Sunday, November 30, 2008

New Pick Up

I went for a trip to the local antique mall with my wife this afternoon and picked up a nice little piece.

There are several very attractive advertising peices for Tuxedo Tobacco which feature several different stars of the deadball era, most notably Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. I've included images of two ads featuring these two hurlers for reference here.

No, I didn't find one of these advertising pieces. That would've been like hitting the lottery. But I did see a familiar looking item up on a top shelf of a vendors stall.
There, mixed in with a bunch of uninteresting items, way up on the top shelf, was a Tuxedo Tobacco Tin. The exact same tin that is featured in these ads. This one is a bit damaged, rusted, dented, etc., but I just had to have it.

So, I wanted to share my new pick up with you and see what you think. Let me know, leave me a comment of shoot me an email. These tins aren't worth a whole lot, but I don't usually see the Tuxedo ones at the antique malls that I've been in. It was a nice little thrill on a rainy day, when it was just my wife and I spending some time together.

Enjoy the hobby all, it's a really neat one...

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Great T206 Back Stamp Project

I am very happy to be making the Official Announcement of my new project to you all...

The Great T206 Back Stamp Project

For a long time now I have been very interested in the various stamps that appear on the reverse of many T206s. If you follow my blog then you know that I have recently picked up several cards with my favorite type of back stamp, the purple number stamp, and that I have decided to focus my T206 adventure primarily on only picking up new cards that have a stamp on them.

Well, I have also decided to begin documenting all of the various back stamps that I come across along the way, whether I ultimately own them or not is of no concern here. So, with the help of all of you and all other collectors who are introduced to the project, I hope to create a database of as many examples as we can. I'm hoping some interesting patterns may emerge and some cool stamps will be found.

My purple number stamps are already featured as their own type within the project, and I have another type coming soon (with an unbelievable number of examples collected already). This is just one way that I am enjoying this wonderful hobby. And I'm hoping that my fellow collectors will join me in this adventure.

There are two online parts to this project; the BLOG and the WEBSITE.

The Blog: The blog is where all new cards will be posted. Any updates to the project will be posted here whether it is a new card, or the announcement that a new type has been determined and a new page added to the website.

The website: This is where I will be archiving all of the images that I get. I'm hoping that my fellow collectors will participate and send me scans, whether you own the card or just find the image somewhere.

Please take a moment to check out both parts of the project and let your collector friends know about it too. The more people that participate, the more amazing the archives will be.

Enjoy the hobby all, there are so many ways...

Monday, November 10, 2008

One "Big Four" Deserves Another

Our friends over at Sports Collectors Daily have just posted a story about another of the "Big Four" cards from the T206 set, the Doyle Nat'l error card.

I just can't rob their story, so here's the link to their story.

I did want to mention, however, that this is one of the many bits of hobby knowledge that you should really have if you are going to be taking part in the vintage baseball card hobby.

Some unscrupulous sellers might try to pass of the several other Doyle cards that say Nat'l on them as the very and coveted error version. Below is a little visual for you.

Notice that all three of these Doyle cards have the same caption at the bottom: DOYLE, N.Y. NAT'L.

Some beginning collectors may have heard of the super rare Doyle error that says Nat'l on it and be fooled by one of these cards. Now look at the more common version of the Doyle that has an error.

Notice that this version does not have the NAT'L after the N.Y.
This is the common version. Feel free to try to find the error out there in the hobby somewhere. Really. I mean it. Good luck. Let me know if you ever find it. Ever.

The late great Larry Fritsch, one of the great hobby veterans, the first full time mail order dealer spent years looking at hundreds, if not thousands, of Doyle's in search of one before he found a single example. And that was before the rest of the hobby was privy to the fact that it was an error. In other words, nobody else was seeking it or keeping it from him because they thought the one they had was rare. It just doesn't show up anywhere.

I'm very excited to see this one is going to be auctioned off in an upcoming REA auction. I can't wait to see what it brings when the hammer drops.

Enjoy the hobby all, it's a great one...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Another New Wagner!

