Five Underrated Goudey Baseball Cards
Here’s a look at some underappreciated cards from the pre-war Goudey sets
The Goudey cards from 1930s and early 1940s are among the most popular pre-war baseball cards. While others were present during the time period, Goudey was the undisputed king of the early gum cards beginning in the 1930s.
Everyone knows about the high-dollar cards from the sets, including the four Babe Ruth cards found in the 1933 issue and the Joe DiMaggio cards in the 1938 Big Heads set. But here are some that don’t get quite as much attention as they probably should and, as a result, are relatively good bargains.
1933 Goudey Jimmy Dykes
Jimmy Dykes’ card in the 1933 Goudey set is judged as a common but it’s also one of the more interesting cards in the set.
‘One’ actually isn’t the correct term here since there are two Dykes’ cards, even if most collectors don’t know it.
Dykes’ card was printed with an error that incorrectly states his age as 26. Dykes was actually ten years older and Goudey later corrected the card to update his age to 36.
That typically wouldn’t be big news since errors were frequently made by card manufacturers in the pre-war era. But this one is a bit noteworthy since Dykes’ card is the only one that was corrected in the entire set.
In a set as large as 240 cards, other errors were possibly made. But to date, only the Dykes is known to have a correction, bringing the actual total of cards in the set to 241. And the fact that you can usually get either starting for around $10 is pretty reasonable.
1936 Goudey Fine Pens Joe DiMaggio
Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio is one of the most popular players of the Goudey era. And he made his debut as a major leaguer in a few 1936 sets.
While Goudey didn’t include him in their short 25-card 1936 set, they did manage to fit him into their set of small premium photos, now called the ‘Wide Pens’ set. As they were printed in 1936, they are legitimate rookie card issues for DiMaggio. They were given the wide pens name to help distinguish them from a similar set issued by National Chicle around the same time called the ‘Fine Pens.’ The Goudey wide pens have the player names in thicker print while the fine pens have thinner print.
DiMaggio actually has two wide pens rookie photos — one by himself and a second shown here with manager Joe McCarthy. The one shown here is a little more affordable, starting around $300 or so. Featuring two Hall of Famers and as a DiMaggio rookie card, that’s a price that’s beyond reasonable.
1933 Goudey Sport Kings Ty Cobb
Given the high prices on Ty Cobb cards these days, you won’t often see his stuff showing up on an underrated list. But this card is a bit of an exception.
What many collectors forget is that Cobb’s playing career was over by the time this card was printed. But he stopped playing after the 1928 season and, like this Christy Mathewson card, the prices are kept a bit lower because of that.
Finding any Cobb card under $500 these days isn’t too easy. Some of his less mainstream stuff, as I wrote here, can be found for less. But most of his tobacco and candy/gum cards are not cheap.
This Cobb starts around $300 in low-grade condition, which is really cheap for his stuff. Sometimes, you can get it for even less. This one in a recent Probstein auction, sold for only $272.
1936 Goudey Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg was one of the biggest stars of the 1930s and 1940s. His 1934 Goudey rookie card is a relative bargain but his 1936 Goudey card has always been underrated.
Interestingly enough, some of Greenberg’s later cards, such as his 1938 Goudey or 1941 Play Ball are usually more expensive. This one is a legitimate pre-war 3rd year card of a Hall of Famer and is sort of on the back burner.
The card is generally considered to be the most valuable one in the short set. And considering you can get it in low-grade condition starting around $40 or so, it makes the set extremely easy to complete.
Given its low price, if you have this card, you’re basically set up to put the entire set together since it consists of only 25 cards.
1935 Goudey Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth on an underappreciated list?
I know, I get it. But like the Cobb Sport Kings card, the 1935 Goudey Babe Ruth card remains an unbelievable bargain.
Ruth gum cards have shot up in value in the past few years. It wasn’t too long ago that you could buy a 1933 Goudey Ruth in pretty low-grade condition for around $600. That price has almost doubled with those starting around a grand now. But one exception to the Ruth prices is found in the 1935 Goudey set.
The four-in-one set as it’s sometimes called features four players on each card. That has generally kept the prices a bit on the low end as people looking for a Ruth card often want one with just The Babe on it. But the prices are too good to believe.
Low-grade 1935 Goudey Ruth cards start around $400 and even mid-grade ones start around $700 – significantly less than what you’ll pay for even a low-grade 1933 Goudey Ruth. If you don’t mind having guys like Ed Brandt and Marty McManus on it, this one’s for you. There’s even an added bonus with Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville pictured as well.
When looking for an affordable Ruth gum era card from his playing days, the 1935 Goudey is tough to beat.