Friday, April 30, 2010

1933 Sport Kings Basketball #5, Ed Wachter

Most vintage collectors know Goudey Gum's seminal 1933 baseball set. Less regarded, but arguably more ground-breaking, is today's 48-card multi-sport set, whose #5 features one of basketball's earliest pros, Ed Wachter.

Card front
Of course, my card looks more like pirate Ed Wachter, yarrrrr! (I should make an eye-patch version.) My favorite design element is the silhouetted players at the foot of each card. I appreciate that Sport Kings were resurrected in recent years to honor multi-sport stars as inserts in otherwise single-sport issues.
Modern take on Sport Kings design
The Sport Kings set does include 3 baseball players, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Carl Hubbell. A wide variety of sports make up the others, including another "Babe," lady golfer Didrickson, its only female athlete. Jim Thorpe appears as a football player, along with gridiron legends like Knute Rockne and Red Grange.

Card back
30-year player and coach Wachter apparently preceded George Mikan (and later Bill Russell) as his generation's preeminent center. I'd never heard his name prior to receiving this #5 and Ed's Wikipedia page (as of writing) is shorter than the card text. Seems a shame, given his apparent stature!

Read a more detailed Sport Kings profile at

Value: A friend sent this #5 gratis, which is a pretty sweet gift. Low-grade Wachter cards run $10 to $20, depending on how close to a pirate Ed looks. Yarrrrr!

Fake / reprints: There are definitely full set and star card reprints out there. I doubt anyone did one of Wachter specifically, but it's possible someone faked the complete run. As always, be careful when buying pre-war cards and know your dealer!

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