Wow, people, another new T206 Honus Wagner has entered our hobby.

Philip Weiss Auctions of Long Island, NY will be auctioning off a newly discovered example of the iconic card commonly referred to as "Holy Grail" of the baseball card world. Following is the description from their website:

Honus Wagner. T-206. Graded. SGC Graded Honus Wagner 3. This is a Golden Opportunity to own a "Fresh to the Market " example of the "Holy Grail" of Baseball cards. Found in the basement of an Oceanside home, this card has been in the possession of the same family since it was printed. It is impossible to say how many more of these reside unknown in basements or attics but now is the chance to add this to your collection. With the price of this card steadily on the rise, do not miss this opportunity to purchase a beautiful example of this card. Please view the scans carefully or examine in person, some believe this might even be graded on the conservative side.

They have estimated the value between $500,000 and $900,000, which seems like a pretty big spread if you ask me. It is a very nice example of this card, which is usually found with several flaws commonly in the form of multiple creases. Click here to see the actual listing.

Just for fun, here is a link to a nice collection of images of the Wagner card: The Wagner Gallery

The lesson here is to always keep your hope alive, you just might find the next big hobby gem in your neck of the woods someday.

Enjoy the hobby all, it's a super one...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A New Book

There is a new book available out there that is related to our super hobby of prewar cards.

It's written by a collector and is available for purchase on Click here to get to the ordering info. It's called "A Card's Life" and was written by John Dreker. I haven't read it yet, but plan to order a copy and check it out.

I just figured that some off you might be interested and would check it out. The description below is taken directly from

The life of two old baseball cards and the boy who owned them as told by the cards themselves. A Card's Life follows the joys and sadness of these two baseball cards as they grow old together,the baseball stories they tell,and the ones they embellish. It leads you from their very creation up until modern day as they follow the life of the young boy who cherished them,and his family.

Enjoy the hobby all...

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Nice Find at the Antique Mall

I want to start out by apologizing about the long break between posts recently. My pc got a virus and it took a little while to clean it up. I didn't want to do anything on it until it was taken care of and that meant no posting for a couple weeks. It's all better now, thanks for sticking with me.


I was at a local antique mall recently and came across this wonderful item.

Now, I know this isn't my regular thing here, it's not prewar, it's not a card, but it is a cigar box so that's got to count for something.

It's a Pedro Ramos endorsed hand made cigars box from the 60's. It is in wonderful condition with no real damage, just a bit of minor aging issues such as some dirty areas.

I thought this was a great item, but it just doesn't fit in my collection. So I decided to see if anyone else was interested and low and behold I found someone wanted it. I was so happy. This other collector agreed to cover the cost of the box from the dealer at the antique mall and the shipping and I agreed to go back and pick it up for him and ship it out.

Then something of interest happened. I received an email from another collector letting me know that he would be happy to pay me more than three times what the other guy was going to pay me for the box. Well, I had already agreed to get it for the other guy. After all, I wasn't selling the box myself, I just thought it was a cool piece and since it didn't fit my collection, someone else might have the same interest I did in it. I let the second guy know that it was already claimed and thanked him for is offer and then asked him if the box was worth a lot as I had no idea about the value. He let me know that it is in fact a very difficult box and that it would probably sell for 10 times what the antiques dealer was selling it for.

How cool is that! I was very happy to have helped out the other guy and he let me know that he really just thought it was a cool box and wanted to put it on a shelf in his office. So remember people, there are good deals out there if you are keeping your eyes open and look around, and there are good people out there in this hobby too. Try to be one of the good people. It makes being part of the hobby so much more fun.
Enjoy the hobby all...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Have I Done It?

Have I finally done it, after all these years?

Have I finally found what has been missing from my collection for so long?

I think I just may have folks. I think I finally have...Focus! What started it all? Well, I have been very interested in T206's that have a specific type of stamp on the back that was likely put on them by a collector long ago. The stamps are dark purple numbers like the one pictured here. I first saw this stamp years ago and always wished I had bought the card. When I saw another one a while ago on eBay, I snatched it up and my interest was renewed when I got it in hand.

