The 1935 Indiana-Sport-Avion set remains a mystery to collectors. The black and white set features a variety of sports and non-sports cards but not much more is known.
The cards are from France and obviously written in French. The backs state that there are 136 cards in the set and that the set is a ‘DONAT’ product. That is a reference to the apparent producer, printed at the very bottom, Jean-Donat Dupont.
The name is somewhat puzzling at first since ‘Avion’ translated means ‘plane’ in English. But what many collectors do not realize is that many early cards in the set’s numbered checklist are indeed cards of various airplanes. It appears that at least the first 21 cards are, in fact, all featuring airplanes. The set is a mix of airplanes and athletes – hence the ‘Sport-Avion’ name.
Babe Ruth headlines the set and only one other baseball player (Darrell Blanton) is included in the entire set. Other known sports include American football, boxing, and wrestling. The football card is called ‘Rugby Americain’ but it depicts the sport of football, not rugby. Wrestling cards depict early star Strangler Lewis.
Fronts of the card feature a black and white image with the ‘Indiana-Sport-Avion’ name in bold, black letters at the bottom. Below that is a caption of what is being depicted as well as a card number.
It should be noted that DONAT produced other similar Indiana sets of 136 images of movie stars and other athletes. The movie stars have the same types of backs and should not be confused with this set. A key difference is that the fronts of that set do not carry the ‘Indiana-Sport-Avion’ name. The other Indiana-Sport cards have some differences in fonts and are completely different sets. For example, while a card No. 15 I have seen for this set features an airplane, here is one of the ‘other’ Indiana-Sport’ cards for No. 15 depicting a boxer. The company also produced a 136-card cowboy and Indian set.
1935 Indiana-Sport-Avion Checklist
The cards are scarce and it has made putting together a checklist a difficult pursuit. But I have listed the known cards that I have seen below.
While 136 cards are advertised in the set, I have yet to see one beyond 100 or even close to it. This raises questions about the actual number of cards printed.