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Old 08-14-2018, 08:35 AM
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Default 1935 National Chicle: Explained?

It is obvious that these football cards, produced by the same company that did Diamond Stars and Sky Birds are extremely rare. I am familiar with how/why some of the the 50s Topps/Bowman cards became scarce, but not the entire set of National Chicle.

I was wondering if anyone here knows much about how the Chicles were printed, how the sheets were run, numer of print runs, etc.? Was there just only a few months they ran printing? Is there just a perfect combination of desirability and scarcity that make these cards so rare? I scoured the last 6 or 7 national conventions, and these cards ard pesky to find, and if there are any found, most dealers wont budge on asking price, rightfully so I suppose? Any thoughts are appreciated, as Ive hit a dead-end in my research. Thanks!


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  #2  
Old 08-14-2018, 10:23 AM
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The best article I've read on the Chicles from a collecting perspective is Doug Spanning's article in Gridiron Greats, Vol. 8, Issue No. 25, 2009. It can be purchased via back order which is what I did since I wasn't a subscriber back then. Speaking of GG, I believe it was John Spano who did a 3-part series focused on player bios (this was more of a pro football history approach, but of course mentioned aspects of the set), and finally Jeff did a Chicle a Day thread:

Chicle-a-day

I still reference all of these resources to this day.

I can only speak to mid-grade collecting and I'm bad with dates, but around 4-6 years ago, I was picking them off in eBay auctions rather easily and building my set that way, but I noticed something odd that started a couple years ago. Auction prices realized started declining - not dramatically, but 10 dollars or so i.e. a nice PSA 4 low number may only hit around 60 in an auction rather than 70-80 just as an example. The response seemed to be no more auctions. Now I mostly just see BINs on eBay and having watched the auctions closely for several years, I rarely see a card at a BIN price that's tempting.

In terms of your specific questions on rarity i.e. ratio of low numbered cards to high number - 4:1???, print runs etc. Some of those questions I believe are unknowns, but the guys at MSB sports cards/BST auctions post here sometimes and they have some good data available and also post some chicles for sale - I think 4 or 5 of mine are from them.

One interesting thing I think Doug helped uncover is that it was probably believed the first 24 cards were issued and then the rarer group of 12 high numbers, but it actually looks like all 36 were printed in that second run (a reprinting of the first 24) - the details are in the article. And everyone always asks why there weren't more given what it says on the backs and the responses usually vary, but some think the cards simply weren't popular enough. Personally, given the number of players in the NFL, I suspect the number on the back was just an error. Had things been going well, I could see them issuing another 12 or something, but I don't think they had the knowledge to issue 200+ cards as a letter sold at auction recently showing they were relying on the teams to provide info and photos of their players.

When I started the set, Jeff was a big help answering my questions and posts often, so maybe he'll jump in too.

Hope this helps!

Last edited by TanksAndSpartans; 08-14-2018 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 08-14-2018, 01:10 PM
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John, this is great stuff, thank you.


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Old 08-15-2018, 11:49 AM
jefferyepayne jefferyepayne is offline
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One of my favorite subjects!

First, I think the ratio of cards 1-24 as compared to cards 25-36 is estimated at around 3 to 1. The excellent research Doug Spanning, Brent Bucher, John Spano and others have done suggests there was a first printing of cards 1-24 and then a second printing of cards 1-36.

It is likely the Chicle set was printed in 12 card sheets. There are uncut sheets out there for the 1934 Sky Birds and 1933 Daredevils sets also produced by National Chicle, and both uncut sheets are 12 cards in size.



I can understand why you would think that the number on the back is an error, John. It's soooo far away from what they actually produced that it seems preposterous. I personally don't think it was an error at all. I think they were just overly ambitious and perhaps had already printed the first 24 cards that said they were producing 240 cards before realizing how difficult it was going to be to make this goal.

Note that this isn't the first time National Chicle under or over estimated the cards they would produce. I believe some of the backs of the Sky Birds cards say the set includes 48 cards. At some point they realized they were popular enough to print more so they started printing additional cards that said 144 cards were in the set and produced new cards. In the end they only printed 108 cards so didn't make this goal either! All of this, to me, is evidence that National Chicle wasn't very good at predicting their set sizes and probably screwed it up for their football set too. I can see them deciding to just go with the goal number and selling toward that, filling out the set as demand grew.

