1939 Play Ball was Gum Inc’s leap into the baseball card market with black-and-white photos of contemporary baseball players. The issue was very popular, and it remains so today, largely due to the rookie cards of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams.
The back of the cards features each player’s full name, a biographical write up, and an advertisement for the issue which states that there are 250 cards in the set. The ad, however, is incorrect, as the set is numbered to 162, although there are just 161 cards in the set. Card #126 was never issued.
Additionally, some cards can be found with a sample stamp on the back. These variations were inserted into other Gum Inc. products in order to promote the new baseball issue.
BurlsSports.com’s Set Break of the Week is a 1939 Play Ball set that is largely in G to VG-EX condition. The key cards in the set break down as follows: #26 Joe DiMaggio PSA 3.5 VG+, #30 Bill Dickey EX, #48 Lefty Gomez VG, #50 Charley Gehringer G, #51 Mel Ott P, #53 Carl Hubbell G, #56 Hank Greenberg P, #92 Ted Williams Authentic, #103 Moe Berg VG (MK), and #143 Earl Averill G (MK). Also included is a sample back version of the #1 Powell card in VG-EX condition.
In a vintage set break, each card is sold at a fixed price, but you don’t pick the card beforehand. When all spots are sold, the cards are distributed randomly to the participants. Some will get the key cards for a fraction of their value, while others take home vintage commons for set building or trade bait. In order to ensure transparency, the randomization is broadcast live online for all participants to view.
The price for this break is set at $25 per slot and will go on sale Friday, April 29 at 11 AM CST. To purchase slots in the break or to find out more, you can access the break page here.
Burl’s Sports has recently acquired an impressive run of complete vintage sets that will be broken in the coming months, including a complete run of Topps sets from 1952-72, Goudey sets from 1933-36, 1939-1941 Play Ball and 1941 Double Play.