Card of the Week: My Newest Antique

1933-34 World Wide Gum Ice Kings #5 – Earl Robinson

I’ve collected hockey cards for over 20 years and never saw an original “Ice Kings” card until recently, when I found this one at a show for $20. Granted, you don’t just go to a card show and say “I’ll think I’ll buy some Ice Kings cards today,” unless you mean the ones of the Donruss variety.

But when a dealer showed this card to me…I hesitated. While I’ve never seen an Ice King in person, this card was in such terrible shape, I had to think if I really wanted to spend $20 on such a crummy-looking card.

Then I remembered some advice my Aunt Gayle once gave me when I was a kid–if you go to a card show, try to get something you won’t find anywhere else. Not counting the interwebs, I have never seen a card from this set.

Thus, I decided to buy this card of Montreal Maroons right wing Earl Robinson. It has clearly seen better days–those days being the 1933-34 season, when some kid bought a pack of World Wide Gum and got this card with it.

Some might say this card was abused. I say it was loved. The crease running vertically down the middle signifies that it was folded in half—-maybe to put in a pocket when taken to school, or tucked it in a sleeve to keep a teacher from confiscating it. It was folded so it could be put somewhere. Whoever owned this card circa 1934 wasn’t thinking of future value–they were thinking of keeping it safe.

Either that, or they were just clumsy.

The back of the card doesn’t look much better.

Did someone–GASP!–glue this card somewhere? Again, the owner of this card 75 years ago wasn’t thinking of maintaining its collectibility; they were thinking of putting it in a place they could see it, where it would make them happy. Maybe it was glued to their bedroom wall or in a scrapbook with pictures of other Montreal Maroons players.

The glue and paper loss makes the text hard to read, so I’ve transcribed it the best I could:

Earl began as a juvenile with the North Branch of the Montreal Y.M.C.A. only 13 years ago. He rose steadily, playing with the Strathcona High Squad, followed by the Royal Juniors, the Royal Bank and the Victorias. He turned “pro.” in 1927 with Philadelphia, came to the Maroons in 1928 and aside from a few trips to Windsor, has remained there since. He is 26 and weighs 153 pounds.

The season after this card was issued, Robinson led the Maroons in scoring, and the Maroons won their second and last Stanley Cup championship. Robinson also played for the last-ever Maroons squad in 1937-38

Condition-wise, this card is one of the poorest in my collection. It is also one of (but not the) oldest cards that I own. But it might be another 20 yeas before I come across another Ice King. 

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

13 thoughts on “Card of the Week: My Newest Antique”

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  1. Nothing wrong with rolling the dice on a nice vintage card in this condition for $20. As you said, hard to find, probably would never get the opportunity again. For me it is in similar shape (grading wise) to my C56 Cyclone Taylor where someone conveniently tried to erase the card number on the back. When I bought it, like you, I couldn’t help but sit back and wonder what the story of this card has been over the years. It’s one of those fun things about the hobby.

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