Recently a flood of them showed up eBay again, all from the same seller. I was in the middle of my move when one of them appeared again and, with the help of a fellow collector, I was able to acquire it. I was very excited to add another specimen to my collection. I now had two of them!

When I saw another one posted on the Full Count message boards, I just about lost it. I asked about it and was informed that the seller had just sold a whole bunch of them on eBay and I had missed them all! I was crushed. I actually contacted the buyers to see if any of them would be so kind as to help me with my goal of collecting these stamped cards but none of them responded (yet, I'm still hoping).

I did notice that three of the one the seller listed didn't sell and I contacted them to see if they were still available. Not only did the seller still have these three, but they had two more to offer me as well. I snatched up all five of them and now had seven of them.

It was at this point when the inspiration for focus hit me. I was now very willing to let go a lot of the cards I already had in my collection in order to turn them into cards that would fit my new focus. So this is what I have decided...

For the next year, I will focus and only pick up new cards that fit into the following categories:

1. T206 : with the purple numbers stamped on back

2. T206 : with any other actual stamp on the back, not just some ink stain or mark

3. T206 : HOFers

4. All Jersey City players from any set

5. W572

6. W516-1 : with Becker Prize backs

7. R318 Batter Ups

8. All Remar sets

9. Prewar Horizontal Cards

Well, at least it's somewhat focused isn't it? I think it gives me a nice way to pick up T206s, of course the Jersey City players have to be in there and the others give me a chance to pick up cards of players from many different years and periods resulting in a nice player selection.

I'm very interested in the stamp backed T206s if any of you have any and would be kind enough to help me out in my pursuits. hint hint.

Wish me luck in my new quest. It's going to be tough for me to stick to these parameters, but I think this will make my collection even more enjoyable for the next year. I'll also try to post more often when I do add something new.

Enjoy the hobby all, it's a great one...

Tolstoi card above is not mine

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Huggins & Scott : Oct. 22-23, 2008

The current Huggins & Scott auction has just opened for bidding and I wanted to highlight a few lots that I particularly like in this one.

Personally, I like Huggins & Scott auctions because they offer a very nice variety of lots that span several budgets for collectors. They have some extremely nice stuff as well as some lower grade stuff that you just don't find in the major auctions like REA and Mastro.

For example, lot number 704: 1909-1911 T206 White Border Near Set (520/524) - Missing the Big Four. This is a wonderful collection of the monster with all but the four toughest cards present, but they aren't all in high grade. There are a lot of cards in beater shape including a Cobb with holes in it and several other HOFers with paperloss on the fronts. But what a great group of cards! This set has the many other tough cards including the O'Hara and Demmitt St. Louis and Elberfeld Washington examples.

Another extremely nice lot is number 55: 1910-11 T3 Turkey Red Cabinets Addie Joss Proof SGC Authentic. This is one of my favorite images of Joss and the T3's are simply georgous cards.

This example isn't just a T3 though, it's a proof for crying out loud. It's in great condition with unreal colors and clarity displaying the printer's marks at the centers of the edges and a blank name plate at the bottom. What a spectacular looking card.

How many of these proofs could have survived from this set? And of those, how many are Hall of Famers? In my opinion, this is a very important card.

I can't post about highlights from this auction without mentioning the big ticket item affectionatley known as "The Matchless Ball". This is a game-used ball from the 1934 All-Star game that is signed by a myriad of stars. Babe Ruth signed in his usual sweet spot space and other signers include Foxx, Simmons, Walter Johnson, Ben Chapman, Joe Cronin, Gehringer, Gehrig and others for a total of twenty signatures.

This is simply a dream ball for me. The usage that is displayed and the star power that graces the leather make this ball very important in the history of the game. The strenght of the actually signatures does not detract anything as far as importance for me. I can just imagine this ball being passed around after the game and each player happily penning his name on it while smiling and talking about the game. I wish I could afford this ball, but I will be happy to simply have an image of it on my blog.

