The Holy Trinity of interesting card subjects goes Indians, Dinosaurs, and Pirates. And Pirates Picture Bubble Gum is the most famous and desirable of all card series devoted to those swashbuckling high-seas adventurers. The lurid, full-color images, along with the imaginative writing on the back, have made this a card set high on collectors' want lists for several decades.
The card fronts depict a color piece of artwork, surrounded by a white border. At the bottom is the card number and the caption. The card backs give a large block of text and the line 'This is one of 72 cards,' followed by the name of the series.
Three cards out of the set are much more scarce than the others, and are worth several times as much. These are #'s 9, 34, and 59. It is not known whether these were short-printed or partially removed from circulation.
Paper cards with blank backs resembling this set have been found; these were almost certainly cut from a promotional poster sent to retailers.
In addition, a number of small aluminum coins withe famous pirate portraits and even the words 'Pirates Picture Bubble Gum' are known to exist; but they have otherwise not been connected positively with the cards, and are so scarce that it's certain they were not distributed with the cards in any way. There is no complete checklist for the coins.
The wrapper for this set is especially imaginative and well-designed, with a larger central logo and image surrounded by several smaller images, all depicting pirates engaged in various activities. The wrapper colors are green, orange, and purple on white wax paper.
Note: A Cuban edition of this card set, with captions in Spanish, is known to exist. But it too is exceedingly rare.
The American Card Catalog reference number for this set is R109.