Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
  eNews Issue #92 (December 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. Analysis Shows 1886 Start Date for N172 Old Judge Set
3. Latest Additions to the Website
4. 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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December 2011

14Phone/Internet Hunt Auctions (see website for details).
16Phone/Internet Leland's Catalog Auction (see website for details).
17Phone/Internet Memory Lane Auction (see website for details).
29Phone/Internet Sterling Sports Auctions (see website for details).

2. Analysis Shows 1886 Start Date for N172 Old Judge Set

For decades, the earliest of the popular N172 Old Judge cards were said to have been produced in 1887, based on a long line of hobby documentation and a widespread belief among many vintage collectors. According to the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, major card grading companies, the Old Cardboard website and virtually all hobby checklists, the Old Judge cards have been listed as being first produced in 1887.

Not so, according to analysis by some of the set's most avid collectors. A few of the Old Judge photographic cards are believed to have been first issued in the Fall of 1886.

The case for the 1886 production date for the earliest N172 cards is documented in The Photographic Baseball Cards of Goodwin & Company, a comprehensive book released in 2008 by Old Cardboard subscribers and veteran collectors Jay Miller, Joe Gonsowski and Richard Masson.

Aside from the readers of that seminal volume, however, the 1886 production for some of the N172 cards seems to have been overlooked by others. Thus, the balance of this article focuses on some of the evidence that supports an 1886 issue date for the earliest cards in that venerable set.

The first photographic baseball cards produced by Goodwin and Co. belong to what we now call the "Script Series" cards (players name written in script). The earliest Script Series cards were focused on New York players from the National League Giants and American Association Metropolitans (Mets).

By studying the players present on the two New York teams, one can better assess start of production. Among the more popular script cards are the spotted tie portraits, sixteen in total, memorializing the 1886 New York Mets team. Charlie Reipschlager (example at right) is among the Spotted Tie members who would leave the team before the end of 1886. Reipschlager was sold by the Mets to the Cleveland Spiders on December 16th, 1886.

The New-York-based Goodwin & Company (producers of the Old Judge set) had a track record for being quick to react to all player team changes throughout its multi-year production of the Old Judge cards. It is therefore considered highly unlikely that they would have included Reipschlager in the Spotted Ties subset after his sale to the Cleveland Spiders.

Another player suggests an even earlier start of production date. Tommy "Dude" Esterbrook was purchased by the Mets from the New York Giants on October 20th, 1886, yet Esterbrook is not found within the Spotted Tie subset. Esterbrook was instead issued two Script cards as a New York Giant (based on the dark socks in the example; the Mets socks were lighter during that time).

While it is believed most Script baseball subjects were first issued in 1886, some would continue to be produced well into 1887. At least one player in the Script Series, $10,000 Kelly, was introduced in 1887 and features a team other than New York.

The above referenced book provides additional comprehensive discussion about the production dates for all cards in the Old Judge series and we refer the reader to that reference for a more thorough analysis.

Based on this compelling analysis that strongly indicates 1886 production date for a few of the Old Judge cards, we have modified the N172 Set Profile page on the Old Cardboard website to reflect the 1886-1890 range of issue dates for cards within the N172 set.

Note: The above analysis does not alter the 1886 production date of the obscure N167 Old Judge cards (all featuring New York Giants players) also produced by Goodwin & Company. The images on the N167 cards were derived from the same Joseph Wood photos used in a woodcut composite printed in the July 10, 1886 issue of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, which serves to validate 1886 as the year of issue for the N167s.

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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 Jordan Base Ball Game

Set Galleries have been added for:
1910 Jordan Base Ball Game
1927 Honey Boy Ice Cream

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 continue to expand and refine 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. News Briefs (A Digest of Recent Hobby Happenings)

Gift Reminder. Don't forget to take advantage of our unprecedented holiday "Back-Pack" special -- a full run of twenty-six Old Cardboard magazines. Offer good through December 31.

We wish all of our readers a
Happy Holiday Season
and a
Prosperous New Year!

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.