New 1938 Sawyer Biscuit Discovery Expands Checklist

Earlier this year, I wrote about the likelihood of a new 1938 Sawyer Biscuit Cabinet that was likely in existence. The 1938 Sawyer Biscuit Cabinet set, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is a set of photographs featuring members of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox that was available as a mail-in offer. Because this was a regional set and distributed only in the Chicago area, the cabinets are very difficult to find.

The potential new addition that I mentioned was that of announcer Babs Gillen, who was a co-host of sorts with Bob Elson on a radio program. Gillen was listed as a photo option that was mentioned in a letter that sent to collectors about the photos. But as Elson’s cabinet has already been confirmed, hers has not. While I have not seen one of Gillen, however, hers likely exists as well, as I outlined here.

That seemingly pushed the checklist to 48, where I thought it might finally be complete. After all, each of the two teams in the set, the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox were believed to have a total of 23 cabinets and 48 was a somewhat common number with regards to sets. However, a 49th has been recently discovered.

Roy Johnson 1938 Sawyer Biscuit CabinetThe 49th cabinet, now actually up for sale on eBay with a complete Cubs set from collector Dan McKee, features former pitcher Roy Johnson with the team. Johnson didn’t play for the Cubs but was a coach with the team. Shown here, the cabinet was reportedly discovered by Robert Edward Auctions.

It isn’t terribly surprising to see discoveries still being added to this set. As I mentioned, it was a regional issue and there simply aren’t many of them around.

Johnson as the 49th (or 48th without the unconfirmed Babs) also means more discoveries could be coming. Specifically, one more would not only give us a total of 50 for a nice round number, but it could also balance things out. Johnson’s addition means that there are now 24 Cubs players and only 23 White Sox players (plus the two announcers). A new White Sox addition would even things up again, although there are certainly no guarantees that each team had the same number of cabinets available.

And, who knows – the checklist could even include more than 24 subjects for each team.

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