Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
eNews Issue #73 (May 2010)      www.oldcardboard.com


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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.

Contents:
1. Updated Auction and Show Calendar
2. Set Profile: Batter-Up Premiums
3. Latest Additions to the OldCardboard.com Website
4. Book Review: Mint Condition
5. News Briefs (A Digest of Recent Hobby Happenings)



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

May 2010

14-16San Francisco Tristar San Francisco Show (see website for details).
25Internet 2010 Old Cardboard Texas Hold'em Tourney #5 (details).
25-27Phone/Internet Legendary Auctions (see website for details).
26-27Phone/Internet Huggins & Scott Auctions (see website for details).

June 2010

3Phone/Internet Goodwin & Co. Auction (see website for details).
9Phone/Internet Mile High Auction (see website for details).
10Phone/Internet SCP Auctions (see website for details).
12San Francisco San Francisco Bay Area Show (see web page for details).
22Phone/Internet Collectible Classics CCA27 Auction (see website for details).
22Internet 2010 Old Cardboard Texas Hold'em Tourney #6 (details).


2. Set Profile: Batter-Up Premiums

The extremely rare premiums profiled here were apparently unknown to Jefferson Burdick when he compiled the American Card Catalog. As such, they are not specifically listed in the ACC. They are, however, very closely related to the 1934-36 National Chicle Batter-Up cards that carry the R318 designation in Burdick's catalog.

As illustrated in the Jimmie Foxx images at right, the reddish brown premiums use the same poses used in the R318 "Low Number" series. As also indicated in the images, the premiums are somewhat larger (5 x 7 inches) than the regular issue cards (2-3/8 x 3 inches). The cards have a high gloss (photographic) sheen and blank backs.

The premium is even more directly tied to the National Chicle Batter-Up set on what is considered the Batter-Up "High Series" wrapper (shown below). As seen across the top of the wrapper, it promotes "A Large Photo Art Picture of a Major League Player" with each stick of gum.





The wrapper again mentions the premium under the "All for 1 Cent" heading near the bottom. Here, the customer is promised 1) A Large Photo Art Picture, 2) A Stand Up Action Picture (the regular issue card) and 3) A Big Chew of Quality Gum with the purchase of each pack.

No doubt due to their rarity, the obscure Batter-Up premiums have gone virtually unnoticed among most of today's vintage collectors.

Of the 192 cards in the R318 regular-issue set, eighty cards are from the Low Number series and thus potentially could share images with the larger premium cards.

To our knowledge (and after checking with several veteran collectors), only six different players have been checklisted for the Batter-Up Premium set. Including the example Foxx Premium above, they are:
1) Wes Ferrell
2) Jimmy (Jimmie) Foxx
3) Charlie Gehringer
4) Pepper Martin
5) Joe Vosmik
6) Lloyd Waner
If any of our readers can add to this checklist for the National Chicle Batter-Up Premiums, please forward a scan to editor@oldcardboard.com. Based on this input, we will compile and post a Checklist and Gallery of the set for all collectors to enjoy.


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3. Latest Additions to the OldCardboard.com Website

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

Set Checklists have been added for:
1909   PC773-1   Topping & Co. Detroit Tigers

Set Galleries have been added for:
1909   PC773-1   Topping & Co. Detroit Tigers

Updating the website with checklists and full set galleries for additional vintage sets is an ongoing project, so check back often to check out the latest additions. There are now many thousands of card images on the 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 editor@oldcardboard.com.


4. Book Review: Mint Condition

While countless articles and books have been written about baseball cards and the long and colorful history of our hobby, none are more comprehensive of the entire hobby, or more broadly researched, as Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession. The book was written by Dave Jamieson and released earlier this year by Atlantic Monthly Press.

In a little under 300 pages, the twelve-chapter volume captures some 150 years of baseball card history that began shortly after the close of the American Civil War. Along the way, each major era of card set production, as well as the industries and personalities responsible for producing them, is described in engaging and informative narrative. While it is must reading for any serious vintage baseball card collector, it is also a compelling read for those with only a casual interest in baseball or the card collecting hobby.

