1933 Delong Baseball Cards
Combining a memorable design with a large number of superstars, 1933 Delong Baseball was a home run of a baseball card set. Unfortunately it was the only one the company ever issued. Competing head-to-head with the first Goudey release the same year, the colorful tandem gave a palate pleasing array of choices for young collectors. Designated in the American Card Catalog as R333, the Delongs are now the rarest and most revered gum sets of the 1930's.
The cards measure 1 15/16” x 2 15/16”, which is slightly smaller than today's standard baseball card, but they were taller than most 1930s gum sets. Not only did they stand out physically, the design featured a black and white action photo of the player, die-cut against a colorful back drop. Furthermore, the positioning of the player in the card's foreground and then placed inside a surrounding miniature ballpark gave the illusion that the player was larger than life. Many collectors consider this one of the most attractive sets of the era. Most cards are vertically oriented, but two players (Pepper Martin and Lefty Grove) are featured horizontally, which make their cards seem even more panoramic.
Card backs feature a playing tip by Boston-area sportswriter Austen Lake, in addition to a card number, some brief statistics and an ad for Delong Gum. A very small set by today's standards, at just twenty-four (24) total cards, what makes the set even more unique is that of the twenty-four players on the checklist, fifteen (15) of them would go on to become Hall of Fame members. As a result, the cards are very attractive to collectors. The biggest star included on the checklist is, by far, Lou Gehrig, whose card accounts for as much as half of the set's total value. Joining him on the checklist are such greats as Jimmie Foxx, Kiki Cuyler, and Pie Traynor to name a few. One might think that with just twenty-four (24) cards, it would be a relatively simple set to complete. You'd be wrong. Goudey clearly won the game battle that year and as a result are much easier to find in comparison, even to this day. Finding cards in any condition is difficult, let alone cards displaying collectible condition higher than a grade of 5. As an example, Lou Gehrig in a PSA 8 has sold for as high $40,000.
As is often the case with popular early tobacco, gum and caramel issues whose original versions are much too pricey for most collectors, a reprint set is available and can serve as a nice representation. While obviously not holding any substantial monetary value from a collectibles standpoint, adding one to your collection won't break the bank and may provide the only way of actually holding anything resembling an authentic issue.
Key 1933 Delong Baseball Cards:
1933 Delong Baseball Card Checklist
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