1933 Rittenhouse Candy Set (E285)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title E285 Rittenhouse Candy
Year 1933
Size 1 1/2″ x 2 1/4″
Images Red or black ink
Type Candy/Caramel
Number in Set

E285 Rittenhouse Candy Overview

E285 Rittenhouse Candy.jpgThis 52-card set from the Rittenhouse Candy Company was produced to be a complete set of playing cards. The cards were printed in red and black ink just like a deck of cards, but they can also be found in green. Further, the shades of the colors can vary based on the strength of the ink left in the printer at the time of production.

The company was based out of Philadelphia, PA. Old newspapers indicate they made candy at least until the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Fronts are printed with a player image in the middle and then with a playing card suit/number (i.e. four of Clubs). Player names are printed at the bottoms and the backs vary. The set is headlined by Babe Ruth and some players, like Ruth, were included on more than one card.

The pictures are pretty low-quality and some collectors not familiar with them might even believe authentic cards to be fakes. But while some fakes may exist, even the legit cards are printed in a low-quality manner.

The cards are often found poorly cut leading many to believe they are a form of strip card. But well-cut ones from the printer will have a top and bottom white border. The cards were laid out on a sheet very close to each other from left to right, however, so no real border exists on the sides.

Back Variations

The backs were also interesting and numerous varieties existed. The most popular variation, perhaps, is the one that includes a specific letter on the back. The letters could then be used to spell out “Rittenhouse Candy Co”. A second back type includes an advertisement for the company and a third includes numbers.

If a collector was able to spell ‘Rittenhouse Candy Co.’, they would receive a prize. The advertisement back variation explained how that worked. Essentially, they would exchange those letters for one of several prizes, including the following:

  • Fielder’s Glove
  • Skates
  • First Base Mitt
  • Air Rifle
  • Big League Ball
  • Pearl Knife

To receive the prize, collectors were to specify the gift they wanted and send their cards to the company in Philadelphia.

While the most popular backs known are the letters, a few include numbers instead. These cards are significantly rarer than those with the letters and, since several are known, these could have been part of a completely different set.

The offer related to the cards is unknown. A picture of part of it is seen in this thread. However, the complete offer is cut off and, to my knowledge, still an unknown to this day.

Waner Brothers Fiasco

Baseball brothers Paul and Lloyd Waner of the Pittsburgh Pirates appeared in this set. The pair played for other teams but played with the Pirates for many years together, including in 1933.

Much confusion has been made of their cards in this series as at least one typo exists. Definitively known cards include one with the name Lloyd Waner and another with the name Paul Warner. However, there is a question if reverse variations were printed, too — Lloyd Warner and Paul Waner.

To date, PSA has graded only Lloyd Waner and Paul Warner cards. However, SGC has claimed to have graded a Paul Waner issue. Whether or not that is an error in their database is unclear. But per that claim, I have added that corrected card to the checklist.

Despite previous claims, the lone issue that appears to be definitively missing is one with the printing Lloyd Warner. I have never seen that card or heard of one existing.

E285 Rittenhouse Candy Checklist

  1. Dick Bartell
  2. Wally Berger
  3. Max Bishop
  4. Jim Bottomley
  5. Fred Brickell
  6. Sugar Cain
  7. Ed Cihocki
  8. Phil Collins
  9. Roger Cramer
  10. Hugh Critz
  11. Joe Cronin
  12. Kiki Cuyler
  13. George Davis
  14. Spud Davis
  15. Jimmy Dykes
  16. George Earnshaw
  17. Jumbo Elliot
  18. Lou Finney
  19. Jimmie Foxx
  20. Frankie Frisch
  21. Frankie Frisch
  22. Lefty Grove
  23. Mule Haas
  24. Chick Hafey
  25. Gabby Hartnett
  26. Babe Herman
  27. Bill Herman
  28. Kid Higgins
  29. Rogers Hornsby
  30. Don Hurst
  31. Don Hurst
  32. Chuck Klein
  33. Leroy Mahaffey
  34. Gus Mancuso
  35. Rabbit McNair
  36. Bing Miller
  37. Lefty O’Doul
  38. Mel Ott
  39. Babe Ruth
  40. Babe Ruth
  41. Al Simmons
  42. Bill Terry
  43. Pie Traynor
  44. Rube Walberg
  45. Lloyd Waner
  46. Lloyd Waner
  47. Paul Waner
  48. Paul Warner (Waner)
  49. Paul Warner (Waner)
  50. Pinkey Whitney
  51. Dib Williams
  52. Hack Wilson
  53. Hack Wilson

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