When Claire handed me the box of cards her father collected nearly 90 years ago, it was like finding the buried treasure chest for this professional baseball card treasure hunter. A collection of cards from the original owner were packed into a box, labeled March of 1957, and sat there until the family allowed me to open the treasure to find hundreds of cards from the 1930's including Babe Ruth ad Lou Gehrig! I am proud to have purchased the Yonkers, NY. 1930's Name Tag Collection.
VIDEO OF OUR TRIP AND PURCHASE OF THE NAME TAG COLLECTION:
In the 1930's, Reverend Dr. Gurney Gutekunst collected both sports and non-sport cards as a young kid in Detroit. After taking up an interest in cards and collectables, the Reverend Doctor lived an incredible life. In 1942, he joined the Army, then earned his Bachelor's degree in just two and a half years from the University of Michigan, a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Cambridge, became a Senior Pastor for his Church by 1967, and raised a wonderful family. That childhood card collection always remained with him through each new phase of life. When the Reverend Doctor passed away this year at the age of 96, he bequeathed those childhood cards from the 1930's to the family. The Reverend Doctor's daughter, Claire, isn't a card collector and wasn't sure what to do with the collection. This is where we at Just Collect are here to help.
After finding our FREE APPRAISAL on Google, Claire worked with our vintage card specialist, John. After seeing the images of the collection and hearing the story, John and Claire built a rapport. We offered for Claire to SHIP the collection to our office here in New Jersey so we could evaluate the cards in-person, but understandably, Claire was apprehensive due to the size of the collection. Claire did not want to travel to our office with the collection either but she was willing to invite myself and the Just Collect team out to her beautiful home in Yonkers, NY.
TRAVLEING TO BUY COLLECTIONS - OFF TO YONKERS, NY
If you have a collection a large and valuable collection, we're willing to make arrangements to travel to you - even if that means crossing State lines! I brought the Just Collect and Vintage Breaks (our sister company) social media manager, Ken, to document the trip and the purchase so you can see first-hand the pride we take into evaluating and purchasing your collection.
When you stop by a retail sports card store, they do not have a vintage card specialist on-hand to not only authenticate and evaluate cards of players such as Babe Ruth, but they lack both the time it takes to thoroughly review your collection and the money to purchase your cards on the spot. At Just Collect, I bring 25 years of experience and have bought/sold over $50 million of vintage cards like these. Today you'll see that I'm willing to spend the time it takes to carefully review your collection, make a fair offer, and pay you instantly how YOU want to be paid. If you prefer being paid in cash, Ken also doubles as my muscle to protect the money-filled briefcase. I could write you a check, send crypto currency, use an NFT, or take you and you entire family out to the nearest Capital Grille for the finest wagyu beef steak on the menu if you choose to sell your collection.
When Ken and I arrived at Claire's home in Yonkers, NY, we were treated to seeing their family home that was built in the 1890's! The home is a historic landmark and titled Father Divine's New York Mansion. Claire's purchase of the home with her husband, Art, was even mentioned in USA Today. The family welcomed us in, and then Claire ascended from the staircase to usher us into the family's kitchen where her father's collection from the 1930's was displayed for us.
THE YONKERS, NY 1930's NAME TAG COLLECTION
There it is - the treasure chest. Sitting inside the Manning-Bowman Iron box, labeled "Cards 3/57" was The Reverend Doctor's childhood collection. As Claire and Art allowed me to look at the contents, we pulled out hundreds of vintage cards from:
The 1933 Goudey baseball set has 240 cards in full and were released at a tough time here in the US; the middle of the Great Depression. Goudey releasing the card set was a risk during a time when most anyone could barely afford a few cents on such luxury like the pack of gum these cards were distributed in. Thankfully the 1933 set was released and included the legendary Babe Ruth on not one but four different cards! Inside the box that Claire presented us included The Sultan of Swat:
This iconic Babe Ruth, card number 144 in the set, has never been shown the public until today. Since 1933, this, and every card you're about to see has belonged to the same family - just one owner over almost 90 years! The provenance is incredible; we'll be able to follow the history of the entire collection from here on out like a blockchain.
