The 1936 Donat 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, and Donat was a confectionery company offering products such as bon bons.
Backs indicate there are supposed to be 136 cards in this set but that is not correct. Instead, the set is believed to comprise only 64. A firm date on them is unknown but they appear to have been issued in 1936 based on several of the fronts picturing events from 1935.
Babe Ruth headlines the set and only one other baseball player (Darrell Blanton) is included in the entire set. Other popular known sports include American football, boxing, and wrestling. The football card is called ‘Rugby American’ but it depicts the sport of football, not rugby. The Tour de France is also heavily featured in the set, which makes sense, given the cards’ French origins. Beyond Ruth, the boxing cards in the set are a big deal. One features a very early card of Hall of Famer Joe Louis. Hall of Famer Max Baer is also in the set.
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. And counting some cards for auto racing, approximately 2/3 of the set features modes of transportation, such as airplanes, cars, and boats.
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.
Variations and Other Sets
Two things have caused some confusion surrounding this set. First, there are actually three variations of these Indiana-Sport-Avion cards. While the subjects are believed to be the same in the three, some images may be cropped differently and the font in the three variations is different.
One font is skinny and narrow while a second, more common version has thicker letters. A third that also uses thicker letters has slightly larger letters than the second.
In addition, the company produced some other sets, including one featuring cowboys and Indians. However, the confusing set with regards to this one is one that is simply named Indiana-Sport (no Avion). A boxing card from that set is pictured here and while many of the cards have the same look, some of the Indiana-Sport cards are also found with a blue tint.
That one is a completely different (and larger) set, even though some of the subjects may be the same.