Thursday, January 7, 2016

Looking at the Complete 1969 Jewel Cubs Set

Yesterday I wrote about picking up the 1969 Jewel picture of Billy Williams.  The post inspired me to do some digging and get the scoop on the entire Jewel set.

There are 20 players in the set.  All of the big names were included and most of the semi-big names, too.  Featured were Ted Abernathy, Hank Aguirre, Ernie Banks, Glenn Beckert, Bill Hands, Jim Hickman, Ken Holtzman, Randy Hundley, Fergie Jenkins, Don Kessinger, Rich Nye, Paul Popovich, Jim Qualls, Phil Reagan, Ron Santo, Dick Selma, Willie Smith, Al Spangler, Billy Williams, and Don Young.

The pictures were issued four per week, starting the first week of August.  The pictures were not free.  You had to buy a specific product from Jewel and that would entitle you to one of the four.  Each week there was an ad in the paper that told which players were available and what you needed to buy.

Week from August 4

Players: Ernie Banks, Randy Hundley, Ken Holtzman, Ted Abernathy.... three stars and a submarine-throwing reliever
Need to buy: Half-gallon of milk of a package of pretzels...two items that do not go well together

Week 2: ad from August 11 The ad uses the exact same layout as the first weeks, just changing the players and the food item

Players: Fergie Jenkins, Jim Hickman, Ron Santo, Al Spangler...three stars and a back-up outfielder
Need to buy: loaf of bread or jar of peanut butter....two items that go together perfectly

Week 3: ad from August's the same ad layout for the third straight week

Players: Phil Regan, Billy Williams, Willie Smith, Don star and three not-stars
Need to buy...cookies and ice cream, another perfect combination

Week 4: ad from August 29... this came out more than a week after the previous ad and the layout has changed completely.

Players: Don Kessinger, Glenn Beckert, Dick Selma, Bill Hands...three stars and the Bleacher Bums' cheerleader.
Need to buy: paper plates or eggs...not much of a pairing here.

Week 5: ad from September 5...the Cubs were in free-fall mode at this point in the season and it looks like Jewel was bailing out.  The ad was just a small part of a full page ad.

Players: Hank Aguirre, Rich Nye, Jim Qualls, Paul Popovich...all bench players
Need to buy: laundry detergent or frozen orange juice... not much of a pairing here.

If you bought four of the cheapest items each week to get the four pictures, you'd have to spend $8.88 to end up with all 20 pictures.  Today it will cost you about ten times that.  

I was thinking of getting color images of the pictures off the web to show, but decided not to. I plan to keep an eye out for a set, and when I can get one at a decent price, I'll show the color pictures.


  1. I love digging information out of newspapers for sets like this! Nice bit of archaeology there.

  2. I'd be interested in knowing if the photos were actually signed and left in the stores or if they were reprints or auto pen. I know it was a different time back then, but some of those guys were already legends and it would be weird to me to have a stack of Ernie Banks autographed photos just laying on the counter at a Jewel in Chicago.

    1. Jewel was using the term 'autographed" pretty loosely. The signatures were just printed on the pictures like Topps did with baseball cards.