Like Father, Like Son: The Goudey Sport Kings Cards of Bobby Walthour Jr. and Sr.

Hidden in the Goudey Sport Kings set is a father/son cycling duo

Bobby Walthour, Sr. was one of the top cyclists of his time. Walthour gained fame winning early cycling championships from 1902 through 1905. One of his specialties was in motor pacing — cycling directly behind a car or motorcycle, which allowed riders to get into a slipstream by trailing a motor vehicle, and going faster than they otherwise could on their own.

Cycling may not seem like a treacherous sport today but in motor pacing it was. Injuries happened with regularity and some riders even died as riders got faster and faster with tires often being destroyed, sending them all over the place. Walthour, himself, was no stranger to injuries from the sport. He was said to have suffered numerous injuries, including nearly 50 collarbone fractures and 32 broken ribs while also needing 60 stitches to go along with broken fingers and dozens of concussions.

Walthour, Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps and also became a cyclist — and a good one at that. He didn’t gain the same recognition that his father did in the sport but he won a string of events and championships during his career in the 1920s and 1930s.

Both were inducted into the US Bicycling Hall of Fame.

The pair are sort of tucked away in the Goudey Sport Kings set. That set is headlined by the likes of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and a slew of other big-time athletes in all sorts of sports. Cycling takes a backseat and, as such, few collectors know of the Walthours or that they both appear in the same set.

Well, sort of.

While the Sport Kings set is often touted as a 1933 issue, it is actually from 1933 and 1934. We know that due to some of the copyrights on cards. Some have a 1933 copyright on front while others have 1934. Walthour Jr.’s card, No. 31 in the set, boasts a 1934 copyright. Walthour, Sr.’s card is No. 7 and from 1933. The Sport Kings set is viewed almost exclusively as a full, singular set — largely because the checklist numbering in 1934 picks up where 1933 left off. However, these are, in a way, two different, distinct series with a Walthour appearing in each one.

Walthour, Jr. was still active when these cards were issued. However, Walthour, Sr.’s card states that he had been retired for ten years at the time of production. That was not uncommon for the Sport Kings set, which featured numerous retired athletes.

The 1934 cards are slightly more difficult to come by than the ones from 1933. However, pricing for the pair of cyclists is rarely that different — even despite the distinctive career of the elder Walthour. The reality is that, with so many other impressive names in the set, both Walthour cards typically sell as commons with both starting around $15-$25 in low-grade condition. Some sellers may charge slightly more for the older, more popular Walthour while others may charge more for the Jr. edition because his card is a bit rarer. But neither generally commands significantly more than the other.

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