Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
eNews Issue #81 (January 2011)

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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. Hocus Focus Checklist Now Complete
3. Latest Additions to the Website
4. Kimball Factory No. 649 (by Ted Zanidakis)
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 Key Events Calendar on the Old Cardboard website.

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January 2011

25Internet 2011 Old Cardboard Texas Hold'em Tourney #1 (details).
27Internet SportsCardLink Auction (see website for details).
27Phone/Internet Huggins & Scott Auctions (see website for details).
29Phone/Internet Legacy Sports Rarities Auction (see website for details).

February 2011

1Phone/Internet Hake's Auction (includes baseball; see website for details).
2Phone/Internet Clean Sweep Auctions (see website for details).
5Phone/Internet Memory Lane Auction (see website for details).
11Phone/Internet Goodwin & Co. Auction (see website for details).
19Internet Brockelman & Luckey Auctions (see website for details).
22Internet 2011 Old Cardboard Texas Hold'em Tourney #2 (details).
23-24Phone/Internet Legendary Auctions (see website for details).

2. Hocus Focus Checklist Now Complete

It has taken more than half a century, but the checklist for the baseball subset of the novel 1955 Topps "Hocus Focus" set is now complete. From the card backs, collectors have always known that the subset contained 23 cards. But with the recent discovery of cards for Hal Smith and Mel Parnell, all 23 players in the set are now confirmed.

Both cards from the scarce set (shown at right) sold on eBay last week in the same lot. Bidding started at 99 cents with no reserve. Sixteen bidders and thirty-two bids later, the lot closed at $2,247.

The 1955 Hocus Focus set follows the same self-developing format used in Topps' 1948 "Magic Photos" series. Significantly, the 1948 set was Topps first venture into baseball cards. Another closely related Hocus Focus "follow-up" set was issued in 1956. All three sets are described in David Hornish's article, "Topps's 1st Decade of Baseball Cards, Part II: Novelty & Test Issues of the 1950s" (Old Cardboard Issue #13, Fall 2007).

The Hocus Focus cards are listed in the American Card Catalog with the designation R714-26. The ACC listing, however, does not distinguish between the two sets and appears to refer to the 1956 cards based on the stated date of issue and card size (the 1955 cards are slightly smaller: 7/8 x 1-3/8 vs 1 x 1-5/8 inches).

The 1955 and 1956 Hocus Focus sets use the same design format. All are chest-up portraits in uniform with the player's name printed across the bottom. The checklist and player poses are the same in both sets except that the 1956 series contains five fewer players. The five players missing in the 1956 set are Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Wally Moon, Karl Spooner and Ed Mathews.

The backs for both Hocus Focus sets are also nearly identical. Across the top of each is printed "Photo No. xx of 23 (or 18 for the 1956 set) Baseball Stars." A trivia hint of the player on front is then printed across the middle of the card. A Hocus Focus logo is then printed across the bottom with a second and different number printed in white over a black circle in the lower right to denote a sequence number within the overall set.

A Set Profile and the now complete Checklist for the 1955 and 1956 Hocus Focus baseball subsets have been added to the Old Cardboard website. In addition, a Set Profile, detailed Checklist and full Gallery of all baseball-related cards are now shown for the 1948 Magic Photo set (designated as set R714-26 in the ACC).

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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 Profiles have been added for:
1955/56   R714-26   Topps Hocus Focus
1948   R714-27   Topps Magic Photos

Set Checklists have been added for:
1955/56   R714-26   Topps Hocus Focus
1948   R714-27   Topps Magic Photo

Set Galleries have been added for:
1888   N184   Kimball Champions (full 50-card set)
1948   R714-27   Topps Magic Photo

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

In addition to these additions to the Old Cardboard website, we have significantly expanded and refined our eBay Custom Search Links to make finding vintage baseball cards on eBay easier than ever. The results of these searches are continuously changing, so check back often to find the most recent listings.

4. Kimball Factory No. 649 (by Ted Zanidakis)

In 1887 when William S. Kimball produced its N184 "Champions of Games and Sports" card set, its factory in Rochester, New York had already been in operation for six years and was among the largest producers of cigarettes in the county. Centrally located along the Genesee River at Rochester's Court Street bridge, the four story factory was built of brick with steep slate roofs, timbered gables and dormers.

No doubt the factory's most striking feature, however, was the sculpture of the Roman god Mercury placed atop a 150-foot smokestack (seen prominently in the woodcut at right). Moved to another location, the statue continues to grace the Rochester skyline today.

Courtesy of Google Earth, below is a street-level view taken from the same vantage point today. As seen, the factory has long since been razed and is now the site of the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester. The small park in the foreground marks approximately the corner entrance to the factory in the 1880s.

Select above image to access a Google Earth interactive map and gain a broader perspective of the surrounding landmarks today.

