1933 Goudey Baseball Cards: Most Valuable (Top Picks)

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The 1933 Goudey Baseball card set is one of the hobby’s most coveted treasures.

The card design is one of the most beautiful of all pre war card sets.

Colorful renderings of some of the hobby’s most popular players, the set is anchored by not one, but four Babe Ruth cards!

Plus, oh yeah, there’s the added bonus of two Lou Gehrig cards in the set, two of the hobby’s most valuable cards

The 1933 Goudey cards are not rare (aside from the Nap Lajoie), but are tough to find in great condition.

Sports card collectors have continued to bid up the big names in the set

For investment purposes, Goudey baseball cards should remain an excellent long-term investment

Here we explore the most valuable cards in the 1933 Goudey Baseball card set. 

1933 Goudey Baseball Card Facts

The 1933 Goudey baseball cards brought about a new spin to the burgeoning baseball card market.

There had been many tobacco and candy issues released in years prior, but the 1933 Goudey cards were the first to sell a baseball card with a piece of gum.

Issued by the Goudey Gum Company of Boston, Massachusetts, the cards were larger than any of its predecessors (2 3/8" x 2 7/8").

Tobacco and early gum cards usually had narrow borders and less space on the back for player details. 

1933 Goudey cards came in one cent packs, containing one baseball card and one slab of gum.

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A 1933 Goudey Baseball wrapper

As shown on the pack wrapper above, Goudey also offered fans the chance to mail in 30 wrappers for photo cards, now known as the R309-1 Premiums.

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Fans at the time could trade in 30 1933 Goudey wrappers for one of four Goudey Premiums, such as the R309-1 Ruth shown here

The 1933 Goudey card stock was also thicker than many of its predecessors.

From the PSA website

Where tobacco and candy cards of the past, with their thin cardstock canvases, carried a delicate feel, the gum cards introduced an intriguing mode of substance; the cards were somehow sturdier, with more heft, than those that had come before

A few other interesting points about the set

1. There are (for unknown reasons) many cards in the set that do not have the red 'Big League Chewing Gum' box and text on the bottom.

Courtesy Net54: Cards 97-99, 106-114, 121-129, 142, and 190-240 are all missing the "Big League Chewing Gum

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1933 Goudey Paul Richards card

2. The 240 card set features multiple cards of star players; including four Babe Ruth, two Lou Gehrig, three Joe Cronin, and two Jimmy Foxx, cards among others. Some of the multiples use the same exact player photo and can be hard to distinguish from one another. 

3. The Goudey set also features cards of fifteen minor league players. One of the minor league players was Tris Speaker, who was retired from baseball at the time of the issue. But, Speaker was a part owner of the Kansas City Blues at the time, giving Goudey a reason for his inclusion. 

speaker-kansas-city-blues

4. The Nap Lajoie card #106 was not initially released with the set. Collectors were not happy with the omission, forcing Goudey to print the Lajoie with the 1934 Goudey set. The trading card was sent to collectors. Some say the Lajoie might have been a 'chase' card, but one author states that it might have just been a simple printing mistake.

The 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie card is the rarest card in the set.

33 goudey lajoie

5. The Goudey owned World Wide Gum of Quebec also issued a corresponding 94 card set in Canada, often referred to as the 'Canadian Goudey Set'.

While the cards are identical, the backs are different and say 'World Wide Gum'. There are back variations and some have a mix of English and French text. The cards are much scarcer than the US-issued Goudey cards.

A #80 World Wide Gum Babe Ruth back. Some back variations exist with English and French text, although this one is just English.

6. Lastly, the 1933 Goudey Ruth and Gehrig cards are among the most counterfeited cards in the hobby. We've created a guide to help distinguish between a real and fake Goudey card.

