Saturday, April 16, 2011

New details on dual-sided "Bond Bread" cards

John Rumierz is a veteran card collector who has been active in the hobby since there WAS a hobby. First located in Michigan, then in Pennsylvania, John has been active, though in a decidedly low-key fashion, since the 1970s at shows, in the pages of the pioneering publications and by mail with collectors all over the country. 

In recent months John has began a thorough re-examination of his extensive collection with an eye towards determining what has yet to have been brought to the attention of the hobby as a whole. As time permits, he has been forwarding scans and data to us here for presentation in this forum and in future editions of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. 

The most recent information provided sheds some light on a variant of what the hobby knows as the "Bond Bread" issue of 1947. In reality, the New York baker was only one of several businesses that used a series of 44 baseball player cards and four boxers as promotions in the post-war era.

The genesis of the cards was a Chicago publisher, Aarco Playing Cards, that originally sold the cards in 1947 in boxed sets of 12 under the name Collectors & Traders Sports Star Subjects. The cards are black-and-white, blank-backed, 2-1/4" x 3-3/8" with rounded corners. Photos are borderless portraits or posed action shots with a facsimile autograph or script name.

That year, the N.Y. baker of Bond Bread evidently contracted with Aarco to obtain a quantity of the cards for distribution in loaves of bread. Later, for reasons unknown, square-cornered versions of half the cards in the set, printed on different card stock, were also produced.

Besides the boxed set and bread cards, much of the checklist of this set, along with at least one player that didn't appear in the original form, was used in a series of Exhibit-style larger-format cards and in a set of premium pictures in 6-5/8" x 9" format.

There was also a seldom-seen variant using the baseball/boxer pictures on one side, paired with Western movie stars on the backs. These were issued in perforated sheets. 

When the dual-sided perforated cards were first listed in the SCBC six or eight years ago, the introductory text stated, "anecdotal evidence suggests a connection with Bar Nunn shoe stores." Based on evidence forwarded by Rumierz, that now appears to be at least partially verified.

One of the cards Rumierz has shows a cowboy movie star on one side, with part of an ad on the back for Hess Shoes, which Rumierz says was a long-lived firm bases in Baltimore, Md. The ad, sadly not available in its entirety, evidently specified the number of subjects in the set, and indicated that Hollywood and Cowboy subjects were included. 

The pair of Jackie Robinson cards that Rumierz sent scans of shows that some, if not all, of the athletes could be found paired with more than one back subject. Interestingly, the cowboy actors on the cards' flip sides are usually not identified. The horseback riding subject on one of the cards is not known to me; the other back subject is James Cagney. 

The Robinson pair also shows a not insignificant size difference in the cards. Robinson, by virtue of the unperforated left and bottom sides, was evidently printed on the bottom-left corner of a sheet of unknown number. In trimming and perforating the sheet there was more picture left at the top and bottom of the card on the left. This indicates the two cards were printed at different times in different press runs.

John had offered to provide a list of the different front/back combinations he has in his collection, but since the value of these cards would be impacted most significantly by the baseball player on the front, and since collector interest in this unusual issue is minimal, it seems like trying to create a master checklist of fronts and backs would be overkill.

1 comment:

  1. So I just found 3 of these perforated cards. One being jackie Robinson with the western pic on the back. Any more info on recent days of these cards?


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