It was a big treat in the 1930s.
After all, times were tight and not everyone could splurge for a small sampling of ice cream. Not when food was sometimes a little scarce and it seemed war might even be on the horizon.
Dixie Cup ice cream was even better for young baseball fans when the lid came off and a picture of a big league baseball player stared up at you. There were actors and actresses issued too, but today’s sports collector is focused on the two years in which Dixie lids included names familiar to those who hung out in places like Sportsman’s Park.
The 1937 Dixie Cup baseball series consisted of four discs: Charlie Gehringer, Gabby Hartnett, Carl Hubbell and Joe “Ducky” Medwick. There were actually two sizes; one slightly larger than the other and attached to a bigger sampling of that cool, delicious ice cream. There was advertising on the back for the specific local dairy that issued the ice cream and the front included ink in either black or red.
Young fingers that pulled the little tab that lifted the lid off the product sometimes ripped it. Dixie lids that don’t have the tab are less desirable than those that do, but you can’t argue with the price of higher grade Dixie lids. The 1937 issue is tougher to locate than the 1938 Dixie set but rarely will a collector pay more than $200 for any one of the four star players–many times much less for a mid-grade lid.
1938 Dixie lids would include four new players–the young fireballer from Van Meter, Iowa, Bob Feller, plus powerful Jimmie Foxx, Wally Moses and screwball specialist Carl Hubbell. The difference in ’38 was the blue ink used on the picture side. Feller and Foxx command the most attention, valued at $200 in near mint condition, but often available for less. The Hubbell is $175 in NM while Moses can be had for $80 or less.
The four-card premium sets mirrored the Dixie lids in player selection, but were 8×10″ sized pictures that included a colored border, a script name along the side and a fresh, glossy appearance. The 1937 Dixie Premiums have a darker green border with the player’s name in yellow ink.
It may be hard to believe, but the gorgeous Premium sets, which also included a short biography on the back, are less expensive than the standard issue Dixie Lids. By shopping around and being patient, you can complete a set of either the 1937 or 1938 Dixie Premiums for less than $250.
Dixie Lids would return in the 1950s, with a much larger sampling of players, but fans of pre-War baseball cards have a soft spot for a set that’s attainable and affordable. Click here to see what’s available on eBay right now.