While Goudey was the undisputed king of 1930s baseball gum cards, numerous other sets popped up throughout the decade. One of those was the 1933 George C. Miller Candy set and the set contains a rarity that is not known to all collectors. The player in question was Paul ‘Ivy’ Andrews and one variation of the card in particular is a difficult find.
Let’s take a closer look at this card.
About the George C. Miller Set
Before we even get to Andrews’ rare card, we should talk a little about the set in general. The George C. Miller Candy cards are known to many vintage collectors but as the company distributed only one set of them, they certainly are a bit off the radar.
Add in the fact that cards are fairly rare and it is easy to see why they are not as discussed as other 1930s issues. The checklist also does not include heavy hitters Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig so that’s another reason the set doesn’t draw as much interest as it probably should. The cards have a fairly basic look with names and descriptions on the back and only colorful art images on the front.
In short, the set was issued in 1933 and contains only 32 cards. Despite that small number, it is not an easy or inexpensive set to complete. The cards are not plentiful by any means and PSA, SGC, and Beckett have combined to grade only about 1,300 of them to date. Even low-grade commons usually start in the $150-$200 ballpark.
Like many companies, George C. Miller offered a special redemption offer for anyone collecting a complete set. In exchange for a full set, a collector would receive either a baseball, a baseball glove, or a ticket to a game at any stadium in the major leagues (with the exception of a World Series game). Redeemed cards were returned to collectors, but they were ‘canceled’ by the company so that they could not be redeemed again. The company cut off a part of the bottom of the card or punched holes in them to make sure they could not be used to collect another prize. One of the most common things seen with these cards is that they were cut off at the bottom — sometimes with a slight trim or other times with a more noticeable one.
To limit redemptions, the company shortprinted one of the cards in the set, making it difficult to find. That card was almost certainly Paul ‘Ivy’ Andrews.
The Ivy Andrews Card
Ivy Andrews was not by any definition a star player. But he lasted eight years in the majors, playing seasons with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Browns, and Cleveland Indians. With a career 50-59 record and 4.14 ERA as a starting pitcher and a reliever, Andrews was unspectacular. But his name is somewhat known in vintage circles and part of the reason for that is his apparent short print in this rare set.
Andrews has a total of only 22 graded cards among the three companies. That alone makes his card quite rare. But the real Andrews rarity is seen in his uncanceled cards. While most of the known Andrews cards were in fact redeemed, a few were not. To date, only six of the 22 known graded Andrews cards were not redeemed.
It should also be noted that, even six graded examples may not really exist if graded cards were cracked open and sent back in for regrading. Six is the most known graded examples among the three main grading companies but the true number could be even smaller. That is vastly different compared to the cards for all other players in the set. Every other card has far more unredeemed examples that have been graded.
What does that tell us? To me, it speaks volumes of the promotion’s success. The Andrews card was clearly a rarity and on the rare chance it was found, it was generally redeemed with the rest of the set for a prize. Collectors were not only watching for the Andrews card, when they found it, they were indeed building full sets and sending them in for the prizes. By all indications, the promotion was a successful one.
Value and a Recent Auction
Even the canceled Andrews cards are quite valuable. Low-grade examples command four figures, depending on the exact condition.
So what’s an uncanceled Andrews card worth? Quite a lot, actually.
Hunt Auctions recently sold one of these in a recent auction. It had been in an advanced collection for some time. The card, shown here, was noticeably in low-grade condition with numerous creases. Even then (and graded as an SGC Authentic), it still sold for $9,000. Any modest example sells for five figures.