Obscure Card of the Month: 1935 R89 Gum, Inc. Mickey Mouse Hockey Card
This rare hockey card could be Mickey Mouse’s sports debut
The ‘rookie card’ of Mickey Mouse is generally viewed as his 1931 Wills Cinema Stars card. The card features Mickey and creator Walt Disney.
Now, before you go scoffing at such a card, just know that it can sell for hundreds or even more than a thousand dollars in high-grade condition. The card is quite desirable and is well known to pre-war non-sports collectors.
But there are also several other later cards of Mickey and other Disney characters depicted playing sports. And Mickey’s first sports card might be his 1935 R89 Gum, Inc. hockey card. If it is not his first one, it is certainly one of the first.
Now, the entire R89 set features Mickey Mouse but the set is generally a non-sports one. But one popular card in it shown here pictures the cartoon character with ice skates and, more importantly, a hockey stick and puck.
The card includes a bit of a joke with Minnie Mouse at the bottom calling him a ‘nice skater.’ Mickey replies that he is an ‘ice skater.’
The card bears the Walt Disney copyright and is No. 81 in the set. While it is certainly rare (you will rarely find it on eBay), an even rarer parallel variation is found in the V303 O-Pee-Chee set. The card has the same image but was distributed in Canada with other O-Pee-Chee cards. Those cards are much rarer than this one.
How tough are these cards? To date, PSA has graded only a little more than 30 of the R89 hockey cards. By contrast, they’ve graded only three of the V303 Canadian variants. That is mostly in line with the entire set as PSA has graded approximately ten times as many R89 cards in all than they have the V303 cards.
The price on these cards fluctuates wildly. Commons in the R89 set sell in the $5-$10 range but the hockey card is likely the most desirable card in the set with asking prices usually significantly more than that.