"All in a Single Afternoon"

Baseball Cards of 1939

Ever since the 1870's baseball card collecting was an enjoyable pastime and in 1939 the centennial year never more popular. The most prominent card producers were Gum Inc. of Philadelphia "Play Ball America" a 161 card set and Goudey Gum Co. of Boston Mass. & its affiliate World Wide Gum of Montreal Canada. Goudey offered a large format picture of baseball's current stars in a sepia tone and black and white form cataloged as R303a and R303b. In 1937 Goudey purchased National Chicle Co. and the rights to their card offerings. In 1939 they produced the Goudey "Diamond Stars" as R303 A&B. World Wide Gum offered a smaller portrait of Major League and Minor League baseball stars created as "Diamond Stars" they were cataloged V351 and were printed in Canada.

Gum Inc. "Play Ball America"

1939b Play Ball America Display Box Gum Inc.
One of Steve Hannagan's most successful licenses was granted to Gum Inc. of Philadelphia for the production of 161 Play Ball America baseball cards. This is the box they came in. The box was found in Allentown, Pennsylvania at a church rummage sale. It contained pincushions that were for sale. After purchasing the pincushions the seller thought it would be easier to transport them in this box. I bought the box on eBay from a lady whose hobby was quilting. I am sure pin cushions are nice but I think the box is better.
1939 Play Ball Wraper
This wrapper is one from Gum Inc. of Philadelphia, "Play Ball America" offering 161 cards and a piece of bubble gum. Three cards for a penny, 100 packs per box and is cataloged as R334.
Play Ball Hall of Famers
Stars of 1939 who became Hall of Famers:
Top left to right - C. Ruffing, W. Dickey, R. Doerr, J. DiMaggio, C. Gehringer, V. Gomez, M. Ott, C. Hubbell, A. Vaughan, H. Greenberg, C. Klein, L. Waner, T. Williams, P. Waner, L. Durocher and E. Averill
The Set of 161 cards
The set of 161 cards.

"World Wide Gum" a Division of Goudey Gum.

World Wide Gum V351 was a 25 card set, Each card measured 4 x 5-3/4 printed in Canada. They were exchanged for wrappers at the candy counter.

World Wide Gum Wrapper a Division of Goudey Gum Boston Mass
World Wide Gum Wrapper a Division of Goudey Gum Boston, Mass.
World Wide Gum
World Wide Gum, a division of Goudey Gum Co., offered Major and Minor League players photos for Diamond Stars wrappers. Top left to right - Charley Gehringer, Tigers - Paul Derringer, Reds - Sam Bell, Montreal- Vince DiMaggio, Kansas City. Cataloged as V351 and were printed in Canada.
Reverse of World Wide Gum Cards
Reverse of World Wide Gum Cards

Goudey Gum. "Diamond Stars"

Diamond Stars Box
Goudey "Diamond Stars" Box (not in my collection) breaks the code on how the R303 B cards were distributed at a penny apiece, this box was sold at auction for $2,252.
R303A Ted Williams - Sepia
R303A Ted Williams - Sepia
R303a Hank Greenberg
R303B Hank Greenberg - Sepia
R303b Ernie Lombardi
R303B Ernie Lombardi - Black & White

Goudey R303A was a 48 card set, each card measured 4 x 5-3/16 in a sepia tone. The point of sale is not clear they were either exchanged for wrappers or sold at the candy counter.

Goudey R303B was a 24 card set, each card measured 4-3/4 x 7-1/4 in a sepia tone or black and white. They were purched at the candy counter with gum.