There are many other great lots in this auction, so please check it out here. I just wanted to mention of couple of pieces that I really liked.

Enjoy the hobby all, it's a wonderful one...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Pick-Ups - From Philly Show

Okay all, here are some pics of what I was able to pick up at the show last weekend.

I'm very excited about this first item as it knocks another Jersey City card off of my list. I've been wanting this T201 fairly bad for about a year now but just haven't found one that I really liked for a good price. This one was just right for me and I snatched it up from Clean Sweep the minute I saw it.

It's an example picturing William Abstien (1b) on the front and John Butler (c) when it's folded over. I've always heard that these are fairly thin fragile cards so I've been wanting to see for myself when I picked this card up. While it is thinner and more susceptible to creasing than other cards of the era that I am familiar with, it's not as thin as I had originally thought. I can see why there are a lot of examples with bad damage around the crease from being folded in the past though.

This being the only Jersey City card in the entire T201 set, I have finished this set's checklist. Woohoo!

Moving on...
Here is a new T206 with a back stamp. You'll be hearing a bit more about my fascination with these cards in an upcoming post, but now I'll say that I was quite happy to pick up this fine example ot Nichols.

As you can see there is a large H stamped on the reverse. It appears that the stamper wasn't pleased with his first attempt and decided to stamp another two times.

Next we have a couple more 1949 Remars, Loyd Christopher and Bud Foster. These cards are not exactly difficult to find, but I really like the fact that they represent the Oakland Oaks Pacific Coast League team of the late forties and early fifties. Plus the 1949 set has a nice card of Billy Martin and the '46 and '47 sets have Casey Stengel in them. I'm finding these cards fun to collect because they are so affordable and I can pick them up now then for something different than my usual pick-ups.

This last pick-up is very special to me.

I've been picking up cards with a certain type of back stamp for a while now and I was able to pick this one up from a very nice hobby veteran named Ted Zanidakis. He is very knowledgable when it comes to the T206 set in particular and has completed the set several times and handled thousands and thousands of T206's in his time in the hobby.

This Mike Powers example has a rare Hindu back with a purple number 42 stamped on it. I love T206's with these purple number stamps on them (again, more about this in an upcoming post). I've also always loved the Powers cards, so this is a happy addition to my collection.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my new pick-ups. I had a really great time at the show and hope to make it to many more in the future. I feel lucky to live close enough to drive to the show for a day and still make it home afterwards.

Enjoy the hobby all, it's a great one...

Pics of the Month :: September 2008

I hope you enjoy this month's pics everyone. I almost missed the end of the month again, sorry about that. Please let me know if there are any players you would like to see some pics of and I'll try to locate some of them for you

Whoa! Everything is spinning....I'm feeling Dizzy!

Dizzy Dean, Cardinals 1934 World Series against Detroit

Dizzy Dean, 1936

Dizzy Dean 1934 - 37

Enjoy the hobby all, it's a great one...

All pics were borrowed from

Saturday, September 27, 2008

100th Philly Show - A Great Time Was Had

Ever since I knew I was going to be moving back east from CA, I was hoping to get a chance to go to the Ft. Washington Show.

If you've never heard of this show, you should check out the website here, especially if you live withing a few hours drive of Reading, PA. I know what you're thinking, "Philly Show, Ft. Washington Show, Reading, PA? Which is it man?" The show has moved around a little bit since it started in 1975, so it's been known as a few different names. You can read a little about it on their website.

I got a chance to go to the show last night and it was awesome. There were a lot of national dealers in attendance as well as many auction houses including Mastro, Huggins & Scott, Clean Sweep, Hunt, American Memorabilia, and Heritage Galleries. PSA and SGC were there taking submissions while GAI had a space reserved but nobody was there.

