In 1926, Shotwell Manufacturing Company issued two different sets featuring football star Red Grange. An ad-backed set featured 12 cards that were mostly action shots of Grange as a player. A second blank-backed issue featured 24 scenes with him in a movie, “One Minute to Play.”
Both are popular and rare. As I wrote recently for Sports Collectors Daily, they were issued with Shotwell’s Red Grange candy bars but not many exist today.
The first set I mentioned generally draws a little more interest since the focus is on Grange as a football player. And it’s in that set where you can find a rare variation on Card No. 9.
Card 9A vs. Card 9B
The most common card No. 9 features Grange in college with his Alma Mater, Illinois. It is titled ‘Illinois Famous Half Back’ and features a basic half-body shot of him. However, a much rarer version exists.
This card, known as No. 9B, features Grange with his back to the camera, showing off his jersey No. 77. Grange wore that number both with Illinois and with Chicago as a professional and the card is titled, ‘Red calls this his lucky number.’
Both cards have the same design otherwise. Each has a thick white border surrounding the image on the front and the same advertisement on the backs, offering collectors a chance to receive an 11″ x 14″ photograph of Grange in exchange for forty cents in stamps.
About the 9B Variation
The 9B card is, as stated, exceedingly rare. BST Auctions had one up for sale in the Fall of 2017 where it fetched nearly $3,700, even while graded only a BVG 1. Only two known copies of the card are in existence today.
So where did it come from? No one can tell for sure. BST theorizes that it could have been either a chase or redemption card, or one that simply replaced the other later in the print run. Either is possible but we might never know the true answer.