Obscure Card of the Month: 1930s Seal Craft Baseball Safety Disc (M30)
This rare 1930s baseball card was part of a set focusing on traffic safety
In the 1930s, some of the more unique card offerings were the Seal Craft discs. These disc cards had small holes in them and they were designed to be attached by string to create various types of decorations or items.
There are essentially three styles of these discs (two are classified as M30 and one is R123, the latter of which is sometimes recognized as Dietz Gum). Frankly, the classification of these issues has been kind of a mess. But I have tried to explain on this site before, in comparing the three with a fourth, similar but unrelated set, R79.
The M30 cards are believed to have been distributed by newspapers — hence the M-Card/Publications designation. While there are sports cards among the others of those four sets, a 12-card set related to general safety (one of the two M30 sets) is basically a non-sports issue. Those cards depict topics such as helping the elderly across the street, railroad crossing safety, and obeying traffic signs and signals.
However, one card in that 12-card issue features baseball. As such, it is easily the key card in the set.
Shown here is the baseball disc from the set. It is really designed in two separate parts. The upper half encourages children to keep games of baseball on the playground while the bottom shows a dangerous situation with a child playing i the street with a car approaching. The card is on thick cardstock and measures approximately 2 3/16″ in diameter.
Why safety? Well, other than the standard answer that it’s always good to focus on safety, I guess, the 1930s were a particularly interesting time in traffic safety. While fewer automobile-related deaths were occurring at the end of the decade, the number of per capita fatalities had mostly increased steadily up to that point in time. Traffic safety was, as it had been, not going all that well and all sorts of campaigns were created to try to fix it as more and more people began finding themselves on the roads in automobiles.
Children playing in the street, out of necessity or convenience, was quite common. Heck, it’s still common. And this card sort of highlights the danger in doing so.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking this card, finding it can be a bit of a challenge. You hardly ever see it offered for sale. I’ve come across two in a few years of looking and have bought them both times.
Establishing a price on it is not all that easy. Common Seal Craft discs can sell for only a few dollars but those are for non-sports issues and this one, as one of the few sports issues, definitely has more interest.
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