Jefferson Burdick’s American Card Catalog primarily focuses on baseball when it comes to the sports issues featured in the book. However, other sports are also included and one of those is hockey.
Burdick categorized numerous hockey sets but one that has caused some confusion relates to a food issue – specifically, cards distributed by an ice cream manufacturer.
Crescent Ice Cream Cards
In 1923 and 1924, Crescent Ice Cream created cards featuring Canadian hockey teams, the Falcon-Tigers and the Selkirks. In 1923-24, the company created a set featuring the Selkirks and the following season, 1924-24, they created two sets featuring the Selkirks and the Falcon-Tigers.
All three sets are pretty rare and difficult to find. Complete sets could be redeemed for a brick of ice cream and, like many companies did, Crescent shortprinted a card (No. 6 in each of the three sets) to limit the number of prizes that were claimed. The cards are so rare, in fact, that in the 1923-24 Selkirks and 1924-25 Falcon-Tigers, the No. 6 cards aren’t even known.
If receiving a brick of ice cream was hard, imagine the difficulty in securing the company’s top prize in the 1923-24 Selkirks set – a hockey stick, which could be had for three complete sets.
A Classification … and a Problem
Burdick recognized the Crescent Ice Cream Cards and listed them in his American Card Catalog. As a Canadian food issue, they received a proper designation as an FC-Card. Burdick ultimately listed them as FC24.
Only thing is there’s a problem.
Burdick never actually identified which issue was FC24. His full listing in the book reads as follows:
FC24 – Hockey Pictures (14) Crescent Ice Cream, Sm. B&W
Now while there are some other hockey issues listed among the 33 sets Burdick identified as FC issues, no other ones were for Crescent Ice Cream. Burdick’s listing might seem to provide some clarification since he states that there are 14 cards in the set. But that doesn’t help considering that all three Crescent sets have 14 cards in them. Similarly, all three sets are both in black and white.
In other words, there’s no telling which of the three sets to which he is referring.
My guess is that Burdick only came in contact with one of the three sets and simply was unaware of the other two. Had Burdick not listed the set as having 14 cards, the confusion could have been explained as him lumping all three issues together. But his explicit listing of 14 cards means he’s only referring to one set. And unfortunately, we have no idea of knowing which one.
So how do we refer to these sets moving forward? For the purposes of this site, I have listed all as FC24 issues. Now, that might seem odd at first, but there is precedent for it. Other issues have shared a classification, such as the D303 General Baking and D303 Mother’s Bread sets. Same goes for the D359 Rochester Baking and D359 Williams Baking issues. Other similar examples exist, too.
Some might try to argue that Burdick intended all along to lump the three sets together. But that would seem to be unlikely. If he did, he would likely have mentioned the fact that more than one set was included in the designation or that there were 42 cards in the set instead of only 14. He also would have likely indicated the years of issue since they spanned more than one as he did with the D359 sets.
Burdick did a great job of identifying most sets but some did, in fact, slip through the cracks. One of those was the D303 Mother’s Bread set. In his book, he listed General Baking as the only sponsor for that issue. We have since classified that set as a D303 issue, sharing the classification between the two sets and it makes sense to do that in this case with the Crescent sets.
Until any further clarification is discovered (which seems unlikely), identifying all three sets as FC24 cards seems like the most appropriate thing to do.