Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Another Blue Old Mill Discovered

It appears a second example of a blue backed Old Mill T206 has been found.

At the 2012 National Convention the very first blue Old Mill was unveiled to much fanfare.  Many collectors doubted the authenticity.  Many others who held the card in hand said it was the real deal. 

The card that surfaced in 2012 was this Ed Walsh, pictured here with the blue back.

At the time I was skeptical and even wrote as much here.  I mean the only example of a blue Old Mill just happens to be HOFer Ed Walsh.

Something I asked in my last post about the Walsh was how long it would take for a second example to show up.

Well, six and a half years later apparently.  This one is not a Hall of Famer but is instead the horizontal pose of Powell.  The back of the Powell definitely looks blue like the Walsh. 

Ron Kornacki is the proud owner of the Powell and he has provided several very high resolution scans of his card.  Here is a side by side of the Powell and Walsh backs for comparison.
The Powell is on the left and the Walsh is on the right.  You can see the similarities in the blues.  I actually like the Powell more than the Walsh.
Here is a side by side comparison of the Powell blue back next to a regular black back Old Mill.  The black example is on the left below and the blue is on the right.
One theory is that the blue ink, which is darker than the blue used in Piedmont backs, is the same ink as was used on the Polar Bear backs.  Polar Bears are commonly mistaken for being black backs but they are actually dark blue.
Here is a comparison of the blue Old Mill next to a Polar Bear back to show the similarity.  The problem with the theory that the Old Mills were printed after a Polar Bear printing was complete is that the two backs weren't printed during the same period. 
To quote long time collector and T206 expert Ted Zanidakis,
The Powell & Walsh are 150/350 series subjects which were in OLD MILL print runs circa late 1909 / early 1910.  The first POLAR BEAR print runs were circa Summer 1910.
So it appears they couldn't have been printed at the same time.  But that doesn't mean the ink wasn't used for other print jobs by the American Lithographic Company during the period the Old Mills were being printed.  It's possible that a mix up occurred. 
I recently spoke to Ron about his card and his collecting in general.  He's been collecting for the past 41 years but has spent the last 8 years focused on his master front/back T206 collection.  And what a collection he has. 
He has a near complete 250 card Polar Bear set with 245 examples and he has all 28 of the Sweet Caporal 350-460 Factory 30 Full Color "No Prints".  He's also 513 cards in to the 524 card Monster.
Ron collects more than just baseball cards too though.  He is also an active collector of coins, stamps, comic books and non-sport cards. 
I was curious if Ron had the Powell in 2012 when the Walsh was presented to the hobby and he said no, he picked it up in October 2015 and didn't realize it was a blue back when he bought it.  He didn't notice the difference in color until a couple years later when he was looking at backs of other cards in his collection. 
I also asked him the big question, what are you going to do with it?  He'd really like to get it in a PSA slab but isn't sure if PSA will grade it as a legit blue Old Mill like SGC did with the Walsh.  If he can get it graded he's not sure what he'll do with it. 
Ron created a video on YouTube showing the card in detail so I've posted the video below. 

So what do you guys think?  Is this another legit blue Old Mill?  I believe it is and wish the best to Ron no matter what he decides to do with it.

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

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Hey you guys!!!!

Just because. 

I loved the Goonies as a kid and this is just awesome.

Enjoy the hobby guys...it's a great one.

Friday, January 18, 2019

E94 Set Overview

E94 is usually identified as a George Close Candy Co. issue.

This is because in rare instances the cards can be found with an advertisement for some form of George Close candy product stamped on the reverse.  These stamped cards are very rare however and most E94s are found without the stamps. 

There are 30 cards in the set with each card having a solid color background.  The background can be found in one of six colors including, red, blue, olive, green, purple or gold.  It is believed that each player can be found with each background color.


As mentioned earlier, some of these cards come with different stamps on the backs.  Here is a gallery of the different backs,  There are currently ten known stamps.  Below are the known backs.

This is where the set gets it's name, George Close Candy".  Each of these ads (except the Blome's Chocolates) ad is from George Close.  Without these stamps the backs look like this.

