1939-46 Salutation Exhibits Full of Variations
Variations in this WWII era Exhibit card set make for a challenging master set
The 1939-46 Salutation Exhibits spanned many years and included all sorts of baseball stars. The cards were one of only a few mainstream sets of baseball issues that were produced during World War II.
Exhibit cards were offered in machines where collectors could insert money and receive a card. They were unique in that most pre-war cards were offered with another item, such as gum or cigarettes. These were simply purchased outright with no such tie in to another product. Here’s a brief rundown on them if you’re not familiar with the type.
Classified as W462, the Salutation Exhibits are called as such because they included a brief greeting as well as the player’s name. The salutations included things such as, ‘Sincerely,’ ‘Yours Truly,’ and ‘Best Wishes.’
In a basic set, there are only a little more than 60 cards in the series. But counting all of the variations, you get about 90.
There are a few different types of variations in the set. Generally, you can classify them as one of four types:
- Pose/Uniform variation
- Salutation variation
- Print variation
- Photo location/cropping variation
The lone type that I would suggest is needed for a basic set would be the pose variations. The pose variations are truly different cards as the picture of the player on them is an entirely different one.
One of the more popular pose variations in the set features Hall of Famer Ted Williams. Williams has two different poses in the set. One, shown to the left here presents a picture of Williams’ back and the No. 9 on his jersey. The other shows him from the front in the follow through of a swing.
The variations such as these, mind you, are not to be considered equals. Some have little premium over others but some, like the Williams’, are dramatically different. The card shown to the right (front view) can be bought for around $20 but the one of the left is almost always over $100.
Lumped in here would also be minor uniform variations. For example, Andy Pafko and Fred Walker have Exhibits where their team logo is printed or missing from their hat.
Another type of variation is seen in some of the salutations.
Note that many of the cards with salutation changes are actually seen in the pose variations. However, some salutation variations are on cards with the same photos.
An example of that is seen in the cards for Tommy Holmes.
Most of Holmes’ cards bear a ‘Yours Truly’ greeting. But a rarer type has a greeting that says ‘Sincerely Yours.’ As is the case with the Williams’ variations above, these cards have a difference in value. The Yours Truly cards are considered commons and, in low-grade condition, not more than a few bucks. But the Sincerely Yours type can sell in the $50-$100 range.
Some cards have very minor differences in the print. While some collectors would have a hard time being interested in these, they are viewed as different cards needed for a complete master set.
The two main print variations here revolve around small print found at the bottom of the cards. One type of print is ‘An Exhibit’ card and the other is a notation reading, ‘Made in U.S.A.’
Some of the cards bear ‘An Exhibit Card’ while others do not. And others have the Made in U.S.A. in different locations. Sometimes that appears on the left and others, on the right.
Shown here is an example of cards for George McQuinn. As you can see, one has the Made in U.S.A. print on the bottom left and the other has it on the bottom right.
Finally, a fourth type of variations exist with these cards and that is in small photo variances. These are not ones that have different photos, mind you. Rather, the exact place on the card that an image appears is the variation.
These are the ones that are probably the least important to collectors. And if you look at enough of these cards, you can find all sorts of these minor differences that would make a master set practically limitless. But several are recognized as actually different cards.
For example, Rudy York has a card with his foot closer to the edge of the card than another one does as the image is slightly modified on the card with his picture moved slightly down and to the left. Other similar examples exist, too.
The difference in premium for these is not typically as great as it is for the other variations. But collectors of master sets do pursue these cards.
You can see a checklist for the set here, including the known reported variations.