Saturday, May 26, 2012

Prewar Hobby :: Things You Should Know

If you are going to be in the prewar baseball card hobby there are many things you should know. A broad knowledge of the hobby can only help you as you embark on your endeavor.

There are many collectors out there who have been in the hobby for years who may still not know anything about cards from sets that they don't collect. They may be extremely knowledgeable about the sets they do collect, and I think that is great, but when it comes to other sets they may not know a thing. I think it's always good to know as much as possible, even if you don't collect certain cards.

Before going any further, let me be clear by saying that I am not an expert in any prewar set. I do however know a decent amount about these cards in a broad sense. And I just wanted to share some of the basic stuff that you should know if you're going to collect prewar cards. Many of you may think this is all common knowledge and you may already know all of it, but this is more for those collectors who may be new to the hobby or just never heard of some of this stuff.

Let's begin with the 1909-11 T206 set, also know to collectors as "The Monster".  It's a big set at 524 cards.  I'm not going to get into too much detail here about this set as books have been written about it already.  I just want to touch on some of the main points.

Image courtesy
Many people consider their sets complete at 520 cards due to the difficulty in obtaining the last four cards conveniently known as "The Big Four".  These include the following:
  1. Honus Wagner - The Holy Grail of baseball cards. This is a rare card and estimates vary regarding how many exist. For this post I will say there are around 50 of them out there.
  2. Eddie Plank - Another rare card in the set.  I don't have an estimate for how many of these are out there.
  3. Sherry Magee (Magie) error card - Magee's name was misspelled early on in the print run as Magie and was caught quickly and corrected.  The resulting error card is a tough one to come by, but not nearly as difficult as Wagner or Plank.
  4. Joe Doyle, NY Nat'l - I did a post about this card in 2008, you can read it HERE.
Another fact you should know about the T206 set is that there are 16 different brands advertised on the reverse of the cards.  Not all fronts can be found with all the different backs however.  The sixteen brands are (in alphabetical order, not scarcity order):

Image courtesy
  1. American Beauty
  2. Broad Leaf
  3. Carolina Brights
  4. Cycle
  5. Drum
  6. El Principe de Gales
  7. Hindu
  8. Lenox
  9. Old Mill
  10. Piedmont
  11. Polar Bear
  12. Sovereign
  13. Sweet Caporal
  14. Tolstoi
  15. Ty Cobb
  16. Uzit
There are currently debates in the hobby regarding whether or not the Ty Cobb back is really a T206 back and whether or not Coupon (mainly type 1) backs should be included as T206 cards.  One thing to know about the Ty Cobb back is that it is only found with a Ty Cobb Red Background Portrait front and it is always printed in green.  There are reprints out there with the ad printed in blue and these are always fake.

That's it for my first post about things you should know.  I'm going to have many more of these so hopefully you enjoyed it.  I look forward to getting back into my blog as I took quite some time off in the last year. 

Enjoy the hobby all...It's a great one.

No comments: