Mickey Mouse (1937)

Mickey Mouse cards Gum Inc. released their card set devoted to Mickey Mouse sometime in 1937. There are 96 cards in the set, each measuring 2-1/2" by 3-1/8".

Goodness knows the Disney conglomerate demands that every American must idolize and worship their flagship cartoon character Mickey Mouse, even if no one can actually remember seeing him in any film or TV show recently. Nevertheless, it would behoove any enthusiast of vintage trading cards to take a look at this, one of the most widely hoarded, highly valued, and overall collectable card sets of all time.

The card fronts depict a piece of color artwork, complete with word balloon dialog, surrounded by a white border. At the top is the name of the card set and the card number; at the bottom lie the words 'Here's the answer to question on card no. [previous card number].'

The card backs start with the line, 'Can you answer this question?' followed by the beginning of an amusing little story involving Mickey and/or one of his cartoon friends. The next line reads, 'What did [s]he say? For the answer to this question see card no. [next card number]. Below this is an ad for a Mickey Mouse Picture Card Album and then a copyright line for Mickey Mouse Bubble Gum of Philadelphia Pa., which we know to be Gum Inc.

The conceit of having a joke begun on one card and concluded on the next card was meant, of course, to keep kids buying the whole series so that they could read all of the gags. Note: There is a printing of the first 24 cards in this set that did not follow this format, but instead had the question posed on the front of the card, and answered on the back. These were corrected midway through the print run to conform to the new format described above to facilitate more purchasing by kids.

As mentioned on the back matter, two albums to hold the cards were issued; each one held half the set, 48 cards. The albums could be gotten by exchanging 5 wrappers and 5 cents at the local retailer who carried the cards. Note: albums with cards pasted into them are worth substantially less than albums in more pristine condition; the cards themselves are also devalued, of course.

The American Card Catalog reference number is R89.

Value: The 'uncorrected' cards (with the question asked on the front and answered on the back) are commonly referred to in the hobby as 'Type 1' cards; these will usually be found costing anywhere between $30.00 and $40.00 each. The regular cards, aka Type 2, can often be had for $25.00 to $30.00 each. Note: certain cards in the series, such as the first and last cards, carry a premium in value. A full set of 96 cards (with only Type 2 cards assumed) can be had for around $3,000.00 to $4,000.00.

The Volume 1 album comes in two variations: one with the 'rat-faced Mickey' (as he was drawn in many early illustrations) and the other with the regular Mickey. The Volume 1 with the rat-faced Mickey can cost around $150.00 in Excellent condition with no pasted cards, while the Volume 1 with the normal Mickey goes for about $100.00. The Volume 2 album can be found for around $100.00 to $125.00.