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1934 R32 Gum, Inc. "Comic Gum" Original Display Box - One of Only Two Known!
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $1,080
Presented is an extremely rare complete original display box of R32 "Comic Gum," to the best of our knowledge one of only two such boxes known to exist from this very early Gum, Inc., issue. Produced in 1934, the R32 "Comic Gum" series, along with the related R33 series, may actually hold claim to being the first collectibles ever manufactured by the company, which would become well known in collecting circles for its production of several sport and nonsport card sets, including the Play Ball baseball sets and nonsport sets dedicated to Mickey Mouse and the Lone Ranger, among others.
More than two dozen cards are arranged on every panel of the top and bottom components of the display box, which measures 8.5 x 10.5 x 2.75 inches. Each card features one of two characters, Exit and Aspirina, posing riddle-like questions to the other, with the punch line left blank except for the statement "Answer on Gum Wrapper," intended to promote the purchase of gum, which was housed inside the box and featured similarly styled answers on the inside of the wrapper. (The two characters, along with several of the riddles, would unquestionably be considered politically incorrect and racially insensitive by today's standards.) The cards pictured on the box were intended to be hand-cut by youngsters and paired with wrappers to complete the riddle. The "Comic Gum" series is an interesting one in that the Ameican Card Catalog assigned two different designations to the box cards and the wrappers (R32 and R33, respectively) "on the basis of form, but also because of a slight variation in the presentation of otherwise identical subject matter," according to Sport Americana Price Guide to the Non-Sports Cards 1930-1960, Chris Benjamin's definitive nonsport reference. To this day, few, if any, hand-cut R32 box cards have surfaced while R33 wrappers do surface from time to time. As mentioned earlier, only one other complete box is known to exist in addition to the one offered here. Benjamin's guide pictures a complete box, with gum and wrappers, from the estate of Woody Gelman, but it is not known where that box is at this time (if it is held in a private collection at this time, it would be the third example known, but it may also not have survived in the decades since the photo was taken).
While the rarity of this box is paramount to its condition, it is important to note that the box has held up extremely well over the last eighty years. It is fully intact, with all joints remaining strong and no major tearing or creasing present. As expected, it does display moderate shelf wear along the joints and the top panel, which was naturally more exposed, including toning to the paper and small areas of scuffing, which has resulted in tiny areas of paper loss (of very little consequence to the overall visual appeal, but mentioned for accuracy). The bottom component of the box is particularly bright and clean (both the bottom and side panels). This lot represents what is, perhaps, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a complete R32 display box in undisturbed and uncut form. This is a substantial offering that would make an outstanding addition to even the most advanced world-class nonsport-card collection. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,080
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