Baseball has been known as the national pastime for years, but over the last decade the NFL has ascended to the top league in the United States. Back in 1933 baseball was king, with Babe Ruth wearing the crown of American sports. So when the 1933 Goudey Sports Kings set came out, Ruth and Ty Cobb were the first two cards in the set. However, the 1933 Sport Kings Jim Thorpe earns tremendous respect as well, especially as football’s popularity has blossomed over the years.
The set is still one of the most widely collected across all types of collectors, as golfers such as Bobby Jones and Babe Didrickson (golf was one of her many sporting talents), to swimmers like Duke Kahanamoku (really the father of modern day surfing), to football coach Knute Rockne.
Jim Thorpe, like many of his day, wasn’t limited to one sport and is considered by many to be the greatest all around athlete in the history of sports. He played professional basketball for a time, won 2 gold medals in the 1912 Olympics (decathlon & pentathlon), and played baseball for the New York Giants part-time while concentrating on his career in football. In 1920, when the National Football League was organized, the charter members named Thorpe league president.
Thorpe’s legendary prowess may borderline on myth at times, but his popularity has always been vibrant among collectors. While the baseball cards are valued higher in this particular set, with a PSA 9 Ruth selling for $115,000 in 2001 and a PSA 10 Cobb for $81,812 in 2004, Thorpe isn’t too far behind.
A PSA Mint 9 Sport Kings Thorpe sold for $70,000 in 2011, and a PSA 8.5 went for $9,941 in 2012. A PSA VG-EX + 4.5 sold for $628 in 2012, showing the lower end is more attainable to more conservative investors. Overall, according to PSA the finest complete set known sold for $360,000 in 2004.
A unique time in history as the footbal world was just becoming mainstream with a growing fan base across many different landscapes, the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings Jim Thorpe is part of a one-of-a-kind issue. And while baseball may have ruled the roost, Thorpe’s versatility makes him one of the key jewels to this historic collection.