There is a very nice site out there for Pre-War cards info and articles.
If you guys haven't been to Pre-War Cards yet, and you're interested in the prewar hobby, then you are totally missing out. My friend Anson has created a very comprehensive site that covers prewar baseball, basketball, football and hockey. He has numerous very informative articles and insights for you collectors. It's a very important resource for you prewar guys.
I had a chance to speak with Anson and below is our exchange,
1. How many years have you been in to Prewar collectibles?
I've been dabbling in pre-war for a long time, collecting older cards here and there. I've collected cards for about 30 years now and have had some older cards much of that time. But about four years ago, I decided to get exclusively into pre-war. By that point, I had mostly sold off my modern cards as I been working on some vintage sets. But about four years ago, I sold off those to get started on a T206 set and decided to go exclusively into pre-war shortly after that.
2. What are some of your favorite sets from pre WWI?
T206 is probably my favorite. I'm amazed every time I look at those cards and I think it's hands down the top set ever created in any era. T205 and T207 are closely behind for me and, recently, I've gotten more into the early caramel sets. Those cards are significantly rarer than tobacco issues but the market is a bit down right now so they're a little more affordable than they were about five years ago while tobacco cards are on the rise. I'm working on a T205, T206 (minus the big four), and T207 set run and am down to my last 21 cards in T207 to complete it. Those sets have really been my primary focus.
3. Are you only into prewar sports or do you like non-sports as well?
I tried to get into non-sports a while back but it was a tough sell. I'm working on several sports sets so maybe if I wasn't so tied up with those, I'd be more inclined to get into the non-sports a little more. It's just really difficult with the other stuff I'm collecting. But while I don't do much with non-sports, I do collect some of the minor sports - stuff like boxing, tennis, golf, etc. I have quite a few international pre-war cards and sets and those are interesting because they're generally in better shape. Collecting in other countries seemed to be more of an adult thing as people took better care of their cards than they did here. You can find a lot of UK sets in NM condition just because they often went untouched.
4. What are some of your rarest prewar items?
A lot of the rarer stuff I have is really oddball type of stuff. I have some Cobbs, Ruths, Mathewsons, etc., but the rarer stuff I have is more along the lines of type card stuff. For example, I recently picked up an 1887 Little Rhody Cut Plug card (cataloged as N557) of the female baseball player. It's a very rare card and I've only seen a handful of them. I also recently picked up a high-grade Home Run Baker 1913 Barker Game card with the Fenway Breweries overprint. Another pretty rare card - I think about 20 have been graded. I also have some rarer 1800s trade cards. Set collecting is my focus but I'm really into rarer individual cards like that.
5. What drove you to create Pre-WarCards.com?
I'm a writer at heart and I just noticed there wasn't anything like it for only pre-war cards. There are other sites for pre-war collectors to be sure. Net54, for example, is the biggest community of collectors but it's a message board. Old Cardboard had a great magazine and a website cataloging baseball sets but it's not a blog, per se, and is limited to only baseball. There was nothing else like it that I could find and since creating it, collectors have echoed those thoughts to me. My site really serves two purposes. First, it has overviews for practically every major pre-war set out there across all four of the major sports and an easily searchable database. Second, it's regularly updated with several blog posts a week.
The posts are interesting in that I try to cater to everyone. There's some more in-depth stuff on specific issues for more advanced pre-war collectors and there's also a lot of stuff for new collectors unfamiliar with pre-war cards. The biggest challenge is probably striking the right balance and trying to write stuff that's appealing for the entire range of collectors that read the site. I've heard from both types of readers and the traffic has grown significantly in the past six months so I know it's a pretty varied readership.
6. What are you favorite prewar cards? Regardless of set, just the cards.
I really like a lot of the Christy Mathewson stuff, for whatever reason. The Mathewson dark cap T206 is probably my favorite 'mainstream' card of all time. But, like I said, I also really enjoy some of the odder stuff featuring generic players. The Little Rhody card that I just picked up, for example, is probably my favorite card of this moment. There's also a really cool baseball trade card that was created in the late 1870s or early 1880s by a company called Boss Pat Cases that sold pocket watches. I love that card and have two of them. They're rarely seen. Finding them was weird as I'd been looking for one for a while and hadn't spotted any. Then, within the space of a few months, two popped up on eBay and I won them both. A lot of my favorite stuff is stuff that isn't commonly seen or known about.
7. How long does it take you to write a new article for the site?
It all depends. Some of the more in-depth stuff takes quite a while. I recently was in touch with the family of George Groves, the inventor of the 1924 Mails Game set. I spent probably about 30 hours in email communication, reviewing files, and writing to piece together an article I recently released. Other stuff takes maybe an hour. It all depends on the topic. Generally, the in-depth stuff where I dig and have to do a lot of research is the longer stuff, as you'd probably imagine.
8. Do you have any partners or is Pre-War Cards only you?
The website is a one-man operation. I'm pretty neurotic so that probably works best. The biggest part was setting up the set database initially where I provide overviews of all of the sets. Between sets and some individual issues like trade cards, I've got about 1,000 cataloged across all four of the major sports. Getting that set up as well as the rest of the site initially took about nine months and even then, I wasn't real pleased with how it looked. I then spent about another six months refining pages and cleaning them up while expanding them quite a bit and adding more photos. It's much closer now to what I envisioned but still far from perfect. Because it's a one-man operation, some errors surely exist and I just clean them up as I go. It's a work in progress and I expect it will always be that way somewhat. And that's okay - we're talking baseball cards, not nuclear physics. Still, I hope it's a valuable resource for folks and judging by the feedback I've gotten, it has been.
As you can see, Anson is very motivated to keep his site informative and keep it a valuable resource for anyone interested in prewar cards. I really like that it isn't just for baseball, but also football, basketball and hockey.
I did ask Anson one thing that I really wanted to know. Does he plan on adding boxing to the list of sports on the site. I only asked because I collect some boxing sets and I really like quite a few of the different sets. He was honest and frank and let me know that there are no plans for adding boxing at this time. In his defense, there are very many different and obscure boxing issues and adding them to the site would be a major undertaking. We're talking hundreds more pages just to cover the sets.
So please take a look at Pre-WarCards.com and spend some time checking it out. I think you'll find it very informative and interesting.
Enjoy the hobby all...it's a great one.