The lithographed cards in the 1887 N184 Kimball "Champions" set include the first baseball cards issued from the factory and are among the most attractive baseball cards of the period (see Hardie Henderson example below).
And while the 50-card set contains only four baseball players, it also includes cards for John L. Sullivan ("Champion Heavy Weight Pugilist of World"), Jack Dempsey ("Champion Middle Weight Pugilist of World"), Annie Oakley ("Champion Rifle Shot of World") and numerous other lesser-known athletes.

For more detail about the Kimball factory and the N184 set, see Jon Canfield's article, "1887 N184 Kimball Champions: 19th Century Athletes & Artwork in Issue #13 (Fall 2007) of Old Cardboard Magazine. A Set Profile can also be viewed on the Old Cardboard website, as well as a recently added Gallery of the complete 50-card set.

In the 1890s, following Kimball's merger with the American Tobacco Co. (ATC), manufacture of Goodwin & Company cigarette brands "Old Judge" and "Gypsy Queen" was moved from New York City to the more efficient Kimball plant in Rochester. However, this move occurred nearly a decade after Goodwin's distribution of the well known N172 (Old Judge) and N175 (Gypsy Queen) baseball card sets.

Fortunately for today's collectors, the story of the Kimball factory and its distribution of baseball cards does not end in the nineteenth century. The factory continued its role as a leading producer of cigarettes. Several other ATC brands including Hassan, Hindu, Mecca and Sweet Caporal moved at least part of their production to Rochester in the first decade of the twentieth century. For Federal revenue purposes, the facility became identified as Factory Number 649 of the 1st District of New York.

During the peak of the production of tobacco card inserts from 1909-1911, ATC used the American Lithographic Co. (ALC) of New York City to print their cards. During that time, Factory 649 in Rochester became a key source for the distribution of the colorful inserts. As a result, numerous sets, including several devoted entirely to baseball, were inserted in tobacco products manufactured at the Rochester factory. Examples from several of these baseball sets are shown below.

Baseball Card Inserts Distributed from Factory 649
T201 Factory 649 Front and Back T205 Hassan Back T206 Backs (Hindu Brown & Red; Sweet Cap. Overprint)

The 1911 T201 set of 50 cards (100 Subjects) promoting Mecca cigarettes includes cards issued from both Factory 649 in Rochester as well as from Factory 30 located in New York City.

From the 1911 T205 set, cards issued by Factory 649 are found with both Hassan (shown above) and Hindu (not shown) cigarette advertising on back.

In addition, the popular T206 cards from 1909-1911 can be found issued from Factory 649 with Hindu (both brown and red backs) advertising. Interestingly, Sweet Caporal cards originally printed with Factory 30 on the backs can be found with Factory 649 overprints (also shown above right).

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

T.S. O'Connell Leaves SCD. It is with considerable sadness that we report the recent release of T.S. O'Connell as Editor of Sports Collectors Digest after seventeen years with the magazine. The move, which included the release of other Price Guide staff, is part of an apparent cost-cutting measure at Krause Publications, an Iola, Wisconsin division of F+W Media. Through meetings at shows and other hobby events, we have come to know O'Connell not only as a friend, but as a very talented and professional journalist. We wish him the very best. It remains uncertain how the changes will affect future issues of SCD (see separate News Brief below), or the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards--the flagship Krause price guide that is considered to be an essential component for the bookshelves of many vintage baseball card collectors.

SCD Moves to Bi-Weekly Schedule. As part of the reorganization at Krause Publications indicated in the News Brief above, the frequency of the Sports Collectors Digest (SCD) will be changing, effective immediately, to 26 issues per year. That's a biweekly schedule vs. the current weekly schedule (52 issues). According to Tom Bartsch who is taking the helm at SCD, the publication will also be "making plenty of content changes." Unfortunately for vintage collectors, this will include a shift to "more coverage of the modern-card market, including release information, product highlights and trends in the new-card hobby."

2012 National Set for Baltimore. With considerable positive feedback from exhibitors and attendees alike, the organizers of the National Sports Collectors Convention have arranged a return to Baltimore for the 2012 annual show. The show is now set for August 1-5, 2012. The 2011 show will be held in Chicago, which along with Cleveland, will remain as leading candidates for future shows.

Congrats to Hold'em Champ Miller. Congratulations to Rob Miller--Champion of the 2010 Old Cardboard Texas Hold'em Series, dedicated exclusively to vintage card collectors. Rob scored first place with a total of 37 points for the series. The Leaderboard results for the series of twelve monthly tournaments have now been posted on the Old Cardboard website. As seen on the Leaderboard, Andrew Adeboi (PDXPCL) came in second for the 2010 series, followed by your's truly (OldCardboard) and Brett Hardeman (BrettHardemn). Joshua Levine (Wite3), Steve Murray (2005XKR) and Rawn Hill (billcarrigan) fought to a three-way tie for fifth. All will recieve mini-trophies for the series. Rob Miller wins the roving trophy and bragging rights for 2011. We are planning a fourth annual series for 2011 with the first tournament to be held January 25. Details for the 2011 Series can be found on the Old Cardboard website. Thanks again to all who participated in 2010. We look forward to another great series in 2011 and hope that all can join the fun.

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.