Our Top Picks - 1933 Goudey Baseball Cards

Best Overall Value:  Tris Speaker #89

Best Investment Potential:  Babe Ruth #181

Best Overall Design: Carl Hubbell #230

Most Underrated Card: Jimmy Foxx (29 and 54)

1933 Goudey Baseball Most Valuable Cards

We've narrowed down the most valuable cards in the 1933 Goudey Baseball set, sorting values from the PSA SMR Price guide, using PSA 7 (Near Mint) values

If you want to buy any of the cards listed here, realize that most of the valuable cards in the set (Ruth, Gehrig) will cost a small fortune in higher grades

You can buy commons in lower grades for about $20 per card, so outside of the big stars, putting together the set is within reason.

1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #53 

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The #53 Goudey Babe Ruth card is one of four Babe Ruth cards in the set.

The production runs for the #53, #149, and #181 Ruth Goudey cards are estimated to be about 350,000 per card.

But, it tends to carry a small premium due to a slightly lower PSA graded population. 

Here are the latest auction sales of the four PSA 2 Goudey Ruth cards. While these numbers can change like the wind, there is a premium for Goudey Ruth #53.

Babe Ruth Goudey value comparison.

1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie #106

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The 1933 Goudey Lajoie was not initially included in sets.

The 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie card is quite scarce. PSA has graded only 95 copies.

The reason for the scarcity?

Goudey for some reason didn't include the card in its production run for 1933. 

Collectors looking to finish the set were not pleased, forcing Goudey to produce the card with its 1934 production runs.

The Lajoie uses the 1934 Goudey design (see the little baseball figures in the background?).

From the PSA website:

The missing card was sent through the mail to the collectors who contacted the Goudey company. Many of the examples were mailed with a paper clip affixed to it, leaving impressions on the surface of the card. As a result, you will encounter some examples that exhibit spider wrinkles along the front or back of the card. That said, and considering the overall rarity of the card, there are some highgrade examples in the marketplace. This is best explained by the fact that the card was never subject to insertion into packs, avoiding some of the traditional handling.

Today, the Goudey Lajoie card continues to break records at auction. Given its low scarcity, it is one of the holy grails for collectors.

The 1933 Goudey Lajoie is now thought of alongside other prized cards, like the T206 Honus Wagner, 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, and the 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card

1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #149

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The Goudey #149 Ruth is identical to the #53 Ruth, aside for the fact that it has a red background. 

The backs of the #53 and #149 George Herman (Babe) Ruth cards are also identical (aside from the different number at the top of the card).

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ruth-139-goudey-back

Goudey #149 Red Ruth tends to sell in a fairly close price range with #53 and has roughly the same exact PSA graded population - both with roughly 1100 copies.

1933 Goudey Ruth #144

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Known in the hobby as the 'full body' Ruth Goudey, the #144 card was double printed by the company.

The print runs for the 1933 Goudey #144 Ruth are estimated to be around 680,000 in total, well above Ruth's other Goudey cards. 

The PSA Population report shows this is the case with the #144 graded population well above the other three.

Ruth Goudey #
PSA Population
53
1092
144
1528
149
1097
181
1226

Despite its wider availability, the #144 Goudey is in my opinion, the most visually appealing card in the set. 

1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #181

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An authentic #181 Goudey Ruth

The fourth Goudey Ruth card (#181) features Ruth in a serious pose, while holding his bat, likely getting ready to enter the batter's box.  

I do love the #144 Ruth, but this is my second favorite Goudey Ruth card.

The contrast of the green background and Ruth's detailed likeness makes for a gorgeous baseball card.  

PSA has graded over 1200 copies of the #181 Ruth, slightly above the graded pop of the #53 and #149, but below the ~1500 PSA graded copies of Ruth #144.

1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #92 and #160

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An authentic 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #160 

There are two cards of New York Yankees slugger Lou Gehrig in the 1933 Goudey set, #160 and #92. 

The two cards, however, are nearly identical. You need to look closely, but there are subtle differences between the two.   

Goudey Gehrig #92 tends to have whiter borders and a darker blue background as compared to Goudey Gehrig #160.  

