Charles Conlon’s 1933 Goudey Nap Lajoie

1933 Goudey Lajoie FrontOne of the greatest and most desirable cards in the entire hobby, the 1933 Goudey #106 Nap Lajoie is the result of one of the Goudey Gum Company’s many marketing gimmicks.  Their wildly popular card set of 1933 was issued without a card #106, meaning that regardless of how many packs were purchased by kids looking to complete their set, it was an impossible task.  Kids bought pack after pack, looking for that elusive card #106 to complete their sets, to no avail.  

A small number of hardcore collectors were undaunted, eventually writing the company to complain.  For those collectors, Goudey in 1934 produced a special card of Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie, fulfilling their requests for a card #106 to complete their 1933 sets.  The Lajoie was only distributed in this fashion, resulting in extraordinary scarcity in relation to its counterparts.  Today, the card is considered one of the hobby’s most important, valuable, and highly sought-after cards, with an intense demand that will likely never exceed the supply.

This particular example has additional hobby significance in that it was once part of the collection of noted hobbyist Charles Conlon.  Conlon, a well-known collector and dealer who passed away in 2008, was known as the “hoarder” of 1975 Topps Mini cards in Michigan.  After Conlon passed in 2008, his substantial collection was sold at auction, with all proceeds going to a variety of charities.  This example of the 1933 #106 Lajoie, one of the finest in the hobby, was part of Conlon’s collection.  Initially submitted for grading in 2008, the card was resubmitted after SGC established half-grades at the upper end of the grading register, receiving the lofty grade of 82, along with the Conlon pedigree on the card label.

This is an extraordinary card, bright and clean with a bold, beautiful image and a remarkable lack of overall wear.  The incredible rarity of this card, coupled with its difficulty in high grade, make this one of the most important and desirable cards in the hobby.  Often considered one of the three or four most significant cards in collecting, this is one of the finest examples of one of the hobby’s truly great cards.

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