Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
eNews Issue #74 (June 2010)

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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. Set Profile: T207 Brown Backgrounds
3. Latest Additions to the Website
4. Book Review: The T206 Collection: The Players & Their Stories
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.

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June 2010

9Phone/Internet Mile High Auction (see website for details).
10Phone/Internet SCP Auctions (see website for details).
10Phone/Internet Andy Madec Auctions (see website for details).
12San Francisco San Francisco Bay Area Show (see webpage for details).
12Phone/Internet Fusco Auctions (see website for details).
17Phone/Internet Imperial Sports (see website for details).
22Phone/Internet Collectible Classics CCA27 Auction (see website for details).
22Internet 2010 Old Cardboard Texas Hold'em Tourney #6 (details).
30Phone/Internet Clean Sweep Auctions (see website for details).

July 2010

9-11Chantilly, VA CSA Chantilly Show (see website for details).
13Phone/Internet Hunt Auctions (see website for details).
27Internet 2010 Old Cardboard Texas Hold'em Tourney #7 (details).

2. Set Profile: T207 Brown Backgrounds (by Tim Newcomb)

For many years, collectors have had a love-hate relationship with the set of 200 tobacco cards series referred to as
Brown Backgrounds and designated as T207 in the American Card Catalog. Some find the set's design drab and its player choices incomprehensible, while others appreciate its many obscure players and its dark, brooding palette.

Most of the biggest stars of the day, including Cobb, Mathewson, Wagner, Lajoie, Collins, Jackson, and Waddell are nowhere to be found, but the set does contain 13 Hall-of-Famers and several other sought-after players such as Smoky Joe Wood, the Cubans Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida, as well as Buck Weaver and Eddie Cicotte from the 1919 "Black Sox."

T207 was issued during the 1912 baseball season by the American Tobacco Company (ATC), which had produced the popular T205 and T206 sets over the previous three years. It is now much scarcer than either of those sets. I estimate that for every 100 examples of the T206 card, there exist perhaps 50 examples of T205 cards, but only about 10 from the T207 series.

Unlike T206, T207 cards contain vivid biographical summaries of the subjects, some of which indicate that those cards could not have been issued until well into the 1912 season.

Recruit Factory 240

Recruit Factory 606


Anonymous Factory 3



Anonymous Factory 25

Red Cross
Counting "factory" variations, eight different T207 backs are known. They are shown here in order of scarcity from most common (top left) to extremely scarce (bottom right).

As the card backs indicate, the cards were enclosed in packages of several different ATC products, the names of which (in most cases) are printed on the back, along with the factory where those cigarettes were manufactured. Little is known about the small number of cards that appear without any advertising (the "Anonymous backs"), which were distributed with unknown tobacco brands manufactured in Virginia and Louisiana.

Not all collectors realize that these eight backs represent two distinct groups of cards. Recruit (Factory 240 and 606) and Napoleon backs appear on the backs of 150 of the 200 players represented in the set, but never with the other 50 players. Cards of the remaining 50 players, all quite scarce, appear with Broadleaf, Cycle, or Anonymous Factory 25 backs (along with a tiny number of Red Cross backs, of which there are fewer than 10 examples known). I sometimes refer to the former as Group 1 (Recruit-Napoleon, etc.) and the latter as Group 2 (Broadleaf-Cycle, etc.).

The Anonymous Factory 3 back is the only one that is found on cards from both the Recruit-Napoleon and the Broadleaf-Cycle groups.

In a survey of several thousand T207s that I performed in 2003-2004, I found that among the 150 Recruit-Napoleon cards, almost 97% appeared with Recruit backs, about 2% with Napoleon backs, and only 1% with Anonymous Factory 3 backs. Of the 50 Broadleaf-Cycle cards, the breakdown of backs was 51% Broadleaf, 21% Anonymous Factory 3, 20% Cycle, 8% Anonymous Factory 25, and less than half of 1% Red Cross.

The set's 200 cards vary widely in scarcity. The 150 Recruit-Napoleon cards are the most common overall, but still exhibit a wide range of difficulty. A few players, including Carrigan, Ellis, Graham, Higgins, Kling, Nunamaker, Stovall, and Wood (listed alphabetically), are nearly as difficult as the average Broadleaf-Cycle card. I speculate that these variations are due to a two-stage release of Recruit cards: the "first series" of 100 cards, issued around Opening Day, became the most common cards. This was followed perhaps two months later by a second release of the remaining 50 Recruit cards, now including a small proportion of Napoleon and Anonymous Factory 3 backs. This "second series" was distributed much less widely, accounting for the variations in scarcity 100 years later.