Now, I had heard that this show was a treasure trove of vintage cards and memorabilia, but I had no idea what I was in store for. There was so much stuff that I almost didn't make it through the whole show in the three and half hours that I was there. I walked around slowly taking it all in, the cards, the gloves, the game used jerseys and bats, the pennants, the programs, vintage hats, Spalding guides, trophies....I could go on and on for a while here, but I'll spare you the boring reading part and move on.

I was able to pick up a few things on my wantlist, which is very exciting for me. I'll scan them and get you some images to look at soon. I wanted to get a quick post in today while everything was still fresh from last night. I wish I could go back, but I don't have the time the rest of the weekend. I'll try to post again tonight, or tomorrow with some images and some more details about the trip.

Enjoy the hobby all, it's a fantastic one...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

T206 Horizontal Subset

When I first started getting into prewar cards, I was naturally drawn to the T206 set for it's colorful lithography, the shear size of the set and it's availability.

After beginning to learn about the set and after looking at hundreds of images of different cards, I found that I was very much drawn to the horizontal poses in the set. I found out that there are 6 cards in the set in a horizontal format. They are: Birmingham, Mullin, Murphy, Pattee, Pelty and Powell. I decided rather quickly that I wanted to obtain this subset of six cards.

I found that there seemed to be a little premium attached to them and I figured there were just a lot of other collectors that had the same goal as I did. That didn't surprise. I later found out that not only is the Pattee a very attractive card (which I had always thought was why it costs a bit more than the others) but it is also from the 150 subjects only group. The Pelty card is also from this group. Cards from this group, which consists of only 11 (possibly 12) cards from the entire set, are a bit tougher to find than the other cards.

Of note, the Pattee card is theorized to have been omitted from the set after the first series because his last year in the majors was 1908. I must say, this sounds like a pretty good theory to me. What a nice image though, one of my favorites in the entire set. (Another of my favorites from the set, coincidentally, is the Mike Powers card which is also a 150-only card).

I was finally able to complete this little subset a little over a year ago. Of course, I could have done it much quicker, but I kept wanting to pick up different cards and so I added a new one every now and then. I do love seeing all six of them together and thought you might like to see them as well.

Thanks for sharing these with me everyone. Enjoy the hobby everyone, it's a good one...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jersey City Skeeters in Training

I grew up in New Jersey and I love this state. So when I first started learning about Prewar cards, I was thrilled to find that Jersey City had a minor league team that was represented in the T206 set. In fact, the first Prewar card I ever bought was a T206 Hannifan, Jersey City.

I am always looking to add to my Jersey City collection and was very excited to have found this original cabinet photo of a couple of players (or at least one player) from the Jersey City Skeeters in Bermuda. The mount is in terrible shape, but as you can see, the photo itself is mostly intact with just the top right corner affected by the damage.

I was fortunate enough to have added this item to my collection a while ago and wanted to share it with you all. It is one my favorite items in my collection to this point. If you can help me identify the people in the photo I would very much appreciate it.

Also, written on the mount is "Burmuda" which is why I said the photo was taken there. Did teams, and specifically minor league teams, travel to the islands for games or training back then? I need to put some time into researching this a bit.

Enjoy the hobby all, it's a great one...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Not Exactly Prewar, But...

Okay, so this post isn't about prewar cards in particular, but it is about the
hobby. The entire hobby.

While going through a bunch of old boxes of stuff that I had stored away, I happened upon some interesting cards. A few of them are pictured at here. I couldn't remember where the heck these came from and I just sort of put them aside and kept rummaging through the box.

It wasn't until I actually flipped one of them over that I realized where I had picked these beauties up. It was at the 5th National Convention at the Aspen Hotel in Parsippany, New Jersey!

My family had just recently moved to New Jersey from Michigan and I was still a youngster. My dad took my brother and I to a "baseball card show" and I remember being completely floored when we got there. It was so huge I was actually a little scared to walk in at first. After a while however I was buzzing from table to table amazed to see actual Donruss rookies of Donnie Baseball.

I had no idea there was even a period of baseball cards called Prewar. I had never heard of a caramel card and wouldn't have known who Walter Johnson was if someone asked. This was 1984 though, the Prewar market wasn't like it is today (at least that's what I have gleaned from hobby veterans over the years).

