Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
eNews Issue #32 (December 2006)

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Welcome to Old Cardboard, the most complete reference resource for information about collecting vintage baseball cards and related memorabilia.  More information about this eNewsletter and its companion website and magazine are found at the bottom of this page.

1. Updated Auction and Show Calendar
2. The Only True "N-card" Baseball Card Sets?
3. Latest Updates to the Website
4. Old Cardboard Magazine Issue #10 on Track for January 15 Delivery
5. Battle of the Hands (Brown vs. Mathewson)

1. Updated Auction and Show Calendar

The following is a summary of vintage card events coming up in the next 30-45 days. For the most current listings on additional vintage card shows and auctions, see the Show and Auction Calendar on the Old Cardboard website.

OC eNewsletter Sponsor

December 2006

6-8Phone/Internet Mastro Auctions (see website for details).
7Phone/Internet Clean Sweep Auctions (see website for details).
9Phone/Internet Heritage Signature Auction (see website for details).
14Phone/Internet American Memorabilia (see website for details).
14Phone/Internet Memory Lane, Inc. (see website for details).
14-15Internet Leland's Winter 2006 Auction (see website for details).
26Internet Heritage Internet Auction (see website for details).

January 2007

7Phone/Internet Mile High Card Company (see website for details).

2. The Only True "N-card" Baseball Card Sets?

Soon after the last edition of the American Card Catalog was printed in the late 1960s, hobbyists made at least one significant change. All nineteenth century cards, which are listed in the ACC without any alphabetic prefix, were reformatted to include an "N" prefix before the number. Thus, all hobbyists now refer to the popular Old Judge set as N172--not just 172 as listed in the catalog. Likewise, 1888 Allen and Ginters became N28s, Kimball Champions are now N184s, etc.

1924 "N258" Diaz Cigarros (Cuba)
(shown at approximate actual size)
The change provided consistency with other baseball "T" cards, "E" cards, "R" cards, and so on, that were coded with an alphabetic prefix. However, "N" cards were listed elsewhere in the ACC and defined as another unique category. The ACC's editor Jefferson Burdick defined "N" card sets under Section 8 of the catalog to be "Central and South American Tobacco Cards."

All of that is well and good for today's collectors of vintage baseball cards--except for a couple of relatively minor (and little known) details: there are two baseball card sets listed in Section 8 of the ACC. According to Burdick's numbering, both sets carried an "N" prefix. The two sets include a Cuban set produced in 1924 and now referred to as the Diaz Cigarros set and a Venezuelan set from 1931 now known as the Diana Cigarrillos issue. While there are many other non-baseball issues in Section 8 of the catalog, the N258 Diaz Cigarros and the N561 Diana Cigarrillos sets have the distinction of being the only sets that feature baseball players.

The black and white Cuban Diaz Cigarros set (see example above) contains only pitchers from the American Major Leagues and carries the designation N258 in the ACC. There are a total of 136 players in the set.

The player's team is printed across the top of each card in the Diaz set. The player's full name and a "Pitcher" notation is found across the bottom of the card. Cards are numbered on the back followed by a sponsor message: "Fume Cigarros Tomas Gutierrez" (Smoke Tomas Gutierrez Cigars). A message in Spanish then offers an album premium. The cards in the set measure approximately 1-3/4 x 2-1/2 inches.

   1931 "N561" Diana Cigarrillos (Venezuela)
(shown at approximate actual size)
The second true "N-card" set was produced in Venezuela by the Bigott Company under their Diana Cigarrillos brand is designated as set N561 in the ACC.

The Diana Cigarrillos cards (example shown at right) measure about 1-3/8 by 2-5/8 inches. They are numbered and bear the player's full name on the front and back. The card backs also list the player's position and team as well as a sponsor message printed in Spanish.

Because of the obscurity of each of these sets, it is unlikely that their ACC number will be causing any mass confusion among today's vintage collectors. However, it is interesting to note for the numbering purist that these are the only true "N-card" baseball cards according to Burdick's Catalog. Might make a good trivia question at your next gathering of vintage card collectors.

A set profile for the "N258" Diaz Cigarros cards has just been added to the Old Cardboard website. A set profile for the "N561" Diana Cigarrillos cards was added earlier this year.

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3. Latest Updates to the Website

We are continually expanding the Old Cardboard website with more set profiles, checklists and set galleries. Recent (past 30-40 days) additions include:

Set Profiles
have been added or significantly expanded for:
1924   Diaz Cigarros
1952   Num Num Foods

Set Checklists have been added for:
1895   Newsboy Cabinets
1906   Ullman "Art Frame Series"
1928   W565   Strip Card Set
1933   W574   Strip Cards
1952   Num Num Foods

Set Galleries have been added for:
1906   Ullman "Art Frame Series"
1928   W565   Strip Card Set
1933   W574   Strip Cards

We continue to update the website with checklists and full set galleries for additional vintage issues, so check in often to check out the latest additions. There are now many thousands of card images on the Old Cardboard website and the list continues to grow. We welcome and encourage feedback with checklist additions, card images, error corrections and suggestions. Please send all input to

4. Old Cardboard Magazine Issue #10 on Track for January 15 Delivery

Issue #10 (Winter 2007) of Old Cardboard magazine will be headed to the printer soon and is on track to be in subscriber hands by January 15 as scheduled.

