The Goudey Gum Company was an American chewing gum company started in 1919. The company was founded by Enos Gordon Goudey (1863–1946) of Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia. Formerly an employee of Beemans, he opened a factory in Boston, Massachusetts in 1919 and later in Allston. It operated there from 1924 until it closed in 1962. Goudey sold the business in 1932 but he retained an interest as a consultant. On his retirement in 1933, William Wrigley Jr. dubbed him the "penny gum king of America". Today the Goudey name is mainly associated with its collectible baseball cards which were introduced in 1933. Goudey was the first American company to issue baseball cards with each stick of gum. (They had been available with cigarettes and certain lines of candy for many years.)
Goudey baseball cards
Most of the unreleased cards, printing plates, and company archives were thrown away in the 1960s, although some were sold to collectors. Today, cards in good condition command a premium, especially those authenticated and graded by respected third-party graders. Hank Greenberg and Lou Gehrig are prominently featured in the Goudey cards of the 1930s, colorful cards with hand drawn portraits of the players. Other baseball hall of fame and interesting players depicted on Goudey gum cards from 1933 to 1941 include: Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, Bill Dickey, Carl Hubbell, Lefty Grove, Dizzy Dean, Mickey Cochrane, Charlie Gehringer, Tony Lazzeri, Mel Ott, Joe Dimaggio, Hank Greenberg, "Ducky" Joe Medwick and Moe Berg.
In 1933, Goudey produced a 240 card set, also called "Big League Chewing Gum". These cards, issued with bubble gum in each pack, were the first baseball gum cards. The 1933 Goudey set is considered one of the "Big Three" classic baseball card sets, along with the T206 and 1952 Topps sets.
One of the rarest baseball cards from a mainstream set is card #106 from the 1933 Goudey set. It was not originally issued with the set, so collectors could not complete the set from packs. In 1934, Goudey issued card #106 for the 1933 set with retired player [Napoleon Lajoie]. Collectors that sent letters to the Goudey Gum Company complaining about the lack of a #106 card received it in the mail. The 1933 Goudey #106 Napoleon Lajoie is known as one of the "Big Three" baseball cards along with two cards from the T206 set depicting Honus Wagner and Eddie Plank.
In 1934, Goudey produced a 96 card set that was endorsed by two players, Lou Gehrig and Chuck Klein. The 1934 Goudey set is sometimes called the "Lou Gehrig" set. Interestingly, there are no Babe Ruth cards in the set. The Hank Greenberg rookie card is in this set.
In 1938, Goudey produced a 48 card set, also known as the "Heads-Up" set. The cards were numbered from 241 to 288, thus looking like Goudey was trying to extend the 1933 Goudey set. The first 24 cards in the set depicts pictures of players heads attached to a cartoonish body in baseball action. The next 24 cards in the set depicts the same players and the same poses. The difference is the next 24 cards include small cartoonish characters playing baseball along with captions. Joe Dimaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg and Bob Feller are the big stars in this set.
Similar cards as the 1933 and 1934 Goudey sets were also released in Canada by the Goudey-owned World Wide Gum Co, of Granby, Quebec. They are sometimes known as Canadian Goudey sets. There were 94 and 96 cards in these sets, respectively. The 1933 World Wide Gum set was released with two different backs, one with both French and English, and the other with only English. There has not been definitive proof, but one theory is that the French-English backs were sold in Quebec and the English-only backs were sold in Ontario.
List of Goudey baseball card sets
Year of issuance, popular name and designation from The American Card Catalog:
1933 Goudey R319
1933 American R338
1933 World Wide Gum V353
1934 Goudey R320
1934 Goudey Premiums R390-1
1934 World Wide Gum V354
1935 Goudey 4-in-1 R321
1935 Goudey Premiums R390-2
1936 Goudey Wide Pens R314
1936 Goudey R322
1936 World Wide Gum V355
1938 Goudey "Heads-Up" R323
1939 Goudey Premiums R303
1939 World Wide Gum V351
1941 Goudey R324
List of Goudey non-sport sets
Year(s), name, quantity and dimensions.
1933 Boy Scouts (48) Size: 2⅛ × 3¼ in.
1933 Sea Raiders (48) Size: 2⅜ × 2⅞ in.
1933 World War Gum (96X 2⅞ in.
1933-40 Indian Gum (216) Size: 2⅜ × 2⅞ in.
1934 Big Thrill Booklets (24) Size: 2-5/16 × 2⅞ in.
1935 Majik Fold Pictures (9) Size: 5½ × 10¼ in.
1935 The Goudey Line R.R. 12 × 5 × 5 in.
1936 Auto License Plates (36) Size: 1½ × 3¼ in.
1936 History Of Aviation (10) Size: 5½" square
1937 Auto License Plates (69) Size: 1½ × 3¼ in.
1938 Auto License Plates (66) Size: 1½ × 3¼ in.
1938-39 Action Gum (96) Size: 2⅜ × 2⅞ inches
1939 Auto License Plates (30) Size: 1½ × 3¼ in.
1940 First Column Defenders (24) Size: 2½ × 3⅛ in.
1941 Sky Birds (24) Size: 2-5/16 × 2⅞ in.
1947-48 Indian Gum (96) Size: 2⅜ × 2⅞ in.
Jungle Gum (48) Size: 2⅜ × 2⅞ in.
Our Gang Gum Puzzles (25) Size: 3-11/16 × 5⅛ in.
Rainbow Radio Rascals (6) Size: 4⅜ × 5½ in.
Soldier Boys (24) Size: 2⅛ × 2⅞ in.
- M. Fogel, "The History of Goudey Gum Company", July 8, 2003.
- J. Ernest Kerr, Imprint of the Maritimes, 1959, Boston: Christopher Publishing, p. 107
- Time, "Baseball Card Investors", August 22, 1977