|Card #245 - Frank Pytlak||Card #276 - Zeke Bonura|
Before "retro" was even a cool concept, Goudey went retro in 1938. Following a couple of lesser-quality sets and a year without producing a major baseball card set in favor of promoting premium cards, Goudey came up with another classic in 1938. Because of its design, this issue is sometimes referred to by collectors as the "Heads Up" set. Possibly trying to re-establish some of its lost glory, Goudey even began numbering the cards in this set at #241, right where its 1933 set left off.
1938 Goudey is basically two parallel sets. The first 24 cards feature an artist-colored "head" of a player, but the rest of his body is drawn as a cartoon and set against a solid background. A color strip runs along the card bottom and shows the player's name and team. A thin line the same color as the strip forms a box around the player and a whitish border (the same color as the background) surrounds the entire card. The last 24 cards in the set are the same as the first 24 (including the player photo) and in the same order, but cartoons and comments have been added to the background behind the player's caricature.
Another clue that Goudey was trying to link this set with its first and most sought-after set is that the card backs of the 1938 set are almost identical to the ones found on 1933 Goudeys. The only differences are that the player's 1937 performance is shown as statistics listed below the short written summary. Another change is the number of cards claimed in the ad for Goudey's Big League chewing gum. The first 24 cards mention 288 cards in the set, while the cartoon-added cards state that it is part of a 312 card set. An important thing to know about the backs: they are printed in green ink, not black or blue.
An interesting thing appears on Ernie Lombardi's non-"cartoon" card (#246). The card has a black baseball added beside hie team name (Reds). The baseball doesn't appear on his second series card (#270). A partial printing sheet that found its way into the hobby shed some light on Lombardi's baseball; when the cards were first printed, they stated he was playing for the Red Sox and the baseballs were strategically placed to correct the error.
The set has proven to be somewhat scarce, holding the highest value attached to any Goudey commons. Cards featuring the extra drawings and comments on the front are considered slightly harder to find than the ones showing a solid background, though some set collectors dispute that. The key cards are of Joe DiMaggio and Bob Feller. Though sometimes called "rookie" cards for these legends, they really aren't because both appeared on cards issued before this set.
For such a small set, there are some issues that may complicate putting together a complete set from scratch. First -- like 1933 and '34 Goudey -- there are a lot of reprints and fakes floating around. What complicates matters is that some of the reprinted cards are more than 30 years old themselves and exhibit signs of honest aging. Fortunately, collectors who've handled a few authentic '38 Goudeys can spot fakes quickly. By looking at the border (which should be the same color as the packground behind the player) and the ink on the back of the card (green), most phony cards can be identified. The second issue is alteration: many high-grade 1938 Goudeys have been bleached or trimmed. The third problem is its limited supply in the face of its popularity. This tends to be a set where cards often sell above "book value."
|Card #282 - Bobby Doerr (Back)|
241. Charlie Gehringer 242. Ervin Fox 243. Joe Kuhel 244. Frank Demaree 245. Frank Pytlak 246. Ernie Lombardi 247. Joe Vosmick 248. Dick Bartell 249. Jimmy Foxx 250. Joe DiMaggio 251. Bump Hadley 252. Zeke Bonura 253. Hank Greenberg 254. Van Lingle Mungo 255. Julius Solters 256. Vernon Kennedy 257. Al Lopez 258. Bobby Doerr 259. Bill Werber 260. Rudy York 261. Rip Radcliff 262. Joe Ducky Medwick 263. Marvin Owen 264. Bob Feller 265. Charlie Gehringer 266. Ervin Fox 267. Joe Kuhel 268. Frank Demaree 269. Frank Pytlak 270. Ernie Lombardi 271. Joe Vosmick 272. Dick Bartell 273. Jimmy Foxx 274. Joe DiMaggio 275. Bump Hadley 276. Zeke Bonura 277. Hank Greenberg 278. Van Lingle Mungo 279. Julius Solters 280. Vernon Kennedy 281. Al Lopez 282. Bobby Doerr 283. Bill Werber 284. Rudy York 285. Rip Radcliff 286. Joe Ducky Medwick 287. Marvin Owen 288. Bob Feller