1936-1939 “Famous Aviator Pictures” (F277-4)
The “Famous Aviator Pictures” series is the most popular of the Heinz cereal sets issued during the 1930s. This series is a collection of beautiful portraits of some the most famous pilots in aviation history. There are actually 30 images associated with this series with four different printings. The first series of “Famous Aviator Pictures, 1st Series” with the printing code 32236, contains the five key cards for the set. We like to refer to these cards as the “Magnificent Five” due to their rarity. The cards are #2 Amelia Earhart, #5 Laura Ingalls, #7 Howard Hughes, #8 Capt. Edmund Musick, and #9 Commander Frank Hawks. These five cards are only included in this first printing. The rumor is that the H. J. Heinz Company failed to obtain the proper permissions from these individuals and the cards were replaced with other aviators on the subsequent printings.
The second series of “Famous Aviator Pictures, 2nd Series” replaced the five cards noted above with #2 “Shorty” Schroeder, #5 Harold Newman, #7 “Dick” Depew, #8 “Bob” Vaughn, and #9 Major de Seversky. The second series is by far much easier to collect than the first series. During recent years we have seen individual cards of the “Magnificent Five” go for $1000 or more on eBay. So if you want to collect the entire collection, don't be shocked by the price tag. This F277-4 series was actually a companion set to the F277-1 “Famous Airplane Pictures” set. The cards measure 1⅞ × 3 inches. The American Card Catalog reference number for this series is F277-4.
There were multiple printings of this series during from 1936 to 1939. There were four distinct printings. The printing sequence number appears on the Backs of the cards in the lower right hand corner. The four printings are 32236, 13137, 22738, and 0969. “32236” means that the cards were printed on the 322nd day of 1936. “13137” translates to the 137th day of 1937, etc. The first series (#32236) is the key and contains the “Magnificent Five.” The Backs of the cards contain a brief biography of the aviator along with a free album offer from the H.J. Heinz Company. If you are a “Purist” collector, be prepared to collect at 100 cards for the series and spend a lot of money.
H. J. Heinz “Famous Aviator Pictures, 1st Series (#32236)” (F277-4a) Image-Guide
H. J. Heinz “Famous Aviator Pictures, 2nd Series (#3137, #22738, #0969)” (F277-4b) Image-Guide
“Famous Air Pilots” Album (#32236)
It is interesting to note that the album for this series contains the same print code #32236 as the series 1 cards which contain the “Magnificent Five.” Even though they share the same print code, the “Magnificent Five” are not included in the album. Details of the 16-page #32236 album are shown below.
A very special thanks to Albert B. Kramer, President of Roll-EZ Wheels Inc., for loaning us his Famous Aviators collection to scan. "Click" on Al's card below visit their website and store.
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