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An authentic 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #92

Goudey Gehrig #92 (PSA graded pop of ~1500) is much harder to find than Gehrig #160 (PSA graded pop of ~850).

On average the harder to find #160 Gehrig does carry a slight premium.

1933 Goudey Benny Bengough #1

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Some might be familiar with Bengough for his time spent with the Yankees in the 1920s. A defensive specialist, but mostly backup catcher, Bengough won three world series with the infamous 'Murderer's Row' of New York

His 1933 Goudey card lands on the most valuable baseball card list, not exactly because of scarcity, but for its position at #1 in the set. The first cards in older issued baseball card sets are notorious for getting abused condition-wise. 

1933 Goudey Jimmy Foxx #29, #154

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1933 Goudey Jimmy Foxx #29

Jimmy Foxx might be one of the most underrated HOF baseball players.

Among some of Jimmie’s many achievements with the Athletics and Red Sox:

2X WS champ, 9 time All Star, 3x A.L MVP, Triple Crown in 1933. 

Goudey spelled Foxx's first name as 'Jimmy' whereas the more common spelling was "Jimmie". But, Foxx was known to sign autographs under both names, so this is technically not an error card.

Like Gehrig, Foxx has two cards in the set, and the cards are identical. The #159 card has darker printing, noticeable in the ground area where the greens and browns are a darker color.

The #154 Foxx card is harder to find and does carry a slight premium.

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1933 Goudey Jimmy Foxx #154

1933 Goudey Rogers Hornsby #119, #188

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1933 Goudey Rogers Hornsby #119

In a bit of a rarity throughout the set, Goudey produced two cards of the same player, yet with different images. 

The Rogers Hornsby #119 Goudey card shows him in one of the few horizontal cards in the set. 

The #188 Hornsby card shows the HOF player in the dugout, as a player manager at the time.

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1933 Goudey Rogers Hornsby #188

1933 Goudey Dazzy Vance #2

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One of the 'short prints' in the set, the 1933 Goudey Dazzy Vance card has less than 500 graded copies. Vance, a HOF pitcher, was the NL strikeout leader in seven consecutive seasons. 

1933 Goudey Mel Ott #127, #207

1933 Goudey Mel Ott #127

Like Hornsby, Ott has two cards, with different images. Notably, Ott has two cards that are missing the bottom red border with "Big League Chewing Gum".

I really like the two Ott cards. I think the full image without the red border makes for a beautiful card. Both have roughly the same graded population.

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1933 Goudey Mel Ott #207

1933 Goudey Dizzy Dean #223

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I love this Dizzy Dean card from the Goudey set.

It comes from sheet 9 in the set which is one of the ones with the lowest production runs. According to Jason at SABR cards, 10-20% scarcer than other sheets.

We can see this from the PSA pop reports which show that the Dean Goudey card has less than 700 graded copies. 

1933 Goudey Tris Speaker #89

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Speaker was retired when this card was produced, but he was a part owner of the Kansas City Blues.

Thus, this card was mostly a tribute card for Speaker. 

Still a great card and somewhat affordable in lower grades.  

Speaker tends to be a bit overlooked compared to some of the bigger names of the era. In my opinion, it is the best overall value in the Goudey set.

A lower grade Goudey Speaker Speaker can often be found for under $500.

1933 Goudey Carl Hubbell #230, #234

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The 1933 Goudey Carl Hubbell is our choice for best overall design in the 1933 Goudey set.

One of the few horizontal cards in the set, the Hubbell card #230 is my favorite for overall design. 

Also it's on the sheet which had a lower production run. This makes it a great card to pick up if you can find an affordable copy.

Investment Potential Of The 1933 Goudey Set

The 1933 Goudey Baseball card set is a landmark set, right up there with the T206 'White Borders', 1914/15 Cracker Jack and 1952 Topps sets. 

Thus, my opinion is that the 1933 Goudey Baseball set is one of the best investments in the hobby.

