Early Amelia Earhart card tops National Chicle’s Sky Birds set
The 1930s National Chicle Sky Birds set contains one of the few contemporary cards of Amelia Earhart — and it’s her most popular one
While National Chicle’s 1934-36 Diamond Stars baseball cards set is a popular issue among collectors, fewer know of the company’s 1933-34 Sky Birds set. But the Sky Birds set, featuring popular aviators, is an equally fantastic issue.
A set of aviators? That’s right. While that idea might seem a bit far-fetched today, as I wrote about with the 1911 T38 Aviators set, it’s important to remember the context of the times. And in the pre-war era, aviation was really just gaining traction. Pilots were seen as daredevils of a sort with flying not yet as common as it is today.
The Sky Birds set looks, frankly, exactly like the Diamond Stars issue. The cards have an art deco feel with bold colors and the cards mirror the baseball set in terms of size, look, and feel. Change the card numbers and it would be very easy to consider this as one combined multi-sport set as opposed to the different ones that they clearly are.
And while there are many big names in aviation in the Sky Birds set, the card of Amelia Earhart is the one that stands above the rest.
Earhart, of course, was one of the first female aviators. She was the first woman to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean and, famously, she is known for her sudden disappearance in attempting the first woman complete a circumnavigational flight around the world.
Earhart was never found but presumed dead approximately 18 months after her disappearance. Since then, she’s become sort of a cult hero and is hands down, one of the most well-known aviators of all time.
Despite her popularity, Earhart does not appear on too many cards. Her most common contemporary card is probably her card in the 1936 Carreras Famous Airmen and Airwomen set. But the Sky Birds card is easily her most popular issue.
The front includes an art depiction of Earhart in front of a plane with the back offering a description along with some of her achievements.
The card is often defined as a rookie card, making it even more sought after. But that is not actually the case as she appears in a few earlier sets. Some, such as the 1929 V250 wrappers set, can be questioned as true rookies. But she has cards in the 1932 Reemtsma set as well as the 1933 Orami aviator set. Still, none of Earhart’s cards are nearly as popular as the Sky Birds card issued with National Chicle’s gum product.
The good news is, if you are looking for one, it is not a terribly rare card. PSA has graded about 125 to date and eBay generally has about a half dozen at any given time. However, the card has risen in recent years and finding it in even decent low-grade condition for under $75 is not easy.
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