The cover for this latest issue is keyed to our lead article about the 1910 E125 American Caramel Die-cut set. After assembling the most complete group of E125 cards ever, author Seefeldt shares his knowledge of this unique and much sought after issue. An accompanying gallery includes all but two of the cards from the set--and one of those has never been verified to exist in the hobby. Detailed images of all four back variations (each displaying a team checklist for all cards issued for the four teams represented in the set) are also provided.

The Winter 2007 issue also includes an article that I (Lyman) co-authored with Frank Keetz featuring the "Big Eight" baseball trade card sets. Frank literally "wrote the book" on 19th century baseball trade cards and has provided valuable input in preparing the article. The eight sets profiled are important in that they are the only baseball trade cards (of the several dozen known sets) that are listed in the American Card Catalog.

In addition, Old Cardboard subscriber John Bowden discusses the popular T227 "Series of Champions" issue originally distributed in 1912 by Honest Long Cut and Miners Extra tobacco brands. In the article, Bowden probes beyond the four baseball players in the set (all of which are now in the baseball Hall of Fame) and includes a gallery of the complete 24-card multisport series.

Also in the issue, Pacific Coast League expert Mark Macrae provides his perspective about a rare PCL set produced in 1935 by San Francisco-based Pebble Beach Clothiers. The set features a unique mix of prominent PCL players in a real-photo-postcard format. Unique among baseball card sets, each card in the Pebble Beach series was personally autographed by the subject "at the factory" before the cards were distributed.

Rounding out Issue #10 is a two page article prepared by Old Cardboard that takes a brief look at the T9 set--boxing's counterpart to the baseball T3 "Turkey Red" cabinet-size card issue. Focus is on boxer Abe Attell, a key villain in the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal. Included is an incredible photograph of the Cincinnati Reds team on opening day of the 1919 World Series...with Attell standing just behind the lineup of Reds players.

The above feature articles are in addition to the magazine's regular "Editor's Notebook," "Collector's Dugout," and "Old Cardboard Crosswords" sections. More detailed abstracts for each of the above articles, including thumbnail images of the full-color page layouts, can be viewed on the Old Cardboard website.

5. Battle of the Hands (Brown vs. Mathewson)

Two News Service Photo lots
that sold in Mastro's Decem-
 ber 2006 Premier Catalog
    Auction showcase the
     pitching hands of two
    Hall of Famers from the
    dead-ball era--Mordicai
  "Three Finger" Brown and Christy Mathewson. Both were at the height of their fabulous careers when the photos were taken--this time last century.

As seen in the photo on the left, Brown's hand was terribly disfigured in a corn shredder accident when he was only seven years old. For some people, such a handicap would be an insurmountable obstacle. Left with only a stump for an index finger, however, Brown made the most of his misfortune. It was the source of his strength and the foundation for his amazing curveball. The missing digit allowed him to apply an unusually high amount of spin that made his pitches almost unhittable.

A similar photo of Christy Mathewson's pitching hand was also sold at the auction. Mathewson's calloused hand is shown above right. Although not missing any digits, the photo does reveal a slightly shorter-than-average index finger. A period handwritten comment on the back of the photograph notes that it is "A detailed study of Mathewson's hand showing the short index finger which means so much in the delivery of many of his curves." Based on the note, the prevailing belief at the time was that a shortened index finger worked to a pitcher's advantage for throwing curve balls. So between these two pitchers, Brown clearly had the advantage!

Both of the news photos were the work of well known baseball photographer Paul Thompson whose offices were located at #10 Spruce Street in lower Manhattan. By most yardsticks Matty is considered the better pitcher and his vintage baseball cards generally command higher prices than those of Brown. However, the sale price for Thompson's photo of Three Finger's mangled hand outdistanced that of Mathewson by a score of $5940 to $640 (after including the 20 percent buyer's premium). After all, it is the most famous hand in baseball--and the hand that inspired the popular nickname for which Mordicai Brown is affectionately remembered today.

Lyman and Brett Hardeman
Old Cardboard, LLC.

Old Cardboard, LLC. was established in December, 2003, to help bring information on vintage baseball card collecting to the hobbyist.  Produced by collectors for collectors, this comprehensive resource consists of three components: (1) Old Cardboard Magazine, (2) a companion website at and (3) this eNewsletter. The Old Cardboard website contains more than 500 pages of descriptive reference information for baseball card sets produced fifty years ago or longer.  Each of these set summaries has a direct set-specific link to auctions and a similar link to 's powerful search engine for further research.  The website also includes a Show and Auction Calendar, an eBay Top 50 Vintage Sellers List, and much more.  As a result, the Old Cardboard website makes a great "Alt-tab" companion for vintage card shoppers and researchers.  Old Cardboard eNews provides current hobby news, upcoming shows and auctions, and updates to the website and the magazine.  It is published around the middle of each month.  For a FREE subscription to the eNewsletter, or for subscription information on Old Cardboard Magazine, please visit the website at  If you find this information resource helpful, please tell your friends.  We need your support and your feedback. Thank you.