1938 Goudey Heads Up Set (R323)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title R323 Goudey Heads Up
Year 1938
Size 2 3/8″ x 2 7/8″
Images Color
Type Candy/Gum
Number in Set

1938 Goudey Heads Up Overview

prewarcards-272_dick_bartellprewarcards-248_dick_bartellThe 1938 Goudey set is often referred to as the “Heads Up” set because of its design. Player images on the fronts have cartoon bodies but oversized real heads. The look is something that has a lot of collectors divided with many embracing it and others not finding it appealing.

The set has a total of 48 cards but only 24 different players are used. That is because they were issued in two series (Series I was No. 241 through No. 264 and Series II was No. 265 through No. 288). Each player has a card with the same image used with the only difference being one card has cartoon sketches in the background while the other does not (the high numbers/second series in the set are the ones that have the drawings). Pictured here are examples of the Dick Bartell cards. The first, without the drawings, is his lower numbered card while the second is his high number card.

Which is rarer? While collectors have had their share of opinions over the years, population reports seem to indicate the lower number cards (sans cartoons) are actually a little bit tougher. Here’s a closer look at that.

The most popular cards in the set are those of Joe DiMaggio and Bob Feller. Some collectors consider the Feller card to be a rookie issue even though he does in fact have an earlier card in the 1937 O-Pee-Chee set.

By comparison, the cards are significantly rarer than the earlier 1933 and 1934 Goudey sets. As a result, they’re also more expensive. Even low-grade commons start around $20.

Ernie Lombardi Variations

Ernie Lombardi 1938 Goudey Reds Black BaseballErnie Lombardi 1938 Goudey Reds No Black BaseballThe most interesting card, however, goes to Ernie Lombardi.

Lombardi’s No. 246 card has three variations –  one identifying him as a member of the Reds, one with the Red Sox, and one with the Reds with a small baseball covering up the ‘Sox’. The Red Sox issue is by far the most rare and is hardly ever seen. Lombardi’s No. 270 card has only one version that shows him as a member of the Reds.

In all, he has a total of four different variations in the set. Here’s a closer look at them.

Card Numbering

The card numbering for the set starts at No. 241. That, of course, was a continuation of sorts from the 1933 set, which ended at No. 240.

Why the company chose the 1938 to pick up the numbering is unknown. The backs of the 1938 cards mention that they were part of a 312-card set but, with them ending at 288, the final 24 cards were never issued.

Here’s more on the odd numbering in the set.

1938 Goudey Heads Up Checklist

Below is the full checklist for the set:

  • 241/265 Charlie Gehringer
  • 242/266 Ervin Fox
  • 243/267 Joe Kuhel
  • 244/268 Frank Demaree
  • 245/269 Frank Pytlak
  • 246/270 Ernie Lombardi
  • 247/271 Joe Vosmik
  • 248/272 Dick Bartell
  • 249/273 Jimmie Foxx
  • 250/274 Joe DiMaggio
  • 251/275 Bump Hadley
  • 252/276 Zeke Bonura
  • 253/277 Hank Greenberg
  • 254/278 Van Lingle Mungo
  • 255/279 Julius Solters
  • 256/280 Vern Kennedy
  • 257/281 Al Lopez
  • 258/282 Bobby Doerr
  • 259/283 Bill Werber
  • 260/284 Rudy York
  • 261/285 Rip Radcliff
  • 262/286 Ducky Medwick
  • 263/287 Marvin Owen
  • 264/288 Bob Feller

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