Baseball is Only a Small Part of the Extensive 1933 Goudey Sport Kings Set

The three baseball cards found in the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings set are only part of release

In 1933, Goudey created one of the most iconic baseball card sets of all time. What fewer collectors know, however, is that they also created the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings set that year as well.

The Sport Kings set is one of the more important multi-sport issues in the pre-war era. It includes Babe Ruth, Carl Hubbell, and the retired Ty Cobb. But while those three are generally considered some of the keys, there’s a lot more here as well.

Early Football Stars

Grange Goudey Sport KingsLike baseball, the football subset included a total of three cards. The names were just as big, too.

Football cards included Knute Rockne, Jim Thorpe, and Red Grange — three of the biggest names in the sport’s history. At the time, Grange was the only one playing professionally but all three cards are important.

Grange was at the tail end of his pro career with the Chicago Bears, and Thorpe had already retired and was mostly performing in movies among other things.

Rockne’s card is desirable as well as it is sometimes viewed as a rookie issue, even though he had died two years earlier in a plane crash as he was going to film a movie. He coached Notre Dame to three national championships and is one of the most famous collegiate coaches of all time.

All three cards generally sell for a few hundred dollars (even in lower grade condition) with Grange and Thorpe typically selling for the most.

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First Basketball Cards

As I wrote over at Sports Collectors Daily, the set is also home to what many consider to be the first professional basketball cards.

They aren’t the first basketball cards ever, as several other cards featuring generic players and college teams were printed earlier. But they are usually viewed as the first cards featuring professional players.

The NBA wasn’t formed until the 1940s but these cards featured players that were playing on earlier professional teams. A total of four players is found in the basketball subset and, as you can imagine, these are quite popular, too.

The four players, Eddie Burke, Nat Holman, Joe Lapchick, and Ed Wachter were all notable. The latter three all made it to the Basketball Hall of Fame and Burke was a well-known player that suited up for several teams.

All of the cards start around $150-$250 in decent shape, though you can find them cheaper in low-grade condition, like the Wachter shown here that I bought a while back.

Odds and Ends

Bill Tilden Tennis 1933 Goudey Sport KingsAce Bailey 1933 Goudey Sport Kings HockeyThe set also includes early hockey stars. Like the basketball cards, a total of four hockey cards are featured. The most popular are probably card of Howie Morenz and Eddie Shore. But cards of Ace Bailey and Irv Johnston aren’t particularly far behind. Cards for any of those guys will usually cost you more than $100.

In addition, collectors will find all kinds of other talented athletes here, too.

There’s golf stars Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen, for starters. There’s also tennis legend Bill Tilden. And if you think these cards aren’t worth much, think again. Jones’ card is particularly valuable and, with low-grade cards selling for over $300, among the most expensive in the entire set.

Collectors will also be surprised by some of the prices for others in the set. Track and Field great Babe Didrickson isn’t known by everyone but she was a legendary athlete and her cards, even in low-grade condition, are usually more than $100. There’s also famous swimmer Duke Kahanamoku, who is credited with making the sport of surfing popular. His cards are similarly expensive and hard to find under $100.

All told, the baseball cards in the set are only a very small portion of it.

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