackie Robinson cards, which featured only the Dodgers’ star rookie. Here’s a closer look at this important 1940s release.
Inside the Bond Bread Jackie Robinson Set
Unlike Bond Bread’s other multi-player set that was distributed in 1947 (known as D305 in the American Card Catalog), this bread card release included only a single player — Brooklyn Dodgers rookie sensation Jackie Robinson.
Robinson, of course, broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947. That year, he was spectacular for the Dodgers and ultimately won the Rookie of the Year Award.
That Bond Bread even created the set is somewhat remarkable. Robinson certainly did steal the show in 1947 on his way to integrating the major leagues. Still, the decision to make him a focal point of an entire set had to be somewhat controversial. Robinson was a beloved player but also faced his fair share of fans and opposing players that did not want to see him succeed.
In all, a total of 13 Robinson cards were printed for the set. Prices for the cards have continued to rise over the years as they are among the few “true” rookie cards for the Hall of Fame player.
The cards measure the same 2 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ size as the aforementioned D305 1947 Bond Bread cards in the company’s other larger set. However, the cards do have a slightly different design despite being released in the same year. Instead of borderless cards as seen in D305, these Jackie Robinson cards have sizable white borders. Inside of those borders is a black and white photograph of Robinson with rounded corners. Backs of the Robinson cards are also different from that larger multiplayer release. The D305 cards had blank backs but these cards had advertisements on the back.
The lone exception in the set that is different is a single portrait card of Robinson. The portrait card of Robinson is the most well known card in the release. It includes a biography for the superstar instead of a more standard advertising back found on the other cards. Additionally, the portrait card includes a replica Robinson signature while the others do not.
The cards are classified as D302 in the American Card Catalog. Interestingly, in that book, author Jefferson Burdick cited only six cards in the set despite the fact that there are more than twice as many. Why he documented so few cards is unclear. But the book is obviously in error with regards to the checklisting for this issue. Burdick’s book either included a simple mistake or the collect was not aware of how many Robinson cards were truly in the set.
The set is commonly cited as a 1947 issue. However, evidence suggests that does not appear to be entirely correct.
This Net54 thread started by a couple of dedicated collectors who have researched the set reveals some of the pictures that were used to create the set. Those images were actually from later years, meaning the set was either issued after 1947 or began in 1947 and spanned several years. Additionally, research indicates that the portrait card was a promo card of sorts that was distributed with a couple of slices of bread and a coupon, which would help explain the reason so many more of those exist than the other cards.
While all of the cards are generally considered to be 1947 (and thus, rookie) issues by most collectors today, that is clearly not the case. It may be unknown exactly which cards were released in which years but they could not have all been issued in 1947, based on the photographic evidence provided in that thread.
Bond Bread Jackie Robinson Checklist
Here’s a look at the checklist for the 1947 Bond Bread Jackie Robinson set. The cards do not include printed titles and are not numbered. Thus, the cards are presented below in alphabetical order based on the descriptions of the pictures. Titles presented in other checklisted sources will surely vary.
- Batting Stance
- Fielding with Ball Shown (standing)
- Fielding with Ball Shown (kneeling)
- Fielding with No Ball Shown
- Follow Through Swing (with sleeves)
- Follow Through Swing (no sleeves)
- Holding Glove Up
- Jumping (with scoreboard)
- Jumping (no scoreboard)
None of the cards in this remarkable 1940s baseball card set are altogether common. However, it must be noted that the portrait card of Robinson is by far and away the easiest one to find. Case in point, PSA has graded a little more than 320 of the cards from this set as of the time of this writing. To date, more than one-third of those have been the Robinson portrait card.
Despite that, do not expect to find that portrait card for a cheap price. In fact, none of the cards are all that inexpensive. Even low-grade examples of cards from this set are almost always over $1,000. Modestly graded cards are easily over $2,000 and can easily cost several thousand dollars if in better condition. You can usually find some on eBay.
Finally, even though there are a total of only 13 cards in the set, collectors wanting fully assembled sets can find those difficult to locate. Complete sets do pop up on occasion but the price is always a steep one. A few years ago, Goldin Auctions sold a complete graded set for $22,800.