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Sports Antique of the Week Archive Page



July 26th- August 1st 2009

Standout items 

by SportsAntiques.com



SportKingPoster.jpg (116388 bytes)




Printed on paper - 15" tall X 15" wide 

Twenty four top athletes featured - Columbus Ohio collector has owned it twenty five years


click photos

SPORT KINGS PACK.jpg (29269 bytes)

SPORT KINGS PACK OPENED.jpg (119716 bytes)



non-sports 010.jpg (116388 bytes)

SPORT KINGS DISPLAY BOX.jpg (10034 bytes)


sport kings card box detail.jpg (8112 bytes)

sport kings card full.jpg (23817 bytes)

SPORT KINGS PACK OPENED DETAIL card.jpg (53391 bytes)


Overview by Carlton Hendricks


I spotted this c1933 Sport Kings Gum card poster on a Net54 thread to "show your advertising pieces". I'm not a card collector, but it had the look and I knew it was rare. The Sport Kings card set that this poster advertises was produced by the Goudy Gum Company in 1933. To a collector who has chased the cards, the poster would be a very rare and iconic extension to a complete set. 


The owner of the poster is fifty four year old hobby veteran Rick Payne of Columbus Ohio. Rick said he has owned it twenty five years and that it's been on his wall all that time. The poster is printed on paper and measures 15" by 15" excluding matt and frame.


Rick said he and his late father Joe had set up at eleven National Sports Collector Conventions from 1986 to 2001. I asked Rick where and how he came into it and he replied that a friend of his found two boxes of Sport Kings gum boxes in an old drug store in the 1970's, and that this poster was in one of the boxes. Rick said it took ten years but he finally got the poster and an empty box and fourteen lesser stars cards in a trade. Rick also added the poster isn't for sale. Below is email correspondence with Rick and a list of questions he graciously answered for this story. 



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What are the dimensions of that Sport King 
poster? Is that on cardstock? Is it for sale? It's great. -Carlton

Hi, Carlton! 

Glad you liked it. It measures 15 x 15; and is printed on paper that I had dry mounted many years ago as part of restoration process. Quite a story, really...a friend had found TWO unopened boxes of Sport Kings gumcards in an old drug store in the 1970s and this poster was in one of them. Back then, no one seemed too interested in unopened packs so he opened them all. While the minty cards were great, at that time I was a pauper and always set my sights on the poster. It took about 10 years before I was finally able to trade the poster, an empty box and about 14 packs with lesser stars off of him. Box and cards are long gone. The poster isn't for sale, though...too many happy memories there.

I am going to be selling some nice things soon; my dad died in December and I'm overwhelmed with the combination of his collection and mine. We set up a booth once a year at most Nationals from 1990 - 2001, but started collecting back in the mid 1960s. I've got some great stuff but am woefully ignorant of values and the best way to market them. It's all memorabilia, not cards...which always made it easy to generate interest but a crapshoot on getting the right price for it. I'm expecting to make a run up to Cleveland for the National this year to reacquaint myself with the hobby. 

Keep in touch! Rick

Hello Rick, 
1. What year was this poster produced? Are there any markings? Printer?? year? any markings would be important..can you photograph them?...Can you send a better photo of the full gum box ?
2. When did Sport King start and end production of the gum? and the cards? 
3. Are the cards considered standouts? That is, are they considered to be nicer/more desirable than most baseball cards?
4. What's the market value of the poster?
5. What are some highs of the cards?
6. What is a complete set worth these days?
7. Is this poster rare? How many have you seen?
8. How did you come into the poster? Where did you find it? 
9. How does it rate among your collection? is it number number one?

10. Please feel free to elaborate on any other knowldege of this poster you care to share
Thanks -Carlton


OK, I'll do my best on these questions...but I am not the right guy to ask about current values. 

1. This poster was issued with the first series of Goudey Gum's SPORTS KINGS CHEWING GUM in 1933. The poster measure 15 " x 15" and was printed on slick paper. The card images are exactly the same size as the cards with exactly the same coloration. The poster pictures all 24 cards issued in 1933 (the first series of the program). There are no printing indicia on the poster and the back is blank. Originally, there was a strip of adhesive along the front of the top and bottom borders which was intended to be moistened to stick the poster to a window for display.

2 There are a total of 48 cards in the set. Goudey Gum reportedly issued the first series of 24 cards in 1933 and a second series of 24 in 1934, but they obviously knew a second series was coming because they mentioned it on the poster...so I'm not sure the second series wasn't released earlier. Each box held 100 packs.

3. SPORT KINGS only included three baseball players...Babe Ruth & Ty Cobb in 1933 and Carl Hubbell in 1934. The Goudey 1933 BIG LEAGUE CHEWING GUM set (R319) produced four cards of Ruth and they are more valuable than the SPORT KINGS Ruth. There was no Cobb in the BIG LEAGUE set, and I think the Hubbell SPORT KINGS is valued higher than the BIG LEAGUE card. Beyond baseball, however, SPORT KINGS is a tremendous set. This single set (in fact, this poster) features almost all the legends of American Sports of the early 20th century, active and retired...and it's interesting to note that the definition of "Sports" included famous aviators, surfers, dogsled racers, cyclists and pool players. 

4. I don't know value of the poster; I would guess between $5,000 and $10,000. I can't think of any other set where every card in the series is pictured full-size on the poster! I haven't seen any other Goudey posters that come close to this one in visual impact. I know this isn't the only one out there, but I don't think too many survived the 1930s due to the adhesive.

5. Again, I'm the wrong guy to ask about values of cards. Key first series cards are the Ruth, Cobb, Grange, Thorpe and Dempsey. Key second series cards are Bobby Jones, Babe Didrickson (only female in the set), Knute Rockne and the Carl Hubbell. The hockey and basketball cards are also valuable, as is the Johnny Weismuller...who is best known as Tarzan in the movies.

6. Not a clue, but I'm sure some sets must have been auctioned by the big boys.

7. I'm sure this isn't the only one in existence, but I don't think too many survived the 1930s due to the adhesive. If you stuck it to a glass, the poster would have been severely damaged upon removal. And if I had been a kid in 1933, I would have begged the retailer for the sign so I could glue it to cardboard and cut it up to make my own cards! I do remember seeing one in an auction many years ago and don't know if any turned up in the big Goudey Company find. 

8. Great story. A friend found two unopened boxes in a drug store back in the 1970s. Even then, the cards were valuable and most of the packs were opened and sold or traded. All the key cards were there and they were FLAWLESS except for the gum-stained backs (I've attached scans of one pack I kept). This folded poster was laid on top of the cards in one of the two boxes. I always had my sights set on the poster and about ten years later was able to trade for it and one of the boxes. The real challenge was dissolving the adhesives, which had fused together after all those years in the heat. It was painstaking work but the satisfaction in seeing it turn out so well was priceless.

9. It's hung on my wall for over 25 years and I still get a thrill each time I see it. It's not the most "valuable" thing in my collection, but there's nothing I "value" more than this. With the inspired design, great color, realistic images and historical significance, this is about as good as it gets.

10. One other observation: The "Free Large Photographic Pictures" reference at the bottom of the poster refers to a mailaway=2 0offer also described on the wrappers. If you sent 50 wrappers to Goudey, you could get one of eight 9" x 5 1/2" prints of selected athletes (DEMPSEY, RUTH, SARAZEN, TILDEN, LONDOS, GRANGE, WEISSMULLER and MORENZ). I have never seen any of these...would love to see them!


end of email correspondence


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