It's the perfect combination of fairly low supply (population), beautiful design, historical significance (first cards in a pack issued with gum) and massive star power, as evidenced by the four Babe Ruth and two Lou Gehrig cards.

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Of course completing the entire 240 card set is probably out of budget for the 99% of collectors reading this article. 

However, assembling low grade versions of some of the most valuable cards in the set is still, in my mind, a very smart long term investment strategy. 

Overall Investment Rating: 9 out of 10

1933 Goudey Baseball Card Checklist

1 Benny Bengough RC
2 Dazzy Vance RC
3 Hughie Critz RC
4 Heinie Schuble RC
5 Babe Herman RC
6 Jimmie Dykes RC Error
6 Jimmie Dykes RC Corrected
7 Ted Lyons RC
8 Roy Johnson RC
9 Dave Harris RC
10 Glenn Myatt RC
11 Billy Rogell RC
12 George Pipgras RC
13 Lafayette Thompson RC
14 Henry Johnson RC
15 Vic Sorrell RC
16 George Blaeholder RC
17 Watty Clark RC
18 Muddy Ruel RC
19 Bill Dickey RC
20 Bill Terry RC
21 Phil Collins RC
22 Pie Traynor RC
23 Kiki Cuyler RC
24 Horace Ford RC
25 Paul Waner RC
26 Bill Cissell RC
27 Sarge Connally RC
28 Dick Bartell RC
29 Jimmie Foxx RC
30 Shanty Hogan RC
31 Tony Lazzeri RC
32 Bud Clancy RC
33 Red Kress RC
34 Bob O'Farrell RC
35 Al Simmons RC
36 Tommy Thevenow RC
37 Jimmie Wilson RC
38 Fred Brickell RC
39 Mark Koenig RC
40 Taylor Douthit RC
41 Gus Mancuso RC
42 Eddie Collins RC
43 Lew Fonseca RC
44 Jim Bottomley RC
45 Larry Benton RC
46 Ethan Allen RC
47 Heinie Manush RC
48 Marty McManus RC
49 Frankie Frisch RC
50 Ed Brandt RC
51 Charlie Grimm RC
52 Andy Cohen RC
53 Babe Ruth RC
54 Ray Kremer RC
55 Pat Malone RC
56 Red Ruffing RC
57 Earl Clark RC
58 Lefty O'Doul RC
59 Bing Miller RC
60 Waite Hoyt RC
61 Max Bishop RC
62 Pepper Martin RC
63 Joe Cronin RC
64 Burleigh Grimes RC
65 Milton Gaston RC
66 George Grantham RC
67 Guy Bush RC
68 Hod Lisenbee RC
69 Randy Moore RC
70 Pete Scott RC
71 Bobby Burke RC
72 Ownie Carroll RC
73 Jesse Haines RC
74 Eppa Rixey RC
75 Willie Kamm RC
76 Mickey Cochrane RC
77 Adam Comorosky RC
78 Jack Quinn RC
79 Red Faber RC
80 Clyde Manion RC
81 Sam Jones RC
82 Dib Williams RC
83 Pete Jablonski RC
84 Glenn Spencer RC
85 Heinie Sand RC
86 Phil Todt RC
87 Frank O'Rourke RC
88 Russell Rollings RC
89 Tris Speaker
90 Jess Petty RC
91 Tom Zachary RC
92 Lou Gehrig RC
93 John Welch RC
94 Bill Walker RC
95 Alvin Crowder RC
96 Willis Hudlin RC
97 Joe Morrisey RC
98 Wally Berger RC
99 Tony Cuccinello RC
100 George Uhle RC
101 Richard Coffman RC
102 Travis Jackson RC
103 Earle Combs RC
104 Fred Marberry RC
105 Bernie Friberg RC
106 Nap Lajoie SP
107 Heinie Manush RC