The back on the left is a regular E94 back and the one on the right is an M131 Baltimore Newsboys version.  There is a separate closely related set of Baltimore Newsboys cards that have the exact same images and checklist as the E94 set, but all have blue backgrounds. 
Here is the checklist of the E94s:

  1. Jimmy Austin
  2. Johnny Bates
  3. Bob Bescher
  4. Bobby Byrne
  5. Frank Chance
  6. Eddie Cicotte
  7. Ty Cobb
  8. Sam Crawford
  9. Harry Davis
  10. Art Devlin
  11. Josh Devore
  12. Mickey Doolan
  13. Patsy Dougherty
  14. Johnny Evers
  15. Ed Grant
  16. Hughie Jennings
  17. Red Kleinow
  18. Nap Lajoie
  19. Joe Lake
  20. Tommy Leach
  21. Hans Lobert
  22. Harry Lord
  23. Sherry Magee
  24. John McGraw
  25. Earl Moore
  26. Red Murray
  27. Tris Speaker
  28. Terry Turner
  29. Honus Wagner
  30. Cy Young
Enjoy the hobby all...it's a great one.

Monday, January 14, 2019

W590 Follow Up - Uncut Strip

I recently stumbled across an image of an uncut strip of W590 cards.

I did a post just before Christmas last year about the W590s and how a friend of mine picked up the Jack Johnson card.

Well, I just recently happened to find an image of an uncut strip of these cards from the October 2013 Huggins & Scott auction archives and wanted to share it with you.

Here is the image of the strip.  Click on it to enlarge.

Image courtesy of Huggins & Scott Auctions
It includes the nine wrestlers and Jack Johnson.  The nine wrestlers are:

  1. George Calza
  2. Strangler Lewis
  3. Pat McGill
  4. Joe Stecher
  5. Ivan Zaikin
  6. Earl Caddock
  7. Wladek Zbyszko
  8. Nat Pendleton
  9. Renato Gardini
I love uncut strips of cards like these.  I have a couple of non-sport strips and had a half a strip of W529 Boxers at one time but sold it.  Maybe I'll do a post on those at another time.

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

Saturday, January 12, 2019

High Grade Prewar Cards vs. Beaters

Which do you like better?  High grade or beaters?

High grade prewar cards are selling for crazy prices these days and investors are all over them.  There are record prices being realized all the time.  But shouldn't a card that is 100 years old show some wear?  Do they look better crisp and clean or with a story derived from creases and dinged corners?

Here is an example of a PSA 10 E98 Honus Wagner from the famous Black Swamp Find.  The card is sharp and bright but I feel like it's missing something.

It just doesn't look like it's 109 years old.  And that's what bothers me about high grade prewar cards.  Am I amazed that this card exists in this condition?  Yes.  I can't deny that.  It looks like a reprint though, like it was printed yesterday. 

Also, what about the real possibility of high grade cards being altered (trimmed)?  I'm not saying the Black Swamp cards are trimmed, but there are many examples of high grade cards that look trimmed to me. 

Take a look at this T213-3 Christy Mathewson PSA 8.  Look at how it is swimming in that holder.  It looks too small to not have been trimmed down. 

Someone will likely tell me that the Type 3 Coupons are known to be smaller like this.  Kind of like the American Beauty T206s are known to be slimmer.  It still looks trimmed though.

There is one high grade card that I do like more than the beater examples I've seen of it.  The PSA 7 T206 Eddie Plank is one really nice looking card and I don't even care that it doesn't show it's age.  I am drawn to this card in general for some reason, but this one is particularly sweet.

This one was auctioned off as part of Heritage Auctions' high grade T206 collection last year.  The Plank sold for $690,000. 

And how can we discuss high grade prewar cards without mentioning the PSA 8 Honus Wagner.  The holy grail of baseball cards.  And it is known to be trimmed.  Doesn't seem to matter to buyers though.  It continues to sell for record prices every time it's available. 

Well, the other side of this discussion is the world of beaters.  Cards that show their age through creases, tears, pinholes, missing corners, missing paper, etc. 

I have always liked these beaters.  I think they tell a story about their journey over the last 100 years.  They've been loved by children and adults alike, tossed around in collections in boxes, wrapped in rubber bands and banged around as bricks of cards rounding the corners.

They are what they are.  Beaters.  They sell for hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of dollars less than their high grade counterparts.  I would much rather have an entire T206 set of 520 cards than that single PSA 7 Plank.  But I don't have the funds to drop $690K on one card so I can't relate to the guy who bought it. 

I know it's because of my budget that I collect beaters, but I actually do like them more too.  There are some that are so bad that I wouldn't want them, but not many. 

