A Look at Hank Greenberg’s Diamond Stars Cards (And, No, They’re Not Rookies)

A typo is the reason Hank Greenberg has two cards in the 1934-36 Diamond Stars set

Hank Greenberg’s card is arguably the key to the 1934-36 Diamond Stars set. And thanks to an error, Greenberg has two different card fronts in the set.

The 1934-36 Diamond Stars set is one of the more popular gum card sets of the 1930s. Produced by National Chicle, it was a competing set to the popular Goudey issues printed at the same time.

Arguably, National Chicle’s biggest problem was that they did not have some of baseball’s biggest stars in their set. There’s no Babe Ruth, no Lou Gehrig, and the set also missed out on rookie card of Bob Feller and Joe DiMaggio in the final year of release of the set.

One of the bigger names to be found, though, is Hank Greenberg.

Greenberg was really just getting his start in Detroit when the set was issued. His most recognizable rookie card is his 1934 Goudey card. But while the Diamond Stars cards are often touted as rookies, that isn’t the case.

While the earliest Diamond Stars cards were in fact issued in 1934, Greenberg’s card did not come around until 1935. It is believed that Series I cards were No. 1-24 and printed in 1934. Cards in the second series after that, including Greenberg’s No. 54, were printed no earlier than 1935. The cards are among Greenberg’s earliest issues, but are one of many cards that are commonly mistaken for rookies.

Another interesting feature of Greenberg’s card is that there are actually two different versions. That’s because of a simple spelling error. It should be pointed out that Hall of Famer Ernie Lombardi also has an error card (where is first name is spelled as Earnie).

Some of Greenberg’s cards include a typo on the front that reads ‘Greenburg.’ The mistake was likely made first and then corrected later. Common sense tells us that the mistake must have been caught early in production. That is because the majority of the Greenberg cards out there are the corrected version.

The Greenberg typo, it should be noted, is limited to the front. The backs of the cards with the typo on the front have Greenberg’s name correctly spelled on the back.

PSA’s population report for graded copies shows this disparity. While nearly 450 of the corrected Greenberg cards have been graded to date, PSA has not even graded 100 of the error cards.

And while the error cards do typically sell for more money, you can occasionally find a steal on one if a seller is unaware of the error or, more importantly, its rarity. Low-grade corrected Greenberg cards typically start in the $300-$400 range.

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