These cards were issued by Timaru Milling Company, a New Zealand maker of foods, for use in their Red Diamond O-TIS and Oatletes products, believed to be breakfast cereals.
As stated on the backs, three of the cards were in every three-pound package of Red Diamond O-TIS and two cards were in packages of Oatletes. Fronts of the cards had color pictures of subjects as well as their names. Many of the objects on the cards were not athletes. Rather, they were things such as airplanes as well as military vehicles and equipment.
A total of 36 cards are in the set and they are difficult to find here in the U.S. Like other international sets, this issue was broken up into six smaller subsets as identified below:
1-6: Speed (Racing)
7-12: Air (Airplanes)
13-18: Land (Military)
19-24: Sea (Ships and Marine Vessels)
31-36: Progress (Working)
These were actually part of a larger series called, “Peter the Pilot.” The full name is rarely used but is actually, “Peter the Pilot’s Century of Progress.” Timaru also produced other cards around the same time under the same title. Two additional sets, ‘Peter the Pilot’s Active Service’ and ‘Peter the Pilot’s British Might’ were cards printed in 1941 and 1942. Collectable albums were made for all three series, which you can see here. Additional Peter the Pilot’s cards and albums continued into at least the 1940s.
Collectors should note that Timaru Milling also produced other cards, including a later set in 1947 called Peace and Progress. Those cards, similar in design, should not be mistaken for these ones.
There are a total of six recognized athletes in the set on the Sports page found in the album. However, counting the six race car drivers with race cards in the Speed section, there would be a total of 12.
The key to the set is a card of boxing legend Joe Louis. Other sports featured, including wrestling, track and field, and rugby, among others. Wrestling is accounted for with the presence of Lofty Blomfield, who was probably New Zealand’s most famous wrestler at the time.