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...