I never knew I had been to National. I guess I didn't remember that part of the show. So all these years later, I have been reminded of this wonderful experience and wisened to the fact that I have, in fact, been to a National Convention in the past. And all because of the backs of these cards that I saved all these years in a box.

I love this hobby, Enjoy it everyone...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Card Shops

Well, I've been back in Jersey for about a month and have already found two local card shops and another store that has some cards but mostly vintage toys and kids stuff from the 70's and 80's.

Not a whole lot of vintage cards to be found however. The oldest were 50's Topps, which I do like, but nothing prewar. I didn't really think I would find any prewar stuff in a card store although I always ask the owner just in case. I actually had a guy in Colorado once look at me like I was an idiot when I asked him and he asked me to name some cards that I was talking about. When I rattled off a bunch of sets he just said no and went back to talking to his regular customer about shiny new stuff.

I really like card shops, even if they don't have a lot of vintage stuff. I do collect more than just prewar cards and I can find some things in local shops that I want. I'm working on a 1954 Topps set, 1975 Set, 1981 Set and several other regionals, but I can also always pick up supplies from a local shop and I just like to chat with the owner's and be around cards. If you're addicted like me, then you know what I'm talking about.

I do have to ask the question, "Why are so many card shops such cluttered messes?" Seriously, one of the shops near here looks like it was once a big bustling city made of sportscards and supplies (and mail?) that was recently bombed and hit with rockets and now looks like it is in ruin. Completely unorganized piles (or piles that have toppled) of cards on top of random half full boxes of supplies next to old issues of Beckett... You know what I'm talking about. If you ever have, or currently do, own a shop and it was like this, please let me know why. I'm very curious. Rest assured though that the mess does not bother me at all, I rather enjoy the hunt through it all to find the one 1975 Topps card that I can use for my set buried under a bunch of basketball cards.

If you are near any card shops, please support them and give them some of your business. I know that better deals are found elsewhere a lot of the times, but local card shops are a great thing and I feel that part of being active in the hobby, and making a contribution to it, is supporting the local shops. So let them know how nice it is to have them around and thank the owner for being there.

With that, enjoy the hobby all, it's a great one...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pics of the Month - August 2008

Presented for your enjoyment, Pics of the Month: August 2008.

Pete Alexander, 1917

Edd Roush, 1920 (left) 1927 (right)

Wally Schang Phil. A's Catcher 1913 - 14

Heinie Groh, Reds 3b Ya gotta love that bat.

Enjoy the hobby all...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm Back!

Just a quick note to anyone who follows my blog.

My wife, daughter and I have made it across the country safely and are in the process of settling in to our new place in Jersey. I'll try to get some new posts up in the coming days (I have a couple ideas waiting to be written) but for now, I just wanted to say hello and say....I'm Back.

I'd really like to thank everyone who checks out this blog. It means a lot to me to see that people are reading. Please keep checking back with me as I continue to spill my thoughts on this amazing hobby and email me any thoughts you may have about it as well.

I'll post again soon, 'til then --- Enjoy the hobby all!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Great New Site

This post is going to be short and sweet, but if you are into prewar baseball cards, and most likely are if you are reading this, then you have to check out this new site.

Baseball & Tobacco

Tobacco pack expert Jon Canfield has put together the most comprehensive site dedicated to the packaging that our little lovable cards came from. He has images for most of the packs that you can think of, with only the most extremely rare examples missing.

Please take a look at it and enjoy all the work Jon has done on this site. This is an amazing addition to the reference library of all prewar baseball card collectors.

Thank you Jon for all of your hardwork.

Enjoy the hobby all...

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Nice Surprise From My Wife

My wife is a great woman. She is probably the only person alive who truly knows how much I love prewar baseball cards and baseball history and all of this stuff.

When I came home from work on Friday (my last day before our big move) she surprised me with a wonderful little gift. First she had gone to the post office to mail a couple of packages for me, that was a gift in itself, and second she had picked up these awesome new stamps that the post office has issued.