Jamieson's narrative is organized into twelve chapters. A brief abstract of each is provided below.

  • Chapter 1 -- Details of the Duke family, Allen & Ginter, Goodwin Company and its "Old Judges" and others that played key roles in the development of tobacco card inserts of the late nineteenth century.
  • Chapter 2 -- The T206 set and the journeys of the "Gretsky" Wagner and its several owners.
  • Chapter 3 -- Background of "gum" cards and the sponsors that produced them. Includes much interesting historical detail about the personalities and businesses of Frank Fleer and Walter Diemer of the Fleer Corporation, Enos Goudey of the Goudey Gum Company as well as the roles of J. Warren Bowman, William Wrigley and others in producing the gum cards of the 1930s.
  • Chapter 4 -- A chapter devoted to the activities of Jefferson Burdick, Lionel Carter, Edward Wharton-Tiger and other hobby pioneers of the 1950s.
  • Chapter 5 -- Provides perspective about the marketing innovations and the rise to dominance of the Topps Gum Company in the 1950s and the company's "card wars" with the Bowman Gum Company.
  • Chapter 6 -- Detailed accounts of Topps' promoter Sy Berger and of Woody Gelman, Topps' chief card designer and creative force for more than two decades.
  • Chapter 7 -- The role of the Marvin Miller and the Major League Baseball Players Association on Topps use of exclusive player licensing for their card images. Discusses the commercialization of the card hobby and its transition from a schoolboy hobby to one that grabbed the attention of serious investors and older collectors.
  • Chapter 8 -- The activities of Upper Deck (and to a lesser extent Fleer, Donruss and others) in broadening and cashing in on the booming baseball card market.
  • Chapter 9 -- The role of greed (on the part of the league, the Players Association and baseball card producers) that ended the hobby boom of the early 1990s.
  • Chapter 10 -- A discussion of veteran collectors and the rise of vintage card and memorabilia auction houses of the past dozen of so years.
  • Chapter 11 -- The increased need for card grading, along with a discussion of the dark side of card scams, altered cards and ways to detect them.
  • Chapter 12 -- Wrap-up commentary about the current state of the hobby along with an important reminder that "After all, it's just a piece of cardboard."

A sixteen-page section of color plates bound into the middle of the book provides several dozen images of example cards as well as snapshots of a handful of hobby pioneers and veterans discussed in the narrative.

It is unfortunate that the volume does not include an index, which would significantly enhance its usefulness as a hobby reference. It does, however, contain 22 pages of Endnotes that cites source material for each chapter.

Overall, we consider Jamieson's research and his resulting narrative to be top notch, and we highly recommend Mint Condition to all readers of Old Cardboard magazine and this eNewsletter.

Editor's note: A brief collector's profile of Jamieson is planned for the Collector's Dugout section of Old Cardboard magazine (Issue #23, Summer 2010) to be distributed around the middle of July.

Dave Jamieson, Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession (Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 2010). Retail Price: $25.


5. News Briefs (A Digest of Recent Hobby Happenings)

Does Topping Set Include Germany Schaefer? As indicated in Item #3 above, a Checklist and Gallery have been added to the Old Cardboard website for the striking but obscure PC773-1 Topping Postcard set. While most indications are that the set contains only 20 cards, it remains a little uncertain whether it contains a card for Germany Schaefer (a 21st card). Schaefer has shown up on some checklists in the past but has not been verified by any today's collectors. Cards for all other players have been confirmed--as shown in the Gallery. Please let us know if you have any knowledge of a Topping Schaefer card. Otherwise, we will continue to consider the set complete at 20 cards (sans Schaefer) as shown in the set Checklist and Gallery.


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 www.oldcardboard.com 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 www.oldcardboard.com.  If you find this information resource helpful, please tell your friends.  We need your support and your feedback. Thank you.