The 1925 V31 Dominion Chocolate Athletic Stars set and checklist includes 180 cards (two series – one with 60 cards and another with 120) of athletes in a variety of sports. Cards may be found with the bottoms torn or cut since that part included a coupon from the manufacturer. Collectors could redeem a full set of stubs for a prize. The cards were printed in Canada and have a ‘V-Card’ designation in the American Card Catalog.
Among the various sports were cards of baseball, basketball, football (initially played as rugby but changing more to American football by the early part of the 1900s), and hockey players. Printed in Canada, obviously the dominant sport of these included is hockey. However, the basketball cards (of various Canadian players) included are some of the only ones in the pre-war card era.
A key card in the set is that of Georges Vezina. Vezina played in the NHL and became a Hockey Hall of Famer. After his death from tuberculosis at the age of 39, the Vezina Trophy was created and is now an annual award given to the top goaltender in the NHL.
One important note with respect to the sports is that several of the athletes played more than one sport. So, while they may be classified as a specific sport below in various checklists, it is quite possible to classify them as a different type of athlete. Several athletes are found in both series as well.
There are two recognized baseball cards in the set. One is Joe Spring, a Canadian player from the Toronto Oslers. Spring is featured on his card in the Oslers uniform. A second baseball card exists as well – that of Joe Breen. But for a while, his team/uniform remained a bit of a mystery.
The Joe Breen ‘Mystery’
Breen was a Canadian athlete that excelled in a variety of sports. He is listed as an all-around athlete and baseball star. He also played for the Oslers, but unlike Spring who wore that uniform, is featured in another uniform on the front.
I had researched this for some time but had not been able to definitively determine the name on the jersey or if it was even a definite baseball jersey. It appeared to be from the sport of baseball and say Hillcrest, which is, in fact, a neighborhood in Toronto – but I never had full confirmation on either.