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1948 Blony Bubble Gum "Roger the Rookie Dodger" Complete Set (10) - "The Long Lost Bowman Issue!"

  • Sold For: $1,185
  • Year: 1948
  • Auction: 2014 Spring
  • Lot #: 663
  • Auction Category: Postwar Baseball - 1950s Cards

Presented is a remarkable (and until now completely unknown) complete set of ten wrappers from a 1948 Blony Bubble Gum series entitled "Roger the Rookie Dodger." This set features baseball lessons presented by the 1948 Brooklyn Dodgers spring-training staff and Manager Leo Durocher presented in "comic book form" printed directly on the wrappers. As the headline for this lot suggests, this is a magnificent long-lost Bowman issue. Blony Bubble Gum was the primary brand of gum used by Bowman with their early trading cards, similar to the Bazooka brand utilized by Topps (interestingly, for two decades after it purchased Bowman in 1956, Topps continued to use Blony and Bazooka simultaneously). We have known about this very set for decades (we handled the set many years ago) but it has never been documented in books (including The Standard Catalog ) let alone checklisted, and we can find no record of the set having actually been issued. The idea that the set was never issued is consistent both with its extreme rarity and with the fact that these large wax wrappers (each are 7 x 12 inches) are perfectly flat "proof" wrappers that have obviously never been wrapped around gum as intended.

This remarkable complete set has an equally remarkable provenance (and one that explains its unissued proof state): This set originated many years ago directly from the personal archives of legendary Bowman executive George Moll. The practice of preserving "proof" examples by companies such as Topps, Bowman, and Goudey is directly responsible for the survival of some of the rarest and greatest uncirculated material that exists today. This is the only "proof" set of these wax wrappers that we have ever seen. (We have a recollection of seeing a single non-"proof" example years ago that is out there somewhere and which also long ago originated from the George Moll archives.) As far as we know, this auction catalog listing will be the first and only reference to this series or issue.

The wrappers were designed to fold around a long stick of bubble gum. They are illustrated with bright and colorful comics as a means to attract the attention of youngsters. The offered examples have never been folded and remain as bright and crisp as the day they came off the Bowman production line. Each wrapper measures approximately 7 x 12 inches and bears advertising for King Size Blony Bubble Gum in two bright blue, red, or yellow panels at the top. The comic panels below are dedicated to the comically illustrated baseball lessons that members of the 1948 Brooklyn Dodgers spring training staff, including Manager Leo Durocher, Ray Blades, Clyde Sukeforth, and Jake Pitler, offer the main character, Roger the Rookie Dodger. Each of the wrappers features the advertising tagline "Watch for exciting adventures and sport stories on King Blony wrappers!" and is designated as "Series A." Promised on another part of the wrapper is the next series, set to feature stories about the World Champion New York Yankees, which indicates that Bowman had greater plans for this issue than were ever realized. This is a fascinating, unique, and extremely attractive complete set of ten "proof" wrappers, originating from the files of Bowman and presented in ideal form, that would be a significant addition to any Brooklyn Dodgers or Bowman collection. Professionally framed and matted to dimensions of 49.5 x 33.5 inches for an extremely impressive visual display. Near Mint condition. The substantial size/weight of this item requires that there will be a shipping charge for this lot (which will vary depending upon where it is being shipped). The shipping charge will be billed separately from the auction invoice. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,185

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