1911-38 E136-E137 Zee-Nut Sets and Checklist
‘It’s In The Details’
|Title||E136 and E137 Zee-Nut
|Images||Black and White / Sepia
|Number in Set
E136 and E137 Zee-Nut Overview
One of the more popular pre-war card series for minor league collectors are the Zee-Nut sets. Featuring Pacific Coast League players, a massive number of these cards was produced for nearly 30 years.
In all, 25 Zee-Nut sets were produced. Player images (in both sepia and black and white), names, and teams were on the fronts as well as the Zee-Nut series designation. Most of the names on the front were simply printed without decoration. However, later in the series, they were printed inside of black boxes.
Many of the Zee-Nuts have dates on them either in the form of a four-digit number or a two-digit number. The four-digit numbers indicate the year, obviously. The two-digit numbers do the same, but simply omit the ’19’ from the beginning. For example, the 1929 set simply has a ’29’ printed on it.
Regarding the images used, there is a noticeable difference from the earlier Zee-Nuts to the later ones. From 1911 through 1923, every set except the 1920 issue utilized blank or studio type backgrounds. From 1924 through the end of the series (with the exception of 1932), however, the backgrounds were actual stadium shots. If you have a Zee-Nut without a background, chances are it is one of the earlier ones in the set. If it has a picture of a stadium (like the second one shown here), it is likely one of the later ones.
Rough dating can also be estimated from the font types on the cards to some small degree. Zee-Nut used a distinctive italicized font every year from the start of the series all the way through 1930. The sets from 1931-38 had a more regular font, although the 1932 issue is slightly italicized.
Backs were blank. Most of the cards originally had coupons attached to them. Over the years, most of the coupons have since been removed. However, cards with them are much harder to find and worth significantly more.
Part of the reason for the popularity of the Zee-Nut series is its affordability for the cards without the coupons. Low-grade cards often sell for under $20. The cards are found in various sizes since the series spanned nearly 30 years and had different layouts. The sizes of the cards ranged from approximately 1 3/4″ in width to just over 4″ tall.
More than 3,000 total cards were produced as part of the sets. Here’s a year-by-year look at all of the sets and designs.
There are plenty of high-dollar cards across the Zee-Nut sets. There are the likes of Hall of Famers, such as Joe DiMaggio, and a slew of others. But there are also cards of lesser-known players that command big money.
One of those is a 1916 card of Jimmy Claxton. Depending on your definition of ‘card,’ Claxton’s is sometimes referred to as the first card depicting a black American player. Claxton’s was an interesting case — he was born in Canada but to American parents. He played in two games for the Oakland Oaks minor league team but did so as a Native American. He did have Native American lineage but his family’s background also included blacks and whites (his father was apparently black and his mother, white. It was believed that he was dismissed after his African American roots were identified. Today, his card sells for thousands of dollars, even in low-grade condition.
Another popular and rare Zee-Nut is the 1915 card of Fred McMullin, a member of the 1919 Chicago “Black Sox” team. It is believed to be his only card where he is featured individually. That card also sells for thousands of dollars.
Zee-Nut the Product and Song
Zee-Nut cards are classified as candy issues and even though they were described by their maker, the California-based Collins-McCarthy Candy Company, as a confectionery product, they also could be seen as more of a food card instead.
The product was a mixture of popcorn, peanuts, and coconuts. It was not solely marketed towards kids. Rather, it was said to be for children, young adults, and even the ‘old folks.’ Their slogan was, “Gee! But it’s Good.”
Additionally, the company had more than just a slogan. They had a complete song for the Zee-Nut product.
E136 and E137 Zee-Nut Set Checklist
Because there are thousands of Zee-Nut cards, I have not provided a full checklist. However, this is a checklist of the sets included in the series (in chronological order).
- 1911 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1912 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1913 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1914 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1915 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1916 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1917 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1918 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1919 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1920 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1921 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1922 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1923 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1924 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1925 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1926 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1927 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1928 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1929 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1930 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1931 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1932 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League
- 1933 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League (Sepia)
- 1933-36 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League (Black and White)
- 1937-38 Zee-Nut Pacific Coast League