1926 Shotwell Red Grange Ad-Backed Set

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Shotwell Red Grange Ad-Backed
Year 1926
Size 2″ x 3 1/8″
Images Black and White
Type Candy/Caramel
Number in Set

1926 Shotwell Candy Red Grange Ad-Backed Cards Overview


In 1926, Shotwell Candy created two sets of Red Grange football cards. One was a 12-card mostly action set with various shots during his career and the second was a 24-card set featuring Grange in his movie, “One Minute to Play.” Both sets of cards were available in packages of Shotwell Candy’s Red Grange candy bars.

This issue will generally be more desirable to sports collectors as the pictures feature Grange mostly in action shots. The other set shows scenes from Grange’s movie, which are a bit less collected. Both, however, are sought after because of the dearth of early football cards and because of Grange’s popularity.

The two sets are easily distinguished. In addition to one having an advertisement and the other being blank, the cards look different in appearance. The movie cards with the blank backs are mostly horizontal with longer captions. This set with the advertisements is mostly vertical and has much shorter captions.

These cards took a cue from other candy cards of the early 1920s. While the earlier candy cards of the 1900s were usually smaller with color lithographs, these cards are larger and included real black and white images of Grange. Cards included a card number on the front along with a small caption.

This 12-card set features advertisements on the back while the movie cards had blank backs. The ads on the back stated that the card was one of 12 featuring Grange, calling him ‘The Greatest Football Player of All Time.” Collectors would receive an autographed 11″ x 14″ picture of Grange in exchange for 40 cents worth of stamps. In addition, collectors could receive an album of 12 pictures (presumably, the ones on these cards) and the story of Grange’s football career in exchange for 35 cents in stamps.

Stamps were to be mailed to the Shotwell Manufacturing Company to their P.O. Box (P.O. Drawer M) in Chicago Illinois.

Rare 9B Variation

Grange 9B ShotwellOne difficult variation is known in the set for card No. 9. Instead of the ‘Illinois Famous Half Back’ caption found on most No. 9 cards, this one reads, “Red calls this his lucky number.”

This card, known as No. 9B, features Grange with his back to the camera, showing off his jersey No. 77. Grange wore that number both with Illinois and with Chicago as a professional and the card is titled, ‘Red calls this his lucky number.’

The 9B card is, as stated, exceedingly rare. BST Auctions had one up for sale in the Fall of 2017 where it fetched nearly $3,700, even while graded only a BVG 1. Only two known copies of the card are in existence today. It is unknown why this card exists and why it is so rare.

Here’s more on this unique variation.

1926 Shotwell Candy Red Grange Ad-Backed Cards Checklist

  1. Getting Under Way
  2. A Forward Pass
  3. The Start of One of Those Famous 50-yd. Runs
  4. Passing it Along
  5. Picking a High One
  6. Red and his Famous Coonskin Coat
  7. America’s Most Famous Ice Man
  8. The Famous Smile
  9. Illinois Famous Half Back
    Red Calls this his Lucky Number (variation)
  10. The Kick that put it Over
  11. On the Run
  12. Harold E. “Red” Grange Himself

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