Here are a few of my cards...


You see.  These cards would cost hundreds or thousands of dollars more in high grade but I am able to own them at reasonable prices because they are beat up. 
So what do you like?  High grade or beaters.  What do you collect?  Tell me in the comments.
Enjoy the hobby all...it's a great one.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

T206 Back Stamp Project Gets Recognized

For several years now I've been documenting T206 back stamps on my website dedicated to them at TheGreatT206BackStampProject.yolasite.com.

The project is my attempt to showcase as many different T206s with back stamps as I can in one central location on the internet.  There is a healthy collector base for this type of T206, whether it is a specific stamp or just stamps in general. 

Well, PreWarCards.com just posted an article about these T206 back stamps and mentions the project in the article.  I couldn't be more happy about the recognition by the site.  They even used images from the project for the article and link to the project's website.

So far, I've documented over 70 different stamps and have 34 pages of collections of stamps that are of the same type.  So when I have two or more scans of the same type of stamp, I start a new page for that stamp and start a new "collection" for that stamp. 

There are many different types of stamps that can be found on T206s.  Names are a very common thing to find stamped on them.  Collectors would've stamped their name on the cards for any number of reasons.  The most common reason would be to claim ownership.  However, I have one card stamped by an agent for the Saturday Evening Post that was used to make a type of business card.

T206 Wagner back stamp
There are also date stamps.  Perhaps the date the card was acquired.  All of the dates I have ever seen stamped on a T206 were from the 1909-12 period so a acquisition date seems logical.  There is even a Wagner with a date stamp on it; Oct 16, 1909. 

Other stamps are of any number of different objects or designs such as a castle, carriage, stars, pointing finger, dog or old time "Bobby" cop, just to name a few. 

In addition to stamps, there have also been tattoos or transfers found on these cards.  These are much more colorful and ornate that a typical one color stamp would be.  I have a clown, hot air balloon and boxer as examples on my site. 

I personally collect one specific type of back stamp.  They are purple numbers in a specific shade of purple, always the same size and font.  Here are some examples of this type of purple number back stamp below.

If you ever see one of these back stamps, please contact me as I would be very interested in it.  They don't seem to show up very often however. 

The Project is an interactive one.  In other words I rely on other collectors to help with it and supply scans/images of stamps that I don't already have.  If I don't have the image provided by a fellow collector then I update the website with the new image.  If it is the second example of a particular stamp then I'll set up a new page for that stamp. 

I also give credit to collectors that have helped on the Contributors page.  I'd be happy to add anyone's name who helped with the Project and isn't already listed. 

Let me know what you think of the Project and if you can help, please do.  Also check out PreWarCards.com if you haven't already been there.  It's a great site for prewar collectors of all sports, not just baseball.

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

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year and Goals

Happy New Year to all of you!

Well, it's a new year and time to start thinking about my collecting goals for 2019.  Of course I want to continue my blog and post something every month of the year.  I get into a funk from time to time, either due to work or family taking most of my time usually, and don't post for a period of time, but I want to be sure to make time every month to post something.

I made some collecting goals for 2018 and failed at them for the most part.  I had a good year of collecting and picked up a bunch of great stuff, but I didn't focus on my goals really.  So I'm going to try to make goals I can stick to.  Right, here we go.

I have a habit of keeping everything I get in my collection and I have a real hard time parting with it.  But I'd like to come to terms with this and sell some of my collection so I can fund some bigger purchases.  Last year I made a goal of acquiring a Cobb or Wagner, but I need to be realistic and remember that those two guys are priced in the stratosphere compared to my budget.  So for 2019 I'll set the goal to pick up another Matty, or a Lajoie, or an E93 Joss.  Something comparable anyway.

Here is a list of goals for 2019:

  1. Pick up a Matty, Lajoie or an E93 Joss
  2. Pick up two E93s
  3. Pick up 5 more E90-1s
  4. Finish my 1973 Topps set (2 to go including Schmidt RC)
  5. Start 5 more sets
  6. Send out more packages than ever before
  7. Separate my 1977 Topps Cloth Stickers into * and ** sets (does this count as starting a new set?)
  8. Finish my 1968 Atlantic Oil set (minus the SPs)
Let's keep it at that for now.  Doable I think. 

So here's to a great new year and a new beginning.  I wish you all the best in 2019!

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