Figuring Out the Checklist of the Rare c. 1953-1954 Mascot Dog Food Card Set

By Chuck Whisman, Wheatland Auction Services, August 24, 2020

It was just a couple of years ago when I received a text from an antique dealer friend with photos of two baseball cards.  The photos included Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra baseball cards that I had never seen before.  He needed a quick opinion on the value as he had an opportunity to acquire them at a flea market.  At first glance, they seemed like they could be fantasy cards (recently manufactured cards that look like vintage cards, and usually depicting obscure food brands).

Based on my recommendation, he took the chance and decided to buy the two cards and figure out if they were real later – it seemed like it was worth the chance and I offered my help on the research side.  No Mascot Dog Food cards were ever sold in a searchable sports auction or any internet sale, as I exhausted all of my online search and auction sales tools. PSA, Beckett, and SGC had never graded any Mascot Dog Food Cards.  My initial research was leading me to believe that they may have been fantasy cards, but then a friend found the Mascot Dog Food baseball card set noted in an old baseball card price guide (the old thick catalogue of vintage cards).  Only the Robin Roberts card was known to exist (as a photo of Roberts appeared in the price guide with no other cards mentioned and no checklist).  The price guide erroneously noted the Robin Roberts as a 1955 card but Beckett was confident that it was more likely from 1952-1954. When I later found an original card set with the envelope postmarked 1954, we knew the 1952-1954 date range made sense.

Antique paper experts helped confirm the vintage stock of the cards, and the fronts and backs of the cards matched the Robin Roberts card.  I researched Mascot Dog Food but information was limited.  I found an old dog food can label and information that the dog food was made in New Jersey, near the location on the back of the cards for Mascot Products (Philadelphia, PA).  After figuring out more information about the cards and dog food company, Beckett graded the Mantle and Berra cards and they were sold at auction by Wheatland Auction Services, Lancaster, PA. The Mantle BVG 1.5 sold for $23,600 and the Berra BVG 1.5 for $4,720, both prices exceeding expectations, but the sky is always the limit for first to the market vintage cards, especially of such iconic legends.  The cards were part of a redemption program, as the back of the cards mention that you send a dog food can label and 25 cents to receive an 8”x10” in-action player photo, a membership badge, and the set of baseball cards.  Some of the card backs mention an 8-card set, while others mention an 11-card set.

The discovery of the set received some positive press coverage, and over the past two years I’ve been contacted by two families who own cards from the set.  One family owns all 11 cards in the set, while the other family owns 10 of the 11 cards, plus the original envelope that they came in along with the 8”x10” photo of Robin Roberts and the membership badge and pin (the badge displays Robin Roberts with a message from the Hall of Famer).  The Roberts membership card was numbered 1117, suggesting that maybe they mailed out at least 1,117 sets.

As shown in the photo above, the Yogi Berra Mascot card is the same photo as his 1950 Bowman card.  The Mantle Mascot card is a famous Don Wingfield photograph that was used for the 1951 Wheaties Premium.  It appears that the first year of the promotion likely included 8 subjects in the set, then three more big-name subjects (Mantle, Hodges, and Newcombe) were added likely midway into the first year of the promotion or into year two, which accounted for the mention of 11 cards in the set on three cards.  Below is the checklist, along with the number of known examples of each subject that I have been able to confirm.

  1. Yogi Berra, New York Yankees (8 Cards Mentioned on Back) – 3 Known Examples
  2. Bucky Harris, Washington Senators (8 Cards Mentioned on Back) – 1 Known Example
  3. Monte Irvin, New York Giants (8 Cards Mentioned on Back) – 2 Known Examples
  4. Ed Lopat, New York Yankees (8 Cards Mentioned on Back) – 2 Known Examples
  5. Eddie Matthews, Milwaukee Braves (8 Cards Mentioned on Back) – 2 Known Examples
  6. Robin Roberts, Philadelphia Phillies (8 Cards Mentioned on Back) – 3 Known Examples
  7. Al “Flip” Rosen, Cleveland Indians (8 Cards Mentioned on Back) – 2 Known Examples
  8. Geo. “Specs” Toporcer, Rochester Red Wings (8 Cards Mentioned on Back) – 2 Known Examples
  9. Gil Hodges, Brooklyn Dodgers (11 Cards Mentioned on Back) – 2 Known Examples
  10. Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees (11 Cards Mentioned on Back) – 3 Known Examples
  11. Don Newcombe, Brooklyn Dodgers (11 Cards Mentioned on Back) – 2 Known Examples
  12. Note – known examples are based on information known as of August 2020

If anyone has any additional information about Mascot Dog Food or the promotional items discussed in this story please contact  We’ve included photo of the 11 cards in the set below!