This set is barely known to any American collectors and even in Australia, where it originates, it is extremely scarce.
The multi-sport card set was released by an Australian candy brand called Goblin Merrymints, though the exact mode of distribution is unknown. Like many early international cards, these were certainly a low-budget production. Not only do the cards feature low-quality images of subjects but they are often found miscut or significantly off center.
‘Often found’ is probably not the best way to describe these cards. As mentioned, they are incredibly scarce. Not only is the checklist for them incomplete, almost all of the cards that have been found appear to have only a single known example. Carnegie Clark, a golfer and golf course architect, is the only card in the set that has more than one known copy.
The date for this set is currently unknown, though it is often cited as a 1926-28 issue due to the careers of the cricketers included in it. It is also possible that the set was distributed over several years.
The cards measure approximately 1″ wide by 2″ tall and have sepia pictures on the front with the player’s name printed at the top or bottom in large capital letters. Backs include a card number at the top along with a biography of the subject. The bottom includes any number of advertisements. Known advertisements read as below and there are likely others as well:
Goblin Merrymints for that don’t care feeling. Sold at all confectioners.
Keep goblin’ Goblin Merrymints
They are at it again! See the Goblins on Merrymint
Known subjects in the set include mostly cricketers, along with Tennis Hall of Famer and Australian Gerald Patterson, along with Australian golfer Carnegie Clark. However, the key to the known set for American collectors is a card that could be a rookie of Hall of Famer Mel Ott.
Potential Mel Ott Rookie Card
A card of Baseball Hall of Famer Mel Ott was discovered in December 2020 after an Australian collector purchased it as part of a local auction in that country.
Everything about the card is odd. It does picture Ott but instead calls him ‘O.H. Melville.’ The biography on the back also calls him a ‘big gun baller in America’ and mentions he is paid a large salary, even though Ott was not even paid $10,000 until 1930, according to Baseball-Reference.
The Melville name, of course, does not seem to make much sense. Ott’s formal name is Melvin Thomas Ott. However, I found an old newspaper article from August 8, 1926 that refers to Ott as Melville Ott. Thus, while that name does not seem to make much sense, there is at least one reference to him with that name.
Despite beginning his major league career in 1926, Ott’s earliest known baseball cards did not come until 1929. However, if this card was indeed produced in or prior to 1929, it would be an Ott rookie card.
A point of conflict, however, appears in that Ott was not considered to be a bonafide major league star until 1929 when he clubbed 42 home runs and led the league in walks with 113. But Ott was certainly a quality player before that season. He was not et the power hitter he would become but in 1928, he batted .322. And even as a rookie in limited action in 1926, he hit an eye-opening .383 in 35 games. Also, as mentioned, the back of the card says Ott was paid a large salary, despite earning under $10,000 prior to 1930, as mentioned.
Simply put, if the card was printed in 1929 or earlier, it would be an Ott rookie. While the rest of the cards in the set seemingly make it so, there is no guarantee that it was not printed in later years. Whether or not this is a true Ott rookie card is up for debate.
1920s Goblin Merrymints Checklist
The cards listed below are the only known cards in the set. It should be pointed out that the set could be skip numbered. However, due to the rarity of the cards, a more likely scenario is simply that the unknown cards have not been found as the set appears to have been printed in very low quantities. And while Ott is the highest known numbered card in the set, it may certainly contain more than 35 cards.