Their two most well known sets may be the 1933 and ’34 issues but 1939 Goudey Premiums represent an interesting challenge on their own. These supplemental sites are larger in size, printed on thinner stock and feature a host of Hall of Famers.
The premiums come in two sets and two sizes.
The smaller 4 by 6-1/4 inch set of 48 different players is listed as R303A in the American Card Catalog. The unnumbered cards come with a brownish-toned sepia color and include both portraits and full-length player poses.
The R303B set measures 4-3/4 by 7-1/2 inches. The 24 players in this issue can be found in either sepia or black and white and are the same photos as you’ll find in the R303-A issue.
Card #1 in both sets is Luke Appling and scattered among these vintage collections are the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Bob Feller, Jimmie Foxx, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Mel Ott, Al Simmons, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez and other stars of the era.
Since the cards are very condition sensitive because of the type of paper used, pricing can vary but a mid-grade common can be had for less than $30 in many cases. In 2011, Robert Edward Auctions offered a high grade group of 82 cards across both series including complete sets of the two color variations of R303-B. The lot fetched $4,400 and included three DiMaggio cards; a very good value considering the player selection in these sets. Another R303-B set of 24 sold via Mile High Card Company’s auction in 2010 for $1,655 in higher grade, while in 2012, Legendary Auctions sold a mixed grade ‘B” set for $777.
The ‘A’ set is harder to find than the ‘B’ and PSA has not graded even one card above a 7, making high grade sets very attractive, yet still relatively underpriced when you can find them. Even the ‘B’ set shows only 433 cards having been graded and authenticated.
The photos used in the two premium sets do not use team logos and the fact that they weren’t done in color are two factors likely keeping prices at bay and many collectors opting to pass them up in favor of their older, more colorful brothers.
On the back of each photo/card of the 1939 Goudey Premiums is a series of drawings and printed instructions revealing “How to Bat”, or “How to Tag a Man Out”, or another baseball skill, which makes them sort of attractive from a purely historical point.
Printed on the bottom of the back is Goudey’s hometown (“Boston, Mass, USA”) and the words “Diamond Stars Gum”. However, these weren’t associated with the 1934-36 Diamond Stars card set made by National Chicle (R327).
You can see 1939 Goudey Premiums on eBay here. The checklists are below.
1939 Goudey Premiums Checklists