Continuing through the collection we found 1934 Goudey baseball cards. In '34, Goudey released 96 cards to a full set and while Babe Ruth didn't appear in the set, The Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig, did! Would Claire's father have held onto a Gehrig AND a Ruth? He sure did! Not only did the Reverend Doctor have a Lou Gehrig - he stashed away TWO in the box back in 1957.
If Claire's dad grew up in Detroit while collecting these Goudey cards, we're wondering if he was a fan of other teams and traded away the Detroit Tigers cards. Kids in the 1930's were not quite into playing FLIP or putting their cards into bike spokes to make their ride sound like a real motorcycle just yet like you or your parents may have done in the 1950's and 1960's.
1933 GOUDEY SPORT KINGS
As Claire and Art allowed us to evaluate the collection, Claire had asked if I ever heard of "Sport Kings." Absolutely! Also released by Goudey, there are 48 cards in the set but unlike the 1933 and 1933 baseball sets, the Sport Kings was a mixture of the best athletes from all sports.
From hockey to swimming and cycling, the Sport Kings are wonderful cards to collect if you want to take a trip back to what the Sports World was like in 1933. Bobby Jones was one of the top golfers in the world that year and hadn't won The Masters yet. Why? Well, the Masters didn't exist until 1934! In the collection you can see a couple of hockey cards like Ace Baily in the middle on the left. "Ace" is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and laced his stakes up that season in a time when only NINE teams were in the NHL; today there are 32 teams! Next to Ace you'll see another Hall of Famer but on the baseball diamond - Ty Cobb! I love this part about the collection so much - a surprise Ty Cobb card in the box.
1934-1936 BATTER UP CARDS
The 1934 to 1936 Batter Up cards total 192 cards with the first 80 cards being released in 1934, and the rest of the set were sold in both 1935 and 1936. You can see a slight difference in size, too. In 1934, the cards measured 2-3/8" by 3-1/4" but in 1935 and 1936, the cards were produced slightly shorter at 2-3/8" by 3". You can tell Claire's dad knew how to take care of his cards even as a kid in the early '30's. The Batter Up cards were designed to "pop up" - you would bend the cards at the folded line and make each card look awesome! The perfect set to entertain kids. Amazingly, Claire's dad only folded just a single of the cards! Having the foresight to keep these Batter Up cards intact as a young collector is something you'll rarely see.
SO MUCH MORE - MICKEY MOUSE, STAMPS, BUTTONS, and WORLD SERIES TICKETS!
Opening what I thought was a family photo album revealed 1936 National Chicle Fine Pens and 1936 Goudey Wide Pen Premiums. Don't confuse these sets to be just photos; they are actually cards! The backs are blank, and the front of each card offers an impeccable look back back in time when into the early days of baseball. In the back of the album were 1929 Exhibit Star Stamps featuring not just athletes but movie stars from the era like Charlie Chaplin.
Claire's father even collected and held onto non-sport cards like the the next batch of cards that we carefully from the box. Take a look at the 1935 Gum, Inc. Mickey Mouse cards at the bottom of this vintage stack; the Reverend Doctor even had card number one with Mickey and Pluto! Mickey debuted in 1928 and we bet The Reverend Doctor enjoyed seeing the cartoon shorts back then.
A kid collecting in the 1930's not only would have Mickey Mouse but other trinkets of the time like these buttons from Speed Gibson of the International Secret Police! This was a radio show (remember, we're in the 1930's where television did not exist!) that aired from January 2, 1937 to May 25, 1940 every week. Did your parents or grandparents ever tell you about a weekly radio show they used to listen to as a kid? The only show I can think of is Little Orphan Annie, and I only know of that thanks to A Christmas Story. We did not purchase the buttons but enjoyed taking a trip back in time to the 1930's to see other items a kid would have played with.
