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Famous Athletes Series

Added to the Website!


Remember these? The Famous Athletes series marked the beginning. Inserted into colorful bags of potato chips and caramel corn, the first series of seventy-four cards appeared on Midwestern grocery shelves in 2005. Three cards came in a silver foil wrapping printed with an image of Frank Baker. Subjects included boxers, Negro and Japanese baseball players along with the barnstorming Benton Harbor House of David squad-very unusual for the time. A scratch-off back enabled consumers to win prizes. Also notable is the fact that the artwork for every card had been hand painted; it took two years to paint the series and was the largest hand painted series done for the hobby in several decades.

Further series were added over the coming years but until now a checklist has been unavailable. We’ve finally gotten around to it and you can see the checklist with photos of each of the cards at our website here. You’ll simply need to sign into your free account. It’s easy to keep track of which cards that you own and you can buy, sell or trade for others on the Helmar Marketplace. Visit us often! Charles

Visit our website here. And don’t forget our Tuesday night auctions here!

About Charles

This blog is about vintage and hand-made baseball cards, art, brewing and cigars, history and anything interesting that I think should be passed along. Come often, you are welcome!

Discussion

7 thoughts on “Added to the Website!

  1. The greatest challenge I remember with the first “Famous Athletes” series was identifying Sy Gragg. Who the heck was Sy Gragg? He didn’t show up on any list of players, major league OR minor league, at baseball-reference.com, and for years I remained perplexed.

    Finally, I had one of those “light bulb goes on” moments, when I realized that Sy Gragg was actually Sylveanus “Vean” Gregg, a star pitcher with Cleveland for a few years in the early 1910s, before playing a couple of seasons with Boston at the end of his career.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Van Nightingale | April 1, 2019, 3:39 pm
  2. Oh, I remember them well, the foundation for everything that’s come since. Thanks for adding this extensive checklist with images.

    A few things, though . . .

    a) There’s one card missing from the fourth series. There were actually two Lou Gehrig cards in the series, making for a total of 108 cards, rather than the 107 listed. The other Gehrig was a full body shot of him batting, with a brilliant orange/golden sky in the background.

    b) The numbers on the checklist are a little confusing for the second- and third-series cards, each of which actually had its own number (you can see them on the image of the backs of the cards), as opposed to the unnumbered first and fourth series. Can’t really figure out why you did it the way you did.

    c) And what of the very rare fifth series? The Colgan Chips series? It was 36 cards, very similar to the fourth series but with an off-white border rather than a dark cream border. Most of the art was the same as used in the fourth series, but cropped differently or with different backgrounds for the same portrait.And each card had the little triangular Colgan Chip promo in the bottom right of the image, and a Colgan Chip advertisement on the back, similar to the alternate versions of the Helmar T-206 card sold each Tuesday. I don’t know in what form it was issued (I know I had to pay a small fortune for my set when I happened across one for sale on eBay several years ago), but it DOES exist, and hopefully you can add it to the checklist.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Van Nightingale | April 1, 2019, 3:01 pm
    • a) I think that I’ve found the second Gehrig card. I’ll add him to the checklist but he might have to go at the end. We’ll see. b) It seemed impossible to figure out the card numbering as I didn’t have physical cards in most cases. c) Good grief, I forgot all about that fifth series. I should have images of the cards and will add them to the list sometime in late May.THANK YOU for the information. Charles

      Like

      Posted by Charles | April 1, 2019, 7:31 pm
  3. Boy, do I remember eating many, many, many bags of potato chips! The chips were good, the cards were GREAT! I had boxes shipped to So. Cal and these cases always included freebies that included Bottle Caps, Posters, etc…..My only complaint was I believe the cards were a little too thick, but the variety of old time players, negro league players and boxers was very, very cool. Many of these cards introduced me to players that I had never even heard of, so there was a learning aspect added to the collecting process. Fun times.
    Mike Markov
    Riverside, CA

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Michael Markov | March 29, 2019, 4:26 pm
    • I agree. (no complants though). I came to the party too late. I learned of Helmar about 4 yrs ago. I had to have all the magazines and cards. I’m still working on this set. I only wished I could have had some of the chips and caramel corn. But I do have a sample of each package. Glad to have a completed check listing to keep working on the complete set. Keep up the great work, I enjoy the Tuesday auctions and the online updates/email reminders. Now if only (my wish list) Charles would create a card for my hometown Caney Kansas (only pro baseball player) Charles (Dusty) Rhodes – St Louis Cardinals from the turn of the 20th century.

      Cheers!

      bc

      Liked by 1 person

      Posted by gary carlile | March 29, 2019, 6:05 pm
    • Wow! While you were munching away in Riverside, I was just down the freeway in Orange with my own bags of snacks. I had the same experience: intrigued by the cards enough to order a case of potato chips and a case of caramel corn. The snack food was outstanding, more so that I would have expected, but most of all, I loved the experience of pulling out those little grease-covered foil packs to see what players I got. The distribution was horrible; I only got about half of the 74 first-series Famous Athletes, and ended up with something like 30 Hughie Jennings cards . . but it didn’t deter me from seeking a complete set on eBay. Loved the concept, loved the cards.

      I had the same experience of Helmar’s generosity to people who ordered cases of snacks. Each of my orders was accompanied by one of the gorgeous silks Helmar was making back in the day.

      Liked by 1 person

      Posted by Van Nightingale | April 1, 2019, 2:44 pm

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