For collectors who chase unopened packs with stars on top, it’s about as good as it gets. While you might enjoy a 1976 Topps pack with Walter Payton showing or a 1980s cello with a Hall of Famer on top, they’re not quite up to the level of a package of gum from 1929 with Babe Ruth showing.
One of four such known packs–all from the same east coast unopened find that took place more than 13 years ago–is now on the market. A 1929 Star Player candy pack with Ruth on top is being offered in the current Heritage Auctions catalog.
The pack was part of a jaw dropping find of 1920s and 30s sports and non-sports candy and gum boxes that was uncovered on the back of a dusty shelf of an old wholesaler’s warehouse and sold through Robert Edward Auctions in 2009. The “Headliners and Gum” box produced by Dockman and Sons contained 76 packs, 70 of which were still sealed. The sets of 1928 and 1929 “Headliners and Gum” became known to the hobby as “Star Player Candy” in the ensuing years. It wasn’t until the 2009 find that the product’s actual name revealed itself through the box find.
The packs contained a single card and numerous tiny pieces of bubble gum. The top of the glassine wrapper was folded over and sealed with a single staple.
While the 1929 set’s checklist extends well beyond sports (the 1928 Star Player Candy set is strictly baseball), there were four packs with Ruth showing, plus others that held packs featuring Lou Gehrig and Walter Johnson.
Seventy-two packs were sold with the box in 2009 while the family kept one Ruth pack and three featuring non-sports subjects. Two Ruth packs, including the one originally kept by the REA consignor, were later sold for $8,813 and $9,988. One of them was opened and the card was graded NM/MT 88 by SGC.
According to Heritage “the delicate paper envelope does have a few tears and rips.” It’s because of their fragility that PSA isn’t grading them.
The current high bid at Heritage is already at $27,000 with the auction not scheduled to close until July 21.