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Sunday, August 17, 2014

American Pearl Harbor Cards

If we ever needed a more grim reminder that Americans were pissed off at the Japanese for its attack on American personnel at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii back on November 7, 1941, take a gander at the following package design from the Candyland Company of Brooklyn, New York - a company I can not find any information on.

For the record, I collect aviation cards - specifically aviation cards from the end of World War I (1918) and earlier. I even run another blog about all kinds of aviation from that era - mixing in a bit of modern stuff - under the banner of Pioneers of Aviation. Check it out. It's definitely more correct than most Wikipedia entries, as I find many errors in data there and comb official records to provide a one-stop shop of aviation correctness.

I try to do the same here in Japan-It's A Wonderful Rife... which is why my blogs are always longer than they could be, as I always find more information to provide a more complete story.

Which is why this particular blog entry is frustrating to me.

Looking up Candyland Company in the 1940s on gives me references to the Candyland board game debuting in 1949...., with only a minimal amount of date found on the cards - and damn near nothing on the company that made the candy!

Released in 1942 (best guess), the eight cards below represent the entire known selection of cards available for the set reference numbered R66 by the American Card Catalog entitled: “Heroes of Pearl Harbor”.

Featuring two heroes on each candy box, the gentlemen selected died during Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, a day famously proclaimed "A day that will live in infamy."

Come one... a boxy of candy? Still, one has to admire the patriotism shown, though perhaps the purchasing public didn't agree, as eating candy containing photos of dead men might seem a tad morose... especially when many servicemen now fighting abroad probably wouldn't be able to get their hands on such a luxury item as candy, should they even survive the terrors of World War II.

Each card measures 1⅞-inches wide × 3.0-inches high.

As far as is known, these eight hero cards are the only ones in the set, though two of them appear to be more difficult to find than the others... perhaps they came out last and thus had a shorter print run, perhaps implying that either no one cared to collect such morbid faces of death.

The two rare cards are for Private Robert B. Niedzwiecki and for Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd.

The implication of eight cards, however, is that there are a total of four different candy boxes containing these blank-backed cards.

I've seen individually cards priced for US$60... but that might just be for the so-called more common ones.

As well, an auction in 2006 saw the six common cards sold together for US$1,700 and US$600 in 2009 - in which one should assume condition of the cards played a major role - or desperation of the frenzied collector.

The cards don't contain a whole lot of color - just the standard red, white and blue of American patriotism, and are not numbered, containing only the deceased soldier's rank and name.

Not even a birth date, or a place where they were from, or even what their job was or where they were stationed to better honor them.

These candy boxes were pre-scored or folded and have perforations along the edges to allow the gallant collector to more easily remove them from the paperboard candy box packaging.

Happy or sad collecting,
Andrew Joseph

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