I know, in my previous Garbaty post I mentioned that I didn’t plan on getting more of these. But I did set up ebay alerts for a few specific cards and as a result, when I get those notifications I end up poking around those sellers. This time I found a great-looking off-grade lot of ~100 cards that I would’ve been stupid to pass up on.
I’m only going to show the highlights here. The cards scan great and look perfect for my standards. They’re low-grade because they were pasted into an album and as a result the backs have some paper-loss damage. Very few of the cards though are damaged to the point where the paper loss bothers me so I’m very happy with the lot.
We’ll start off with the biggest names. Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich need no introductions. I already had Garbo and Dietrich cards but everyone appears multiple times in the set. I particularly love the Dietrich card where she’s wearing a suit.
A few more recognizable actresses here. Janet Gaynor and Loretta Young were legit stars when this set was released. Myrna Loy before she was a star is dressed up in one of her exotic roles. Ann Sheridan meanwhile hasn’t even changed her name from Clara-Lou. And while Brigitte Helm isn’t a household name, as the star of Metropolis she’ll always be one of my favorites.
The Garbaty set is not just actresses, there are a fair number of athletes as well. Despite the set being focused on their beauty, I think it’s cool that so many athletes are included. It’s easy to forget the long history of women’s sports because of the massive strides that women have made in the last couple decades.
The big name here is Helen Wills-Moody who was a dominant tennis player for two decades. Dorothy Poynton is a multiple gold-medal winning diver. Edith Michaelis is a figure skater (though nowhere near as good as Sonja Henie who is also in the set). Cilly Aussem is a tennis player who reached world number two behind Wills. And Eileen Bennet is also a tennis player who won a few doubles titles but lost to Wills in the two singles finals she reached.
And wrapping things up, a half-dozen cards that caught my interest when I was looking up their subjects on Wikipedia. Conchita Montenegro is an actress and model but the section about her involvement in setting up a meeting between Leslie Howard and Franco is kind of fascinating. Heather Angel is an actress whose husband was killed protecting her during a home invasion.
Kay Francis was a huge star when this set was released but isn’t a name that gets brought up much today when people talk about classic Hollywood stars. Madeleine Carroll was another bona-fide film star who walked away from Hollywood after her sister was killed in World War 2 and became a field nurse who helped wounded servicemen and displaced children. Plenty of Oscar winners in the batch but only one winner of both the Legion d’Honneur and the Medal of Freedom.
Pat Paterson is another actress whose career petered out after World War 2 but in her case her marriage to Charles Boyer had a lot to do with it. And Leopoldine Konstantine primarily worked in Austrian and German films but is also noteworthy for playing Claude Rains’s mother in Notorious.
I’ve got a couple dozen more cards of actresses like Konstantine who worked mainly in their home countries’ film industries but never made it to Hollywood. I feel a little guilty not scanning everything and just focusing on the names I recognize as an American. But since the pop culture aspect is the primary draw I feel to this set, I’ve got to lean in to why I’m interested.
Besides, the scans here give more than enough of a sense of how awesome the set looks all paged up with its colorful portraits and wonderfully textured gold inked borders.* I’ll leave my ebay search up and running though since I still want an Anna May Wong card but I really don’t think I’m going to be jumping on any more lots.
*I’ve also got a couple dozen duplicates (including Ann Sheridan, Helen Wills Moody, and Brigitte Helm) that I need to figure out what to do with .