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Lot # 442 (of 1560)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1920 Peggy Popcorn Co. #1 Joe Dugan - Previously Undiscovered!

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,644

Graded VG 40 by SGC. Excellent appearance, downgraded due to some very light creasing barely visible upon close inspection on the reverse. When we note "Previously Undiscovered" in the headline, we are not just referring to Joe Dugan's card. We are referring to the entire 1920 Peggy Popcorn set! Presented is the only example known of Joe Dugan, and one of only six Peggy Popcorn Company cards known to exist. The fact that Joe Dugan is card #1, which is usually a condition rarity for any vintage card set, is an amusing aside for a card that is literally a one-of-a-kind rarity, from a recently discovered set from which only six surviving cards in total are known to exist. This set, which features Major League players and was issued in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) in 1920, had remained undocumented and completely unknown to the organized collecting world until six cards were discovered at the Sport Card & Memorabilia Expo in Toronto in May 2008. The area in which they were issued no doubt has played a role in their being unknown all these years, but these cards would obviously have been great rarities if issued anywhere. It is interesting to note that many card issues featuring major leaguers were issued in Canada in the 1920s, including 1922 V61 Neilson's Chocolates, 1923 V117 Maple Crispettes, 1925 Holland Creameries, and 1927 FC59 Honey Boy Ice Cream, among others. There was obviously great interest in Major League baseball in Canada at this time, and many card sets featuring major leaguers were issued in Canada throughout the decade.

When we were first contacted about the possibility of featuring a Peggy Popcorn card example, we were naturally excited because we have a great interest in documenting both great rarities and new discoveries in the card collecting field. We had no idea what the card might look like because we had never seen one before. When it arrived, all we could say was "Wow!" This is a fascinating card and an extremely substantial set! Of special note is the fact that the back of the card presents a premium offer by the Peggy Popcorn Company. A complete set of twenty baseball players could be redeemed for a ‘fountain pen, eversharp pencil, ball, bat or cap’. This is of great significance as the Peggy Popcorn set is one of the earliest baseball card sets known that offered a prize for redeeming the complete set . It is fascinating to note (and probably not a coincidence) that two other 1920s baseball card sets known to utilize this marketing strategy were also Canadian issues: the 1923 Maple Crispette set and the 1925 Holland Creameries set. The complete set prize-redemption marketing strategy was copied by a number of card manufacturers in the 1920s and early 1930s, and if it were possible to trace the origin of this idea for the Maple Crispette Company (of Monteal) or Holland Creameries (also of Winnipeg), it is possible that the trail would lead directly to this set issued by the Peggy Popcorn Company in 1920. The complete set prize-redemption strategy is especially noteworthy to card collectors in that it is responsible for several of the greatest rarities in the baseball card field, as manufacturers always seemed to make one card almost impossible to obtain for youngsters, to keep them from completing sets and therefore to ensure that the company did not have to give out too many valuable prizes. When your product costs a penny a pack, you don't want to be giving out too many $5 gloves as prizes! Extreme rarities resulting from this practice include the 1923 Maple Crispette Casey Stengel, R300 George C. Miller Ivy Andrews, and R328 U.S. Caramel "Lindy" Lindstrom. The Peggy Popcorn Company set is one of the earliest sets known to utilize this prize redemption strategy.

The following is a complete list of all six known ‘Peggy Popcorn’ series cards: #1 Joe Dugan, #2 Harry Heilmann, #3 Chick Gandil, #5 Kid Gleason, #7 Babe Ruth, and #16 Dazzy Vance. The back of each card presents the premium offer. The teams on which the players appear allow for a precise dating of the set to 1920. All of the cards are printed in black on a tan stock and the images are all either portraits or head-shots, except the Vance which features an ‘in action’ pose.

Significant discoveries of previously unknown vintage card sets of any type are extremely rare. We have been told that the other five cards are in an extremely advanced collection and there are no plans for any of those five cards to be available. The offered example may be the only sample card from this extraordinary set we will ever see, let alone auction! Few sample cards from traditional baseball card sets can approach the extreme rarity of the Peggy Popcorn set. The only baseball card set that comes to mind is 1922 T231 Fan Cigarettes, of which only two samples are known. It is a privilege to present this ultimate rarity, card #1 Joe Dugan from the 1920 Peggy Popcorn card series, and in the process to document (for the first and possibly only time ever in an REA catalog) the existence of the 1920 Peggy Popcorn card set. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).

SOLD FOR $2,644

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