Of the 50 cards in the Broadleaf-Cycle category, the career descriptions of several players indicate that they were issued even later in the season, and thus can be considered as the set's "high numbers." All 50 of these players are at least somewhat scarce, but perhaps half are widely considered rarities and often fetch very high prices. These rarities include Adams, Almeida, Bauman, Butcher, Donlin, Donnelly, Downey, Fournier, Houser, Kuhn, Irv Lewis, Lowdermilk, McCarthy, Ward Miller, Mogridge, Nelson, Pelty, Peters, Ragan, Rasmussen, Saier, Sweeney, Tyler, and Woodburn.

T207 contains several recognized card front variations. In three cases, neither variation is particularly difficult: Ray Fisher with blue or white cap, Jimmy Austin with or without a shirt insignia, George Mullin with or without a Detroit "D" on his cap. The Paddy Livingston card appears in three varieties: the small "C" insignia on his shirt is the most common, while the larger "C" and the "A" varieties are more difficult. The Irving Lewis card, perhaps the toughest in the entire set, exists in two forms, with or without an emblem on his sleeve. The "No emblem" Lewis is the more difficult of the two, though most collectors would be happy to acquire either one. Finally, a small number of T207 cards have been reported with back ink that appears distinctly brown rather than the typical black, although there is no consensus yet whether these cards qualify as true variations or are merely the result of a random printing anomaly.

Note: A T207 Checklist and Gallery of all 200 players have recently been added to the Old Cardboard website. The checklist also identifies the back category for each of the 200 players.

1) Lew Lipset, The Encyclopedia of Baseball Cards, Volume 3: 20th Century Tobacco Cards, (1986, SP, p. 61)
2) Bob Marquette, "The T207 Set: What Were They Thinking?," Vintage and Classic Baseball Collector (February 2004, p. 38)
3) Tim Newcomb, "No Population Explosion: Studying T207s," Vintage and Classic Baseball Collector (Part 1, February 2004, and Part 2, June 2004)

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3. Latest Additions to the 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:
1910   E222   A. W. H. Caramels (Virginia League)
1912   T207   Brown Backgrounds

Set Galleries have been added for:
1909   T207   Brown Backgrounds

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

4. Book Review: The T206 Collection: The Players & Their Stories

Collectors of the classic T206 White Borders set will find this new release both informative and graphically pleasing. The 224-page 9-1/2 by 11-1/2 inch volume is printed in full color and represents all 393 players found in the century old 500-plus card set. It was researched and compiled by Tom and Ellen Zappala with input from Boston area talk radio host Lou Blasi. PSA's Joe Orlando provided the Foreword and a concluding chapter about the various factors affecting T206 card values.

Unlike most other T206 references that provide great detail about the T206 card brands, error cards, production history and the many card back series and tobacco factory variations, this volume focuses almost exclusively on the careers of the pictured players.

Thus, for each of the 393 players found in the T206 set, color images of each player's card(s) are presented along with his overall career statistics and the team on which he played. More importantly, a moderately detailed narrative is provided for each player with details about his life and baseball career. With some exceptions, each player is presented in a two-player-per-page format (see example page below for the profiles of Walter Johnson and Addie Joss).

This focus on players dictates the fundamental organization of the book, with chapters based on one of several player groups.

Chapter 1 begins with the 38 Hall of Famers found in the set. Chapter 2 presents profiles for a dozen players who, in the author's estimation based on the player's stats, might be considered likely candidates for the Hall of Fame.

Next is a long chapter with profiles for 133 "uncommon" players that, according to the authors, "all had something a little 'different' in their approach to both the game and to life in general."

Chapter 4 covers the "Bad Boys of Baseball," a group of 16 "infamous" players, some that almost ruined their careers, some ruined themselves, and others nearly ruined the game itself.

The 30 minor leaguers in the T206 set are profiled in Chapter 5. Because these are sometimes the most forgotten players, the research and write-ups for them are perhaps the most significant of any in the volume.

Rounding out the T206 set in Chapter 6, card images and profiles for 164 "commons" are presented. As with the minor leaguers, the stories for many of these less known players are sometimes just as interesting as their more famous counterparts. They made contributions to the game in many ways that could never be measured in batting averages or win-lost records. Together, they helped shape our National Pastime.

As stated above, Chapter 7 written by Joe Orlando provides background information about the set and the factors that affect card values.

Players are sequenced alphabetically within each chapter, with a master index to all players in the back.

Tom Zappala, Ellen Zappala, The T206 Collection: The Players & Their Stories (Peter Randall Publisher, Portsmouth, NH, 2010). Retail Price: $38 (clothbound).

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

E222 A.W.H. Caramel Mystery Solved. For decades, veteran card collectors have attempted to answer one of our hobby's most puzzling mysteries: What is the identity of the sponsor of the century old E222 A.W.H Caramel card set. Now, collector and supersluth researcher Tim Cathey has not only found the answer, but uncovered century-old photos of A.W.H. as well as his family and a 1910-era horseless carriage used to deliver his product. All are revealed along with a never-before-published gallery of all twelve cards known to the E222 series in the summer issue of Old Cardboard magazine, set to arrive in subscriber's mailboxes in mid-July.

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.