These things are so cool! They are the post offices way of celebrating the 100th anniversary of Jack Norworth's "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" song.

My first thought was, "Wow, these really have a nice authentic 19th century look to them". And then, while checking out one of my usual hobby message boards, I came across a post by a very knowledgable member with a most amazing revelation...

The image IS an authentic 19th century picture.

Fantastic! I'm telling you people, I will never cease to be amazed by the people in this hobby.

Post Frequency :: Stick With Me Guys

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to say a little something to anyone who checks out my blog from time to time. I wish I could post more regularly for you, I really do, and I hate excuses myself, but I really just haven't found enough time to give you new material all the time. I know, that's pretty lame, but it's true.

Part of it because I have been working six days a week for the last year and half and going to school at night for the past 2 years. Another part is my wonderful two and half year old daughter. She is wonderful, and she takes precedent over any hobby.

That said, I try to find some time to post as often as I can, and I hope that those of who enjoy my blog will stick with me as I continue grow with it and continue to follow my journey in this wonderful hobby. I promise that I will make every effort to continue to update as often as I can and I will try not to throw a bunch of fluff at you just to have an update. I try to post interesting material when I do update.

Now, my family and I will be moving from wine country California to beautiful central New Jersey, the same place that I grew up in. I'm very excited about this, my wife a bit less so, but she is warming up to the idea. This will obviously put a slight crimp in my plans to post more often, at least for the time being as we move.

I have a couple posts in the pipeline right now and will have them both published by tomorrow night for you, but then my next update will not be for a couple of weeks. Please check back with me after that and keep coming back. And please, let me know if there is anything you would like to see me post about; collector spotlights, specific sets, whatever you can think of is great.

Anyway, thank you so much for all of you who visit me here. I really enjoy doing this and hope that you do to.

Enjoy the hobby everyone, it's a great one...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Obaks and the Purple Stamps

Obaks are a wonderful little group of tobacco cards that were produced between 1909 and 1911 and they represent players from the Pacific Coast League and the Northwestern League.

They are known for having some extremely beautiful and colorful images on them. However, I wanted to talk a bit about something on the backs of many of them. It appears to be very common for a 1910 Obak to have a purple ink stamp on the back. Sometimes these stamps are actually legible, but most of the time I have found them to be more of an ink blotch that an actual stamp.

What are these stamps from? I'm sure there are stamps on Obaks that are not purple, and may be something specific, but the vast majority of the stamps I see on them are this exact color purple. In the image above there seems to be a 7 at the top left. Is that the beginning of a date stamp? I seem to remember seeing date stamps in this purple color, but I also seem to remember an actual name stamped as well.

Sometimes the stamp is barely there too. The example on the left has the purple ink on it, but it looks like nothing in particular. If someone were stamping the backs of their cards for some reason, wouldn't they want it to actually be a decent stamp? This stamp is pointless. It just defaces the back of the card.
I know that when these cards were issued, and even into the 1960's, collecting baseball cards wasn't a big hobby. People didn't care what condition their cards were in like they do now with grading and flipping and the whole investment side of the hobby. But why would someone just ink up the back of Obaks?

Was it just one person with a purple stamp? Was it done at the printer's factory? Was it one collector's way of labelling his own cards? And why do they show up on the 1910 series more than the other two? The 1909's are so rare, maybe they just weren't as plentiful back then, and therefore our purple stamp afficianado may not have collected them. But if he was so into the 1910's that he wanted to stamp them all, why not continue with the 1911 series when they came out?

Have you ever noticed these stamps? Do you know what they are or can you give me any insight into them at all? Do you have one that is very legible to share with me? Let me see it, send me a scan.

Here's a few more to see. Click on them to see the larger images.

Click on "comments" below to leave me a comment please.
Enjoy the hobby all...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Huggins & Scott :: Cobb Star Player w/ Barker Stamp

What's in a name?

