CSG Certifies 45 Rare 1930s Goudey Baseball Cards
Posted on 2/1/2023
Certified Sports Guaranty® (CSG®) recently had the pleasure of authenticating and grading 45 rarities from the 1930s that date back to the first-ever bubble gum baseball card packs. These remarkable cards from Goudey’s 1933 and 1934 Big League Gum sets became the hobby standard after their tobacco card predecessors, with the two series being some of the most sought-after sets ever made.
The 1933 Goudey set is the first of its kind and features several Hall of Famers, including multiple New York Yankees legends like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. As always, the Ruth cards are highly desirable to collectors, and this set includes four different portrayals of "The Great Bambino" — #53, #144, #149 and #181. The 1933 Goudey #53 Babe Ruth graded CSG 4.5, also known as the "Yellow Ruth," is the rarest of the bunch.
As for scarcity, the Yellow Ruth is followed by the 1933 Goudey #149 Babe Ruth graded CSG 5, which is also known as the "Red Ruth." This card features the exact same portrait of Ruth swinging a bat, except it has a red background instead of yellow.
The third CSG-certified card of "The Sultan of Swat" is the 1933 Goudey #144 Babe Ruth graded CSG 4.5. This one is known as the "Full Body Ruth," which has a full-body portrait of the slugger compared to the previous two cards. The #144 was double printed, so more copies are available on the market in comparison to the others. However, the #144 is tougher to track down in higher grades than the #181, which is known as the "Green Ruth."
Introducing the standard framework for modern sports cards, Goudey’s 1933 Big League Gum set included the first issued baseball cards to be slightly larger at 2 3/8 x 2 7/8 inches, and a thicker cardstock was used compared to previous tobacco cards. They also stood out compared to previous sets because of their vibrant colors with illustrations of the MLB players. The set contained 239 cards, with a late addition of the #106 Napoléon Lajoie, which became the 240th entry due to popular demand.
In addition to the 1933 Goudey cards, some cards from the 1934 Goudey set were submitted as well. The 1934 set picked up where the 1933 series left off, utilizing the same larger size, thicker cardstock and bright illustrations of MLB stars. The 1934 Goudey Big League Gum set contains only 96 cards, with the lower-numbered cards in the set highlighting Yankees icon Lou Gehrig: a small image of the slugger on a blue strip at the bottom of each card contains the words "Lou Gehrig says…"
Unlike the 1933 set, Gehrig is the only MLB star to receive multiple issued cards within the series — #37 and #61. Both highly coveted Gehrig portrayals were among the 45 recent Goudey submissions, with the 1934 Goudey #61 Lou Gehrig graded CSG 6 being the superior of the pair.
Other highlights from the 1933 and 1934 Goudey Sets recently certified by CSG are:
- a 1933 Goudey #92 Lou Gehrig graded CSG 2.5
- a 1933 Goudey #154 Jimmy Foxx graded CSG 4
- a 1933 Goudey #158 Moe Berg graded CSG 5.5
- a 1933 Goudey #160 Lou Gehrig graded CSG 3.5
- a 1933 Goudey #181 Babe Ruth graded CSG 4.5
- a 1933 Goudey #207 Mel Ott graded CSG 3.5
- a 1934 Goudey #6 Dizzy Dean graded CSG 5
- a 1934 Goudey #37 Lou Gehrig graded CSG 3.5
- a 1934 Goudey #62 Hank Greenberg graded CSG 5
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