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1938 Switzer's R17-2 Giant Bubble Gum Box
Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $1,175
Display box for Switzer’s Giant Bubble Gum, issued by the Switzer Yellow Jacket Company of St. Louis, Missouri, containing ninety-seven wrapped pieces of gum (out of an original 100), plus seventy-one different R17-2 Army Air Corps Insignia cards. The inclusion of the Army Air Corps Insignia cards in this box is significant, as it contradicts earlier-held beliefs regarding their method of distribution. As noted by Christopher Benjamin, author of The Sport Americana Price Guide to the Non-Sports Cards 1930-1960, Switzer’s issued two varieties of Army Air Corps Insignia cards. The first, designated as Type 1 (R17-1), were package-design cards available only on boxes of Switzer’s Licorice Cigarettes and had to be cut out by customers. After customers had collected fifteen of the Type 1 cards, they could be mailed in and redeemed for a full set of 100 cards printed in four colors. Those four-color cards, designated as Type 2 (R17-2), are the cards offered here that are included in this original Switzer's box. Benjamin believed that the Type 2 cards were only available as a complete set by mail and further states that “The ‘Switzer’s Giant Bubble Gum’ advertised on the front of Type 2 cards is mere advertising and has no direct relationship with this set.” As we see here, that is not the case! The discovery of this box clearly indicates that Type 2 cards were also issued as in-store premiums and were directly related to Switzer’s Giant Bubble Gum line. There is no doubt that one card was given to the buyer by the retailer with each piece of gum purchased. Seventy-one of the 100 numbered cards are included here. Missing the following card numbers for completion: 1, 3, 6, 8, 11, 13, 16, 21, 26, 28, 31, 33, 36, 41, 46, 51, 53, 56, 58, 61, 66, 71, 76, 78, 81, 83, 86, 91, and 96. The box (8.25 x 10 x 3 inches) has numerous imperfections (including tears, and splits along the seams) but still has tremendous display value. The black-ink notation “Rec’d 6/17/38” is written on a side flap of the lid. The top of the box features an illustration of a large character (a "giant" holding a club) and a small character blowing a bubble. This same illustration in full color appears on each gum wrapper. The cards are in Excellent to Mint condition overall, with the exception of card number 2 (moderate toning). The individually wrapped pieces of Switzer's Giant Bubble Gum remain in their original issued state. Reserve $400. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,175
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