British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame fills gaps in 1930s Vancouver Peanuts checklist

Significant progress has been made on checklisting a rare Canadian baseball card set

1930s Vancouver Peanuts Biff Ingram Home GasSimply put, the Vancouver Peanuts sets of the 1930s are among the rarest known issues of the decade. These cards featured players in an organization called the Vancouver Senior Amateur League. While these weren’t major leaguers, they were pictured on several rare sets that are generally believed to have been produced from 1932-38.

The cards are pretty basic by nature with somewhat grainy photos and a typewritten font for most, if not all, displaying things such as the player’s name, position, and team. Backs of the cards are blank. They are dubbed the Vancouver Peanuts cards because they were packaged with peanuts and distributed at the league’s games at Athletic Park.

Baseball cards for a senior league? Well, even though the league probably isn’t known to most collectors, it was certainly a local favorite that drew quite a bit of attention. Games seem to have been well-attended, as this recap of the 1933 season suggests. More than 2,000 people watched a season-opening doubleheader at the league’s stadium, Athletic Park. These types of leagues were probably quite popular in Canada, which didn’t have major league baseball. That seems to justify the idea of creating sets for the teams.

The cards themselves hardly ever surface and, as a result, not too much is known about them by most collectors. Even trying to determine who appeared in the sets has been difficult and until now, checklisting efforts for the set have mostly been non-existent. But thanks to some help from the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame, we’re finally making some progress on that front.

I’d seen mentioned that a large collection of these cards was donated to the Hall and reached out to their Curator, Jason Beck. Jason confirmed the cards were donated nearly 40 years ago in 1980 and was gracious enough to provide a list of the cards they have.

With his help, I was able to significantly expand the known checklist previously posted here, which showed about 35 cards. Here is the new checklist, which now lists more than 130.

Some mysteries still abound. For one thing, it isn’t quite known which cards belong with which years. This site on Western Canadian baseball, however, can help us to try to identify some cards as they provide game reports, indicating when specific players appeared on which teams. While work remains, great strides have made been to develop this new checklist and we have a much clearer picture of the series as a result.

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