Monday, September 3, 2012

Are You Ready Some Football? -- The 2012 Edition

This weekend, the 2012 NFL season begins. With that, there is no better reason to go back to showing football material here on The Vintage Sportscards blog. And here's a card from the oldest NFL set that came inside a gum pack.  

White attending the National in Baltimore...I picked up what is now my oldest Pittsburgh Steelers item...Actually, it isn't technically a Steelers item, as it predates the team's nickname:

This is a 1935 National Chicle card. It's one of four in the 36-card set that feature what were then called the Pittsburgh Pirates. National Chicle was the Cambridge, Massachusetts company that also made Diamond Stars and Batter-Ups baseball cards during the 1934-'36 timeframe. However, this set wasn't as ambitious as either of those: there was a 24-card series followed by 12 high number cards that includes a card of Bronko Nagurski that is among the highlights of a football collection.

Fortunately for me, Nagurski wasn't a Steeler, so I don't need him for my collection.

Backs are quite similar to what is found on the other National Chicle sets of the era, with a written "testimony" from a local celebrity:

The copyright line lists 240 players, but the realities of the Great Depression limited the set to 36 cards.

Warren Heller is listed as a halfback here, but he was also a quarterback for the team. He was a consensus All-American in 1932 with the University of Pittsburgh and was a Pirate (what we now call Steelers) from 1934-'36, so this was right in the middle of his pro career.

One down, three to go...but I don't see them coming my way soon. I know, I should never say never, but these have been on my wantlist for more than a decade.


  1. Great set, isn't it? I've been patiently low bidding on these on eBay off and on for a long time. One of these days I'll get lucky.

    Maybe a Rockne will fall to me for $25... maybe not.

  2. I never knew there was a companion football set to the Diamond Stars cards. Despite knowing far more about pre-war cards than I ever thought I would, I love that your blog has more to teach me as well.