The Goodwin & Co Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XXIX auction is in full swing, and there are still great deals to be had! The auction closes on Thursday, September 23rd. Over 400 Pacfic Coast Cards including Zeenuts, Obaks, Bishops, & Mono Cigarette. To view and bid on our auction, simply visit www.goodwinandco.com, and sign in using your email address or bidder number. You may start bidding right away! For more information feel free to e-mail email@example.com, by telephone (314-849-9798), or visit our website at www.goodwinandco.com. Other highlights of the auction include:
The Legacy of Zeenut and the PCL, the major league of the West Coast.
In 1909, entrepreneur, businessman, showman, huckster and P.T. Barnum wannabe, W.P. Chase introduced Zee-Nut candy to the world in extraordinary fashion.
After days of unending ads and hype, at precisely 4:00 p.m. on March 6, 1909, outside the W.P. Chase Zee-Nut Factory at 420-422 Broadway, a rocket filled with “1030 Free Presents” exploded above a street filled with treasure seekers. As coupons and vouchers for silver dollars, fountain pens, Zee-Nut Candy and more floated down from the sky (and scattered a full city block) a West Coast treasure was born.
Chase would promote Zee-Nuts, a chocolate, popcorn, peanut and coconut confection, endlessly. A marketer ahead of his time, Chase even wrote a jingle for Zee-Nuts. Orchestras and bands throughout the region battled for first rights to play the tune. Chase was also known to play pied piper, leading bands of children through the streets singing the song of his candy. Simply put, Zee-Nuts were a sensation.
Unfortunately, Chase proved to be more showman than businessman and overextended his means, by opening too many businesses to quickly. Chaseís attorney summarized his client best, when describing the over-zealous candymaker in court proceedings, as a man “Long on ideas and short on funds.”
Seeing opportunity, the Collins-McCarthy Company purchased the wildly popular Zee-Nut candy and applied for a new trademark in 1910. In 1911, Collins-McCarthy embarked upon one of the most monumental and treasured of all baseball card sets, issuing cards in Zeenuts (as well as Home Run Kisses and Ruf-Neks candies). The Zeenut baseball card machine would run from 1911-1939, encompassing over 3,700 cards and become the most popular baseball card issue in West Coast history.
Part of the allure of the Zeenut issue came from coupons attached to the cards, which could be redeemed for a wide range of “valuable prizes.” Stories from the earliest days of Zeenuts tell tales of adults giving the Zeenut candy to their children and holding on to the cards and coupons to use in gambling games. This bit of insight confirms why many of the cards have their coupons removed, with most coupons not being removed in the most careful of fashions.
When Zeenuts cards were first introduced, major league baseball was over a half-century away from crossing the Rocky Mountains. To residents along the Pacific Coast, their local teams were just as good as the majors — and sometimes better. Players enjoyed the longer schedule of games in the PCL, because they could make more money, while enjoying the “California lifestyle.”
From future and former big leaguers to Hollywood’s elite, the PCL had it all. Actor Fatty Arbuckle even owned a franchise for a brief period. And at the heart of west coast baseball for 28 years was the Zeenut. As W.P. Chase put into lyrics, “Gee but it’s great – it’s Zee-Nut!” We couldn’t agree more completely.
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