Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
eNews Issue #44 (December 2007)

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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. 1929 Shonen Club "Ruth" Postcard Precisely Dated
3. Latest Updates to the Website
4. Mathewson "Rookie" Contract Sparks Collector Interest
5. Reader Feedback (E270 Colgan's Tin-Tops; C46 Imperial Tobacco)

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 2007

12-13Phone/Internet Mastro Premier Auction (website).
15Phone/Internet Memory Lane Auction (see website for details).
16Phone/Internet Leland's Gaynor Auction (see website for details).

2. 1929 Shonen Club "Ruth" Postcard Precisely Dated

1929 Shonen Club Magazine "Ruth" Postcard

Among vintage card collectors, the 1929 Shonen Club Japanese postcard of Babe Ruth is scarce but not exceedingly rare. For those that have seen the card, it is sometimes mistakenly associated with Ruth's 1934 Japanese tour. The true date of issue, however, has now been confirmed to be August 1929 (barely two months before the beginning of the Great Depression).

According to Robert Klevens, a leading collector and dealer in Japanese baseball cards and memorabilia, "the Ruth postcard is part of a packet of 40 cards."

All other postcards in the packet, says Klevens, depict a variety of landscapes, animals and other subjects. Ruth is the only baseball-themed card in the series. The packet was distributed with the August 1929 issue of Shonen Club, a youth magazine first published around 1915.

The front of the postcard pictures Ruth in a typical game-action batting pose, presumably after having just hit another home run. It is reported (but not confirmed) that the image is based on a photograph taken during the opening game of the 1926 season. The white bordered card is printed in a color tint.

All labeling on the card front is in Japanese along the right border of the card. It includes four columns of text, read top to bottom, left to right. Translated loosely, the text reads: "This is the moment Babe Ruth, known throughout the world as the Homerun King, swings with all his might and hits the ball. The ball flew far past the outfield and it appears to be a homerun. The catcher and umpire freeze in awe as they watch and as Babe looks pleased. The spectators in the stands are also breathless as they watch."

A postcard template is printed on the back along with additional labeling in Japanese as shown in the above example. Curiously, the title on the card is printed in French, a language sometimes used for international postal transactions of the period. Translated, the title reads: International Postal Union Postcard.

Shonen Club Youth Magazine (August 1929; Front and Back Covers)

The front and back covers of the Shonen Club magazine with which the cards were distributed are shown at left.

As seen, the front cover features a brightly colored equestrian painting of Napoleon. Japanese text at the lower left of the cover indicates that: (1; left column) 40 special picture postcards are included, and (2; right column) August Special Issue.

Text on the leftmost column of the back cover also indicates the magazine title, edition, issue date (August 1929), magazine price of 50 sen (1/2 yen) and other publishing information. In an apparent attempt to extend the magazine's circulation to Japanese-American readers, the top lines of the back cover are printed in English and state that the publication was "Entered as second class mail matter at the P. O. at Los Angeles, Cal., U. S. A." This distribution in the United States may explain why the card is not exceptionally rare to vintage collectors today.

Summary information about the Shonen Club Ruth Postcard is available on the Old Cardboard website. Thanks to Michiko Webb and Robert Klevens for the translations and the input provided for this article. Klevens runs Prestige Collectibles, a company set up to trade in Japanese baseball cards and memorabilia. He can be reached at

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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:
1914   Chicago Examiner Supplements
1929   Shonen Club Magazine Ruth
1931-32   Babe Ruth Exhibit

Set Checklists have been added for:
1899-1900   M101-1   The Sporting News Supplements
1912   C46   Imperial Tobacco (significant updates in identification of players with Major League experience)
1914   Chicago Examiner Supplements

Set Galleries have been added for:
1912   C46   Imperial Tobacco (the complete set of images for the C46 card backs have been added to the C46 Set Gallery. Just click on the card front for the desired player and the back image for that player will display)
1914   Chicago Examiner Supplements

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. Mathewson "Rookie" Contract Sparks Collector Interest

Mathewson's "Rookie" Contract
(select image to download full contract
text in PDF format; 1.5 Mbytes)

For vintage baseball card collectors, the card of a player's first year in the Major Leagues has always had special appeal. For many of the same reasons, the public auction of Christy Mathewson's contract with the New York Giants has drawn considerable attention among vintage collectors. The contract is dated August 1900 (Mathewson's rookie year) and is a featured lot offered in Memory Lane's December 15 auction.

