1935 to 1941 Wheaties Collection (205 Cards) Including Gehrig (3) and DiMaggio (9) - Ex-Jim Copeland and Don Steinbach Collection!

Sold For: $7,200

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 1059

Item Year: 1935

Category: 1930s to 1940s cards

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In the 1930s, Wheaties issued package-design baseball cards on the backs of its cereal boxes, which were intended to be hand-cut from the boxes by youngsters. These were difficult to collect back in the 1930s (imagine getting just one card per box of cereal), and are not a lot easier to collect today! Presented is a remarkably advanced collection that has the incredible hobby provenance of representing the combined efforts of two collecting legends: Don Steinbach and Jim Copeland. Our consignor had the great fortune of acquiring both collections, each of which was regarded as one of the finest Wheaties collections assembled, and combining them into one amazing grouping. The catalog description in 1997 for the sale of Don Steinbach's collection listed his time spent on assembling the Wheaties portion at 30 years of constant searching! Our consignor has invested $17,000 into the purchase of both collections, and while Wheaties have not appreciated as much as other cards since the 1991 Copeland sale or the 1997 Steinbach sale, we cannot help but be struck by the incredible value these cards represent. Offered is a complete set run of fourteen different sets issued by Wheaties from 1935 through 1941, plus several additional variations and singles. Many stars and Hall of Famers highlight this collection (most several times as the biggest stars appeared in multiple sets), including Lou Gehrig, Dizzy Dean, Jimmy Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Lefty Grove, Joe DiMaggio, and Bob Feller. Please note that the conditions listed in the following composite are very technical grades with an eye towards how professional grading companies would evaluate these cards. They present, almost entirely across the board, FAR BETTER than suggested by these grades. Package design cards are naturally subject to many types of flaws because of how they are issued, but all cards within this collection are bright and crisp and simply outstanding given their method of issue. This collection consists of the following:‚Äč1) 1935 - Series 1 "Fancy Frame with Script Signature" complete baseball set (27) plus two different Betty Fairfield cards: Condition is 55% Gd to Vg-Ex (including mostly Vg) and 45% lesser (including one with the fancy frame trimmed off). Keys: Cochrane (white hat, small tear at right edge, otherwise Gd+), Dean (Vg), Dean Bros. (Vg-Ex), Foxx (Vg), Gehrig (erased pencil front and back, otherwise Vg), and Grove (three pinholes, otherwise Vg). 2) 1936 - Series 3 "Fancy Frame with Printed Name and Data" complete set (12): Condition is eight Vg and four Pr to Fr. Keys: Foxx (Vg), Gehrig (Pr-Fr), and Greenberg (Vg). 3) 1936 - Series 4 "Thin Orange Border/Figures in Border" complete set (12): Condition is one Vg-Ex, seven Vg, and four Pr to Fr. Keys: Gehrig (Gd), Grove (Gd) and Ott (entire white border trimmed off, pencil on reverse). 4) 1936 - Series 5 "How to Play Winning Baseball" complete set (12) plus one variation: Condition is three Vg-Ex, six Vg, and four lesser (including a couple cut small). Keys: #4 Foxx (Fr), 7a Ott (tips vertical, Vg-Ex) and 7b Ott (tips horizontal, Vg). 5) 1937 - Series 6 "How to Star in Baseball" complete set (12): Condition is two Vg-Ex, five Vg, and five lesser (mostly Fr). Key: #11 DiMaggio (pen marked reverse, otherwise Vg+). 6) 1937 - Series 7 complete run of major league players (12): Condition is three Vg-Ex to Ex, four Vg, and five lesser. Key: #29I DiMaggio (tear on left edge has been glued, otherwise presents as Gd+). 7) 1937 - Series 7 small version (4 cards): #29B Travis, 29E Lombardi, 29F Martin, and 29H Radcliff. From scrapbook removal, all four cards exhibit an extra layer of paper glued to the backs, otherwise presenting from Fr to Vg-Ex. 8) 1937 - Series 8 "Speckled Orange, White and Blue" complete set (8): Condition is three Vg-Ex, three Gd to Vg, and two lesser. Keys: DiMaggio (Gd) and Feller (Pr). 9) 1937 - Series 9 "Color Series" complete set (16): Condition is three Vg-Ex, eight Vg, and five lesser. Keys: DiMaggio (Vg+), Feller (Fr), and Grove (Vg+). 10) 1938 - Series 10 "Biggest Thrills in Baseball" complete cardboard set (16): Condition is Vg to Vg+. Keys: #1 Feller (Vg), 11 DiMaggio (Vg), and 13 Dean (Vg). 11) 1938 - Series 10 "Biggest Thrills in Baseball" complete paper stock set (16): All cards (including DiMaggio) have extra paper and glue residue on the back from album removal, otherwise Gd to Vg+. 12) 1938 - Series 11 "Dress Clothes" complete set (8): Condition is three Vg and five Pr to Fr. Keys: Foxx (Vg) and Greenberg/Lawson (Vg). 13) 1939 - Series 12 "Personal Pointers" complete set (9): Condition is five Vg and four lesser. Keys: #5 Foxx (pencil on back, otherwise Gd) and 7 Greenberg (minor glue residue on front, otherwise Vg). 14) 1939 - Series 13 "100 Years of Baseball" complete set (8): Condition is six Vg and two Gd. 15) 1937 - Series 14 (2 cards): #29C Demaree (Vg-Ex) and 29L Vaughan (Vg-Ex). 16) 1938 - Series 15 (2 cards): Bonura (Fr) and Vaughan (cut small, Pr). 17) 1940 "Champ of the USA" complete set (13) plus five variations: Condition is ten Vg and eight Pr to Fr (including six with hole punches for binder storage). Keys: #2a DiMaggio/Greenberg (tear on left edge has been glued, otherwise presents as Gd) and 2b DiMaggio/Ott (two punch holes, otherwise Gd). Missing only variations #6c and 8a for completion of a master set. 18) 1941 "Champs of the USA" complete set (8): Condition is three Gd and five lesser (due to hole punches for binder storage). Key: #17 DiMaggio/Nelson (two hole punches, otherwise Gd+). Wheaties Cereal box panels are among the most beautiful, interesting, and substantial cards of the era and represent one of the best values of all cards from the 1930s. The fact that these had to be hand-cut from cereal boxes (and therefore tend not to receive numerical grades from grading companies) and the fact that they are large cards make many modern graded card collectors shy away from Wheaties, but these cards have always been held in high esteem by advanced collectors and by any measure they are one of the classic issues of the 1930s. This is a very clean and extremely impressive collection of these unusual, scarce, and underrated Wheaties Cereal package design cards. Total: 205 Wheaties panels representing 18 different series.


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