Some will argue that there weren't enough NFL players for National Chicle to produce at set of 240 cards. That's not exactly true. There were 9 NFL teams with a maximum roster size of 25. However, it was common for more than 24 players to play for a team during the year. Knowing this, perhaps National Chicle figured they would add new cards for replacement players added later in the year as they had a history of printing cards on demand. Also, the letter from National Chicle to the Eagles that was up for sale recently states that they planned to create colorized cards of each team card too. Also, with the inclusion of Knute Rockne, they were probably planning to include some other tribute cards and perhaps even some college stars if they needed to round out the set. The fact that they produced a card and a premium of Stan Kostka makes me believe they were planning to create cards for all of the players in the premium set as well as the coaches. They just ran out of money to do so. All of this makes getting to 240 cards possible, just not very realistic.

I was fortunate to pick up the National Chicle letter. The tone of this letter doesn't sound like a company looking to produce 36 cards. They were eagerly awaiting the 11 cards the Eagles had promised and reminded them that they wanted team and action images too.



jeff

Last edited by jefferyepayne; 08-15-2018 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 08-15-2018, 01:44 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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That's all plausible, but I have doubts the sheet was only 12 cards. That's a small sheet to manage any sizeable production with.
The proof sheet being 12 cards is pretty much normal, a full sheet would have more than one block of 12 cards. Of course, they could have easily done a sheet with that same block of 12 cards repeated a few times.

There are enough similarities between all the early 30's sets, and so much in the way of employees having worked for other companies, that I think the actual printer did all of them. The companies were all in the Boston area, so it's not a stretch that someone moving from one company to another would use a familiar supplier.


Is the name of the printing company known?
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:59 PM
jefferyepayne jefferyepayne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve B View Post
That's all plausible, but I have doubts the sheet was only 12 cards. That's a small sheet to manage any sizeable production with.
The proof sheet being 12 cards is pretty much normal, a full sheet would have more than one block of 12 cards. Of course, they could have easily done a sheet with that same block of 12 cards repeated a few times.

There are enough similarities between all the early 30's sets, and so much in the way of employees having worked for other companies, that I think the actual printer did all of them. The companies were all in the Boston area, so it's not a stretch that someone moving from one company to another would use a familiar supplier.


Is the name of the printing company known?
That is a very good point, Steve. Just because the proof sheet is 12 cards doesn't really say anything about the size of the sheet. My bad on that one.

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Old 08-16-2018, 09:51 AM
steve B steve B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefferyepayne View Post
That is a very good point, Steve. Just because the proof sheet is 12 cards doesn't really say anything about the size of the sheet. My bad on that one.

jeff


Maybe not so bad. Going off the pop report and fudging a bit (10% survival rate 50% grading rate.) gets me to around 11-12000 of each card. At that production level, and 12 card sheets it would only require 4000 of each sheet. Even double or triple would be sort of reasonable. Triple would push total production out to around 400,000 cards.


It gets pretty complicated if the numbers get bigger.
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Old 08-16-2018, 09:49 PM
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One of the things I always wondered about was the finds of unopened packs mentioned on the PSA website. The only unopened pack I ever saw was auctioned off in a GAI holder. The board pretty quickly figured out the card was Glenn Presnell and it was also mentioned that with the number of wrappers out there unopened packs could be faked. Here's the article: psa-chicle-article

I also mentioned to Wes, my favorite GG issue can be found by scrolling to the bottom of this page: Issue-25

Last edited by TanksAndSpartans; 08-16-2018 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 08-19-2018, 01:51 PM
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I am a huge fan of this set too. I am working on the first 24 and I think I have 15 now. I have also had the experience where the buy it now prices are way too high to tempt me, but every so often I try to win an auction when they come up. I have some graded and some ungraded. In graded I look for nice 2s and 3s. Next month I was planning to post on Net54 to see if I can acquire any of the cards that I need.

Has anyone found any reasonably priced sources for these outside of ebay? I try to stay in the $35-65 range, to stay within my card budget.
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Old 08-24-2018, 10:58 AM
tuckr1 tuckr1 is offline
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Default 1935 chicle Box

I have never seen or heard of a box, not even a picture, anyone got a box or at least a pic??
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