1932 Bulgaria Cigarettes Sport-Photos Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Bulgaria Cigarettes Sport Photos
Year 1932
Size 1 5/8″ x 2 3/8″
Images Black and White
Type Tobacco
Number in Set
272

Bulgaria Cigarettes Sport-Photos Overview

1932 Bulgaria Sport Tobacco Babe Ruth.jpg

The 1932 Bulgaria Cigarettes Sport-Photos set included nearly 300 cards. Only one, however, featured a baseball player in New York Yankees star Babe Ruth.

The formal name of the release is the Bulgaria Sport-Photos set, even though most typically shorten it to Bulgaria Sport these days. That name leads some to believe they are photos but these are indeed tobacco cards, albeit less narrow than most collectors are used to.

A black and white image of Ruth is on the front of his card while the back includes German text as this is a German issue (not a Bulgarian one as the name might suggest – Bulgaria Cigarettes was a brand). The card is an interesting one as Ruth isn’t the only high-profile athlete on it. Joining the future Hall of Fame baseball player was boxing champion Max Schmeling. Schmeling happened to be in Cleveland for a heavyweight fight at the same time Ruth was there with his Yankees facing the Indians on the road.

All things considered, this is a tremendous pre-war card featuring arguably the top two athletes in their sport.

As I covered here, while Ruth is what draws collectors to the card today, Schmeling would have been the focal point when the card was produced. In fact, it is possible to suggest that Ruth would have not even been in the set if not for Schmeling’s appearance beside him.

The back, written in German, gives a short biography and calls Ruth the ‘baseball king’ from the unknown sport from across the ocean. The Ruth and Schmeling card is No. 256 in the set. Golf legend Walter Hagen is also included in the set as card No. 219 as are athletes from other sports, including tennis and wrestling.

Despite the card being a contemporary issue from Ruth’s playing days, it is easily one of Ruth’s more affordable cards from when he was still an active player. In even mid-grade condition, it can be purchased for only a few hundred dollars.

Hockey, Too

In addition to the Ruth card, a second major American sport is included as a few hockey cards are there as well.

Some action shot cards are in the set as is one for Dr. Blake Watson, a former amateur Canadian and European hockey star. Watson was likely included in the set not because of his Canadian background but because he later played in Germany, where this set was produced.

Watson, though, was known for more than hockey. He became an obstetrician and a dentist, and also is said to have had many celebrity patients, including Gary Cooper, Fred Astair, Judy Garland, Greta Garbo, and others.

Bulgaria Cigarettes Sport-Photos Checklist

A complete checklist for this set is not yet available.

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