Obscure Card of the Month: 1936 Allen’s Sports and Flags of Nations Baseball Card

The 1936 Allen’s Sports and Flags of Nations set is one of those great international sets that featured various sports from around the world.

Baseball made its way into the set and, as you might expect, that’s typically the most popular card in it. The card, of course, is for America, but it’s not the only card for the United States. Some countries have more than one sports representing them and the U.S. is one of those with golf also featured for the nation.

But make no mistake — while the golf card is popular, it’s the baseball one that commands the most attention. Like other international ‘sports of the world’ type of sets, the player featured is merely a generic batter. But the great vintage picture along with the American flag make this a really nice pre-war card.

One thing to keep in mind is that there are several variations of these (and the other cards in the set, for that matter). While the images on the front are unchanged, the cards can be found with an assortment of back advertisements for food/snack products. they are roughly the same size as the standard tobacco and early caramel cards but at 1 5/8″ wide, are a bit thicker. The four variations are:

  • Allen’s Cure ‘Em Quick
  • Allen’s Irish Moss Gum Jubes
  • Allen’s Q-T Fruit Drops
  • Allen’s Steam Rollers

The card, by the way, is abundantly tough. You rarely see them and the cards were clearly not printed in the volumes of many UK tobacco cards from the 1930s. Many collectors looking for these cards can go months without seeing them for sale.

How rare are the cards? Tough to say. But PSA, SGC, and Beckett have combined to grade only about 20 of these cards. Given that small amount, it’s easy to see why they’re so difficult to find. Because they’re so tough, I’m not even sure any definitive guide exists to determine which of the back advertisements are the scarcest.

Valuing the cards is also difficult. Few collectors know about these cards so they can often go under the radar in straight auctions, starting in the $20-$30 range. But dealers understanding their rarity can ask for significantly more for them. Seeing them offered in the $50-$100 range is not uncommon.

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