Everyone has one, and everyone knows someone elses, but no one knows them all. If you share an interest with others, then chances are pretty good that you will both know many of the same names, even if you don't actually know the people.

Baseball fans all know the name Babe Ruth, however they don't all know the name Snake Wiltse (Hooks' brother who also had some major league experience). Similarly, in our wonderful hobby, most people, whether vintage or modern collector, know the name Al Rosen (it's forced on us all), but not everyone knows Charles "Buck" Barker.

Buck was a hobby pioneer and he gave us all more than we can imagine. He worked with Jefferson Burdick, the father of the American Card Catalog (ACC), in the infancy of the hobby. He helped identify and catalog card issues and, in fact, recalled that none of the other editors of the ACC contributed to the "R" and "W" sections of the ACC, but that he compiled them and Burdick made corrections.

In the Huggins & Scott Auction closing tonight and tomorrow night, there is a card that once belonged to Mr. Barker. We know this because he politely stamped his name and address on the reverse of the card. He did this quite often as cards from his collection do show up out of the shadows for sale once in a while.

As you can see in the image, the stamp is very clear and complete. Now, it's not just that this is a card with Buck's stamp on it, although I think that is awesome enough by itself. No, this is significant because this is not some ordinary card.

This card is a particularly rare 1928 Star Player Candy card of Ty Cobb. This is a card depicting Cobb in his final season as a ball player when he was playing for the A's. The description offered by Huggins & Scott suggested that this card is "perhaps also the scarcest of all Cobb cardboard relics".

The description goes on to say, "A hobby mystery for decades, exceptionally few examples of any card from this uncatalogued series have surfaced". What I find odd is that the series was uncatalogued while Buck Barker had one in his collection. I have to assume he acquired it after the final printing of the ACC.

I know I'm not the only one who appreciates this card for the fact that Barker once owned it. There are several people out there who, in addition to collecting cards, also collect ephemera such as correspondence from hobby pioneers like Burdick and Barker. This card is currently sitting with 27 bids at $5,500.00 and the bidding stops at 11:30pm tonight. Let's see where it ends.

I love this hobby...

Pics of the Week - slight change

What was I thinking? A post every week of just pics? It would be a great idea of I posted every day and the pics were mixed in with a bunch of other posts, but let's be honest here, I don't post every day. Don't get me wrong, I'd be happy to post that often, however I just don't have the time right now to devote to posting.

With my average post coming once a week, my blog would turn into a big prewar-pic love fest. (Not that there's anything wrong with that) But that's not what my blog is all about.

So, we'll have a Pics of the Month post instead. And I'll try to make it an enjoyable monthly feature with some great images. I'd still like to hear from you, so please let me know what pics you'd like to see and I'll do my best to please.

Anyway, sorry for the momentary lapse of reason and I'll work on not letting that happen too often.

Enjoy the hobby all...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pics of the Week

Here is a new idea for the blog everyone. I'm going to put up a few pics related to the players and times (and the game of course) that are depicted on the cards we love.

Each week, I will pick a few images that I find on the web and share them with whoever is checking back with me here. I love these old photos of baseball back when it was all about the game, not the money or endorsements. Back when Ty Cobb would hide the ball in his pants after a dirt cloud slide into third, and while everyone was looking for it he would race home for a run. Back when Fred Merkle forgot to touch second and Johnny Evers knew it.

So without further adieu, I present the first Pics of the Week...

April 23, 1915, League Park, Cleveland, Joe Jackson sliding, Jimmy Austin is playing 3B, George Hildebrand is Umpire

Tris Speaker, September 28, 1912

One of my favorite players - Hal ChaseHal Chase, N.Y. Highlanders 1B - 1911

What a character this guy was...Rube Waddell, St. Louis Browns' P, 1908-09

Please feel free to let me know if there is any player you would like to see a picture of and I will try to accomodate you. I hope this is a well received idea and I hope the people that I am borrowing images from don't mind. None of the images are mine, so I'm certainly not taking credit for them.

Enjoy the hobby all...