I have about 90 Zee-Nut cards. A couple of HOFers, no cards with coupons. Most are rough, a few are nice. As I contemplate trying to get at least one of each year, I wonder about the 1918 red border Zee-Nut cards. The guides don't list them as being outrageously expensive, but I hardly ever see one for sale (I know one is on eBay now, which is what provoked me to list this). And if I see one for sale, they are quite expensive.
So what's the deal? Do the guides underprice them? How's a fellow to buy a worn, common 1918 Zee-Nut???
As I attempt to educate the world on many matters, one item is the fact that the name of these little rascals is "Zee-Nut". Not Zeenut or Zeenuts or Zee-nut or anything else. Look at how it's spelled on the card. No one seems capable of using the correct name... And I'm incapable of educating them, nor can I learn to quit trying to educate.
'm no zeenut expert (years of speeling it this weay, even in Zee-Nut country they spell it like that) but I've rarely seen 1918s. Always loved the red boarder. If Mark Macrae or one of the other true experts chimes in, they knew just how tough 18s are. I seem to recall being told that 18s are one of the tougher years.
In my estimation (as well as other long-time collectors) the 1918 Zeenuts are the toughest year to come by of the Zeenut run. This is possibly due to paper shortages following the War. The 1918's just seem less plentiful overall. There are other tough years in the Zeenut run, such as 1913, 1915, and 1937-38 which offer just as much a challenge for the collector, and almost all the years have anywhere from one to a couple of dozen that are near impossible to obtain. When it comes to Zeenuts, nothing is easy.
The guides are pretty well useless when it comes to Zeenuts--you just have to observe things over a long haul to get a sense what these cards are worth, and what players/cards attract more buyer attention.
The standard spelling amongst collectors of these cards is Zeenut, even amongst advanced collectors who have 3000 different cards. Go figure. Then again, by the early 30's these cards were not even identified on the card as 'Zee-nut', but as 'Coast League', because these cards were inserted in other brands of candy such as Home Run Kisses and Ruf-Neks (I might have the spelling wrong on this, and heck, I might have carelessly thrown in a hyphen too), and supposedly the Zee-nut candy was waning in popularity compared to the other brands Collins-McCarthy put out.
Part of the reason for the difficulty in the 1918 cards is explained by the shortened 1918 PCL season, which abruptly ended on July 14 due to wartime travel restrictions...No baseball, fewer collectors...........remember 1994.... As far as catalog values are concerned I have provided input to both Bob Lemke & Rich Klein regarding generalized values on Zeenut cards since the inception of the Standard Catalog and Almanac ....As Brian Parker correctly states, when it comes to two advanced Zeenut collectors needing a key card for their collections, a price guide is absolutely useless in their arsenal.. This is collecting, not investing. I've found myself in a few bid wars where a common , non-Jewish, non-Native-American, non-Black, non- Federal League, non-major league player, barely recognizable as poor condition has gone for a few thousand dollars. A similar example transacting a short time later might only bring $25. Thats why you don't base a price guide value on a single transaction.... As a type collector Frank, you shouldn't have any problem getting a sample card from 1918. Putting together a set from that year may prove to be more challenging........ The candy "Zee-Nut" was no longer profitable for Collins Hencke and was discontinued in 1930. As Brian pointed out, post 1930 issues state "Coast League" and were distributed primarily with five cent products "Ruf-Nek" and "Home Run Kisses" . Later on , ten cent product "Kofe-Kuv" carried the cards as well.... Wouldn't worry about the spelling too much...Many board contributors refer to the "National Sports Collector's Show" as the "Nationals" when there is only one.....
The bottom red border being missing or only partially there is very common with this issue. Usually coupons were removed rather carelessly, so it happened all the time. Anybody that has collected this issue knows that this is common, and quite acceptable by most people--just comes with the territory.
At one point I was collecting the issue but got rid of most of my really low conditioned cards, now I am only left with a handful. Recently however I have begun collecting Zeenuts again, and while I am really focusing on the 1912 set, I always pick up 1918's when I get a chance. As long as you aren't too picky with the condition they do come up for sale.