American Card Collection, ca. 1935
These were my father's cards. I was cataloging my son's cards one day and he said that he didn't have many sports cards, but he had a lot of Indian cards. And we went around and found them in his closet.
It's very interesting. It's an extensive collection of "non-sport cards," they're called. They date from the 1930s and they're among the first cards that were actually sold with bubble gum. Kids collected them for the first time. Before that, kids had to get their cards from their parents who'd get it in tobacco packages. You have quite an extensive collection here. You have Indians, aviators, pirates, boy scouts, comic characters. Dozens of companies made these cards, and there were literally hundreds of sets made. By the late 1930s, war was looming, and a lot of kids were very interested, just like today, in battles and ships and things, and they began to make war cards. We have these here as well represented. Your collection actually has about 500 or so cards. Among them are a few sport cards, but not baseball cards. You have a football card here: Knute Rockne, the coach of Notre Dame. That's probably your best card in the whole collection. You also have hockey cards, golf cards, basketball cards. You also have an enormous variation in condition in your cards. You have one here that's in excellent condition of Sitting Bull; one next to it in fair condition; and another one with a punch hole and a tear in poor condition. I'd say the majority of your collection is probably in fair condition. These aren't just cards; they're miniature pieces of American pop culture circa the 1930s. People love them. I'd say your collection—around 500 cards-- is probably worth about $2,000 to $3,000.
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