108 Joe Kuhel RC
109 Joe Cronin RC
110 Goose Goslin RC
111 Monte Weaver RC
112 Fred Schulte RC
113 Ossie Bluege RC
114 Luke Sewell RC
115 Cliff Heathcote RC
116 Eddie Morgan RC
117 Rabbit Maranville RC
118 Val Picinich RC
119 Rogers Hornsby RC
120 Carl Reynolds RC
121 Lefty Stewart RC
122 Alvin Crowder RC
123 Jack Russell RC
124 Earl Whitehill RC
125 Bill Terry RC
126 Jo-Jo Moore RC
127 Mel Ott RC
128 Chuck Klein RC
129 Hal Schumacher RC
130 Freddie Fitzsimmons RC
131 Fred Frankhouse RC
132 Jim Elliott RC
133 Fred Lindstrom RC
134 Sam Rice RC
135 Woody English RC
136 Flint Rhem RC
137 Red Lucas RC
138 Herb Pennock RC
139 Ben Cantwell RC
140 Bump Hadley RC
141 Ray Benge RC
142 Paul Richards RC
143 Glenn Wright RC
144 Babe Ruth RC
145 Rube Walberg RC
146 Lefty Stewart RC
147 Leo Durocher RC
148 Eddie Farrell RC
149 Babe Ruth RC
150 Ray Kolp RC
151 Jake Flowers RC
152 Zack Taylor RC
153 Buddy Myer RC
154 Jimmie Foxx RC
155 Joe Judge RC
156 Danny Macfayden RC
157 Sammy Byrd RC
158 Moe Berg RC
159 Ossie Bluege RC
160 Lou Gehrig RC
161 Al Spohrer RC
162 Leo Magnum RC
163 Luke Sewell RC
164 Lloyd Waner RC
165 Joe Sewell RC
166 Sam West RC
167 Jack Russell RC
168 Goose Goslin RC
169 Tommy Thomas RC
170 Harry McGurdy RC
171 Charlie Jamieson RC
172 Pinky Hargrave RC
173 Roscoe Holm RC
174 Curly Ogden RC
175 Dan Howley MG RC
176 John Ogden RC
177 Walter French RC
178 Jackie Warner RC
179 Fred Leach RC
180 Eddie Moore RC
181 Babe Ruth RC
182 Andy High RC
183 Rube Walberg RC
184 Charlie Berry RC
185 Bob Smith RC
186 Johnny Schulte RC
187 Heinie Manush RC
188 Rogers Hornsby RC
189 Joe Cronin RC
190 Fred Schulte RC
191 Ben Chapman RC
192 Walter Brown RC
193 Lyn Lary RC
194 Earl Averill RC
195 Evar Swanson RC
196 Roy Mahaffey RC
197 Rick Ferrell RC
198 Jack Burns RC
199 Tommy Bridges RC
200 Bill Hallahan RC
201 Ernie Orsatti RC
202 Gabby Hartnett RC
203 Lon Warneke RC
204 Riggs Stephenson RC
205 Heinie Manush RC
206 Gus Suhr RC
207 Mel Ott RC
208 Bernie James RC
209 Dolf Luque RC
210 Virgil Davis RC
211 Hack Wilson RC
212 Billy Urbanski RC
213 Sparky Adams RC
214 Buddy Kerr RC
215 Russ Van Atta RC
216 Vernon Gomez RC
217 Frankie Crosetti RC
218 Wes Ferrell RC
219 Mule Haas RC
220 Lefty Grove RC
221 Dale Alexander RC
222 Charlie Gehringer RC
223 Dizzy Dean RC
224 Frank Demaree RC
225 Billy Jurges RC
226 Charlie Root RC
227 Billy Herman RC
228 Tony Piet RC
229 Arky Vaughan RC
230 Carl Hubbell RC
231 Jo-Jo Moore RC
232 Lefty O'Doul RC
233 Johnny Vergez RC
234 Carl Hubbell RC
235 Freddie Fitzsimmons RC
236 George Davis RC
237 Gus Mancuso RC
238 Hughie Critz RC
239 Leroy Parmalee RC
240 Hal Schumacher RC

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