The contract was once part of the collection of the late Barry Halper, a leading collector of baseball memorabilia and at one time a minority owner of the New York Yankees. In a letter that is included as part of the auction, Halper describes his acquisition of the contract and other artifacts from the Mathewson family.

Among baseball's all-time elite players, Mathewson is one of the first five player's inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936. His first year in the Majors at age 20, however, was met with both success and disappointment. Starting the season with Norfolk of the Virginia League, he posted an impressive 20-3 record by the middle of July, earning him a spot with the National League Giants. His under-whelming 0-3 record with the Giants, however, resulted in his return back to Norfolk at season's end.

Poor performance notwithstanding, through a series of off-season trades, Mathewson ended up back with the Giants for the 1901 season. The rest of the story, as we say, is now etched in baseball history.

A copy of Mathewson's complete contract can be viewed in PDF format (1.5 Mbyte file) on the Old Cardboard website. According to the terms of the contract, it appears that Mathewson was to be paid a total of $150 for his services for the balance of the season, payable in installments on the first and fifteenth of each month. However, the contract stipulates, if the team happened to be traveling "abroad for the purpose of playing games," then payday would fall on the first weekday after their return.

Other key items featured in the Memory Lane's December 15 auction include an EX 5 example of HOFer Cy Young's card from the historic but scarce 1903 E107 Breisch-Williams set, as well as a striking Turkey Red poster, a Turkey Red cigarette box, a Turkey Red redemption coupon, and 30 T3 (Turkey Red) cabinet cards.

By the time Young was featured on the E107 Breisch-Williams card in 1903, he was a seasoned veteran in the prime of his baseball career. Following a league leading 28 wins and a .757 win-loss percentage in the regular season, he won two post-season games to lead his Boston Americans to a best-of-nine victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in what is considered the first World Series of "modern times."

5. OC Magazine Issue #14 on Set for mid-January Delivery

The content for Issue #14 (Winter 2008) of Old Cardboard magazine is now in final layout and on track for its scheduled mid-January delivery.

The cover for this latest issue highlights its feature article which includes Old Cardboard's first ever magazine foldout. The foldout traces every team from all seven leagues that are generally considered by baseball historians to have been part of Major League Baseball.

Although timeline posters have been produced before, most that we have seen trace the origins of the MLB teams that are active today. We are not aware of a published Major League Baseball timeline in which all seven historic "Major Leagues" are found in a single comprehensive chart.

The foldout had its beginnings on the "back of an envelope" as part of an effort to sort out the relationships between teams with obscure names that are sometimes represented on vintage baseball cards. Over the past year or so, these hand-scratched notes developed into the comprehensive three-page timeline foldout that is included inside the issue. An accompanying article provides a narrative overview of the background and history of each of the seven leagues represented in the foldout.

Another article in the Winter 2008 issue, written by Mark Fimoff, identifies an error in the identity of a player on a card from the popular T205 "Gold Border" set. A photo researcher and member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), Fimoff documents through photographic records the true identity of the T205 image believed for the past 97 years to be that of "Wilbur Goode" as labeled on the card. Fimoff not only disproves the Wilbur Goode photo id, but unveils the true identity of the player pictured on the card.

The W603 "Sports Exchange Trading Post" set inspired another article planned for Issue #14. In addition to printing thumbnail images for the entire 100-plus card run, a profile of the pioneer hobby magazine that sponsored the set is also provided.

Additional articles in the issue are still being finalized. Abstracts of these will be added to the Old Cardboard website as soon as they are firmed up.

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

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.