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1933   Blue Bird Grape Soda


FRONT

BACK
Year(s) Published: 1933
ACC Designation:   --
Set Name: Blue Bird Grape Soda
Card Size (inches): 3-7/8 x 5-7/8
Number of Cards in Set: 2
Est. Value (common; VG): $400



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(shown at approximately 60% of actual size)

Set Summary
  • Produced in 1933 by Blue Bird Grape Soda
  • Black and white borderless cards are unnumbered
  • Only two known cards exist--both featuring Babe Ruth
  • Ruth name and "See Other Side" is only labeling on front
  • Card back features redemption message promoting Blue Bird
  • Sponsor claims Blue Bird "More Delicious than Grape Juice"

  • This very obscure 1930's era set contains only two known cards. Both were unknown to collectors until the last decade of the twentieth century and are therefore not listed in the American Card Catalog.

    The black and white borderless cards are unnumbered. Both known cards feature Babe Ruth in very similar poses. Ruth's name is printed in white lettering in the lower left corner with the phrase "see other side" in the lower right.

    The "other side" provides a redemption message promoting Blue Bird Grape Soda. Thus, for a total of 29 bottle caps and $1.39 in cash, the grape-loving soft-drink customer could obtain a "Spalding Babe Ruth Professional Glove" made of genuine horse hide. Alternatively, a baseball could be selected for 29 bottle caps and 89 cents. The significance of the "lucky number" 29 is not explained.

    Of the two Ruth poses (see Gallery of Cards), the first card shown (labeled as card #1, batting, front view) is the most common. It is derived from the same original photograph that was also used in several other card sets of the period. These other sets include the 1933 Goudey (set R319; card numbers 53, 144, and 149), the 1934 Goudey Premiums (set R309-1) and others. Although all of these various cards are based on the same photograph, they differ noticeably in appearance because they are either cropped or colored differently, or have all or major portions of their background airbrushed out.

    A small ad card for Blue Bird Grape Soda, showing a young player, glove on hand, drinking a Blue Bird, is also ocassionally encountered by collectors (see image at right).

    An example bottle of Blue Bird Grape Soda is shown at left (I believe that it came from Frank Ward's website). However, a bottle that I got on eBay and others on eBay seem to look more of the early 1930s vintage than this. The one pictured at right has a "Pat. April 14, 1925" label embossed on the bottom and is probable of the type (or similar) design used during the period that the cards were issued.


    Needs Research:
    1) from cycleback.com
    * 1933 Blue Bird Soda Babe Ruth unknown "side view" pose variation. This auction was found on eBay in late 1999, lost in the large Baseball Memorabilia category, listed as a Spalding Babe Ruth picture. I wrote seller for a better picture of the card, front and back (only the front was shown in auction, and it was a blurry picture). I also asked a few questions, like what was written on the front/back, and what the size paper stock was like, and where did they find it? The lady from North Carolina who was selling it said it was removed from a 1930's era scrapbook, and she thought it to be an advertising photo for Spalding (the ad on back says to save Blue Bird soda caps for an offer for a Spalding ball or glove). I was familiar with the 1933 Blue Bird Soda Ruth cards, but always remembered seeing the "practice swing (Goudey #144) pose", never seeing the "side view real game swing pose" before (except on an Exhibit card of the time). I wrote back to seller and offered $50 for the card (no one had bid on it),and she accepted it happily, not thinking it was worth much at all. When I received it in mail I was happy to see it look original in every way, exactly the same card stock and size as the other pose. It did have a light glue residue on the back corners, but this was removed surprisingly easily with a damp tissue. Since then I have had the chance to compare (in person) this unknown card to a couple of the more common Blue Bird pose variations, and it matches in every way, as far as design and paper quality, only having a different Ruth photo on front. Again I wrote Bob Lemke, and was disappointed to find the 2000 catalog value only slightly more than the more common variation. I have never seen or heard of another Blue Bird with the same picture as mine, since finding this one 2+ years ago.
    IMAGES OF BLUE BIRD RUTH, back and front:
    http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/canofprimo/bbruth.jpeg
    http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/canofprimo/bbruthb.jpeg
    2)


    References:
    1) Beckett Sports Collectibles, Issue 153 (Vol. 13, No. 1, January 2004).

    See also:
    1) Chicagoland Beer History.




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