Thursday, June 12, 2014

1925 Holland Creameries World's Champions Baseball #5, Sam Rice

I've already written about the 1924 World Series, thanks to the 1951 Packard Sports Library series of car dealership sports magazines. Reportedly a candidate for "best-ever" Series, it's one of a handful to end in game seven's extra innings, as Muddy Ruel scored the winning run on a bad-hop single in the bottom of the 12th. For HOFers Sam Rice and Walter Johnson (and many of their Washington Senators teammates), it'd be their only year as "World's Champions." (While SGC slabbed this as 1926, it makes more sense as issued in 1925, one year after their 1924 title.)

Beyond the Series and players, what do we know about the card set? First off, "Holland" is Holland Creameries, a Winnipeg-based milk and ice cream distributor. Their small set, similar in size and design to 1920s candy issues, is that entity's most enduring creation and its PSA collection registry comes in at the top of their Google results. It's hard to imagine any other way you'd discover that kind of defunct corporation, unless you're a fan of Canadian ice storage journals.

If you did want to find the company, the earliest mention I came across refers to Holland Creameries executives exploring expansion into new facilities in and around Winnipeg.

Refrigerating World, April 1921

Prospective expansion gives an air of corporate health, but by mid-1928, fellow dairy Canada Pure Milk took over Holland's in-city deliveries, probably as a new owner of its assets and customers. Thanks to Google, I even found their transition notice in local papers.
"STARTING FRIDAY, JUNE 1st, a fleet of 15 wagons will commence delivering to customers in Winnipeg and St. Boniface. This service will be extended, as development warrants, to cover the city and suburbs. Pure Milk is the product of Canada Pure Milk Ltd., a new Winnipeg firm which has taken over the plant of the Holland Creameries Co., Ltd., which includes up-to-date pasteurization and homogenizing equipment...We will continue to serve all former patrons of the Holland Creameries, and as soon as conditions warrant, will extend our service to all parts of the city." - ad from Winnipeg Tribune, May 31, 1928

Prior to its demise, I imagine kids obtained cards from Holland delivery drivers or stores that carried their products. On-card promotions invited local collectors to redeem all 18 for a selection of ice creams, but Holland limited giveaways by short-printing #16, Roger Pickinpaugh, and stamping all redeemed cards to prevent "re-use." This #5 shows no redemption marks, so never made it to the factory.

That a Manitoba dairy saw money to be made from an American team says a lot about the reach of pro baseball in those days, but it wasn't their only dalliance with sports promotions. Earlier in the 1920s, Holland first printed what you'd expect of a Canadian company, a collection of hockey stars.

Based on the careers of its 10-player checklist, Holland distributed this set in or after 1920, as pictured players had Winnipeg connections beginning at that time. Most catalogs and grading companies date Holland's hockey set to 1924. I think sports ephemera was less "seasonal" in those days, so it's entirely possible they started printing cards in 1920 and just didn't stop, even after players like Frank Frederickson left town; he skated for Victoria by 1925, but was likely still remembered by local fans.

Here's an apparent full-set redemption, with hole punches as evidence that a kid got their ice cream.

UPDATE: More scans from this rare set, including Walter Johnson and several "utility men."

Value: Holland Creameries baseball and hockey sets are rare and valuable, so expect to pay $100+ for cards in any condition. I bought my #5, one of this set's key HOFers, for $1400 from another collector in 2022.

Fakes / reprints: I imagine fakes and reprints exist, with the caveat that only advanced collectors are likely to seek out this set, so hopefully wouldn't be taken in by a forgery.


Mark Hoyle said...

Do you know if there are any Red Sox in the set. I poked around on eBay.

Matthew Glidden said...

No, this is all Washington Senators.

Mark Hoyle said...

Got it. Thank god some prices I saw were pretty high

S2000 said...

I've recently discovered a small stash of 1925 Holland Creameries Baseball Cards.
I understand they are fairly rare due to the small market where they originated from (Winnipeg).
Is there a market for these cards, how and where can I find out the value of these baseball cards?

Matthew Glidden said...

They're so rare, I recommend you check with an auction house like Robert Edwards ( or Heritage ( They've got the auction audience for this kind of card set.

S2000 said...

Thanks for the information