Obscure Card of the Month: 1930s Amalgamated Press Champion Sports Wallet Dempsey / Carnera / Baer
The 1930s Amalgamated Press Champion cards are a pretty odd type. These ‘cards’ are really more like miniature photos, to be honest. Measuring about 1 3/4″ x 2 9/16″, they are definitely card-sized. But they are printed on thin paper and are attached vertically so that they unfold much in the way that pictures in a wallet would. That makes since given the name.
They were printed attached inside of construction paper booklets so that the overall feel was one of a wallet. As mentioned on the covers, they were distributed with Champion, a sports publication. They are an incredibly fragile issue, which probably contributes to their relative rarity.
There are many interesting cards in the set but one that caught my eye is one featuring Hall of Fame boxers Jack Dempsey, Max Baer, and Primo Carnera. Carnera, for what it’s worth, was a former champion but is not in the Boxing Hall of Fame like the others. He is, however, in the WWE’s Hall of Fame as he later became a professional wrestler.
These cards were distributed in subsets of six. And while a boxing subset does exist, that’s actually not where you’ll find this card. This one is actually in a subset called, ‘Sporting Film Favourites,’ a collection of cards for sports-themed movies.
The card depicts the trio on the front in a black and white picture (backs of all cards in the set are blank). Carnera is on the left facing off against Baer on the right. In the middle is a somewhat puzzled looking Dempsey, who was the referee.
The scene for the card is from a 1933 movie called, The Prizefighter and the Lady. In the movie, Dempsey plays himself and is the referee.
This card, like others in the set, is fairly difficult to find. Frankly, you don’t see these cards too often and you find them even less when still attached and inside of the accompanying book. Thus, putting a price on them is difficult — particularly in this era of cards with constantly growing values.
Regardless of a price, its rarity and the fact that few collectors know of it makes it a fine pick for The Obscure Card of the Month.