While there are certainly some, football cards from the 1920s and 1930s aren’t exactly plentiful. The game was really in its early stages on a professional level and football cards didn’t really start to going until the late 1940s. However, this early game card not only represents the sport early on but the argument can be made that it features a Hall of Fame player as well.
1925/1934 Ya-Lo Football Game Cards
In the 1920s, the Ya-Lo football game was produced. It included a football field as a playing surface and, more importantly to card collectors, a whopping 200 game cards – 100 offensive cards and 100 defensive cards. The cards dictated the play of the game with various outcomes printed on them. Games were first printed in 1925 and then again in 1934. Another printing may have also taken place in between that time.
These weren’t merely game cards with printed actions, though. One side of each card featured a generic picture of a football player. the offensive cards featured the player carrying the ball while the defensive ones showed him in a defensive stance.
Neither player is named but there’s good reason to believe the player depicted is Red Grange. Why? Well, I outlined that in an article here. But, essentially, there are various reasons to believe that. First, Grange served as a spokesperson and vice president of the Ya-Lo Corporation that produced the games. Grange was also a two-way player and the game cards were printed in blue and orange ink – the colors of Grange’s Alma Mater, Illinois.
The great thing about these cards is their affordability. Because 200 cards came with the game, they are not valued very high, even if there aren’t a ton of these games around. Single cards are generally around $5 or less and if you can find a complete game, you’ll usually pay very little per card – around .50 or so since low-grade games with all of the cards are usually in the $75-125 range.
Even if the cards don’t necessarily depict Grange, that kind of price is still extremely reasonable for a truly early football card.’