The Revered Doctor also held on to the ticket stubs and pocket schedule from games he attended to, as well. Here you can see the Tigers 1934 schedule from when he collected all of these cards in Detroit, tickets to Michigan VS. Michigan State, and what we were beyond excited to see is a pair of 1935 World Series tickets! The Tigers won the 1935 World Series over the Chicago Cubs 4 games 2 to. Claire's dad looks to have had great seats to Game 2 at Navi Field in Detroit - lower deck, reserved! The ticket cost was $5.50 - in 2021, that price is about $111. A hundred dollars for a World Series ticket in 2021 seems like a steal, but remember - this was just after The Great Depression - $5.50 was a LOT of money. In 1935, the per capita income was about $474!
THE NAME TAGS
You're probably wondering what these special card holders are that you see in a few of the photos. We have a few tips on how to safely store your card collection, so you're familiar with a Card Saver or a Top Loader. However, these "special" holders aren't actually meant for cards at all - they are name tag holders! Clair is an attorney and had a stack of holders meant for name tags. Not being a card collector, she used the name tags to protect the cards while prepping to show me the collection. We loved this so much, we couldn't help but to dub the collection "The Yonkers, NY 1930's Name Tag Collection."
ONE OWNER FOR ALMOST A CENTURY
From 1933 until 2021, this entire, gorgeous collection of vintage cards belonged to one owner. For over six decades, the collection has rested inside a box that was stored away. Since then we've had 14 different Presidents, invented the television, landed on the moon, and conjured up this crazy thing called the Internet - so much of the world has changed around us and yet this collection of cards stayed in the hands of Claire's family. Stories like this are rare, and that's why I am so proud that Claire agreed to sell Just Collect her father's childhood collection. I'll make sure that each and every card is well taken care of and goes to a good home with a collector that will appreciate each card like Claire's dad, The Reverend Doctor, did for almost a century.
After paying Claire for the collection right at her home, I made an offer for the box the cards were stored in; I had to have the treasure chest! Claire and Art decided to hold onto the box as a keepsake, though. A few days later, I even worked with Claire to give back a handful of the 1933 Goudey cards from the collection so she could place them back into that family box of heirlooms so she'll always have a few to show the kids or grandkids.
This family collection reminds me a lot of the 1914 T222 Fatima Collection from the Wilcox Hotel where I was fortunate to purchase a collection of Fatima cards stored in a family's old confectionary since 1914.
Thank you to Claire for providing this lovely review of our purchasing The Yonkers, NY 1930's Name Tag Collection:
Every collection is personal; in our case, my father passed away at 96 and left us with baseball cards that he had collected, played with and traded at ages 9 and 10 in Detroit during the early 1930's. No one in our family is a collector, so we decided to sell them and pass the cards along to others who would enjoy and appreciate them. Because the collection was relatively large and had Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig cards as highlights, Leighton agreed to come to our house in Yonkers to appraise the cards and, if we agreed, buy them. He was a pleasure to deal with, as was everyone at Just Collect. As he evaluated the cards, he explained what he was doing, how he was rating and valuing the cards. Leighton is an honest and reasonable businessman but, more than that, he genuinely cares about the personal side, the intangible value of the cards and their history. We had researched the value of the stars and gotten another appraisal of the collection, so we knew that his offer was more than fair and we were completely satisfied. We got the best price and we also felt good about the experience we had. We highly recommend Leighton and the Just Collect team.
Don't hesitate to check out our Google Reviews left by many of the great people that have considered selling collections to Just Collect.
WE ARE ALWAYS BUYING
Whether you have a family collection you've inherited like Claire's or you found your Mickey Mantle rookie card or Michael Jordan rookie card and would like to sell, we are always buying!
Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace. Check out the Just Collect buy list blog here.
OUR BUYING PHILOSOPHY
We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the last 25 years. Although Just Collect is known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage baseball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!
Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, we understand the feelings that you're going through and will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.
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