Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
  eNews Issue #167 (Sep 2018)           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. Al Schacht: The Clown Prince of Baseball
3. Walter Johnson: Politics After Baseball
4. 1902 Sporting Life Newspaper Promotes W600 Cabinets
5. 1912 PC766 Postcards and the baseball artwork of Robert Robinson
6. Latest Additions to the OldCardboard.com Website
7. 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 60-90 days. For the most current listings of additional vintage card shows and auctions, see the Key Events Calendar, accessible directly from the home page of the Old Cardboard website.

Have an event that needs to be on the OC Calendar?
Email editor@oldcardboard.com.

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The support of the above sponsors enables us to continue to expand the Old Cardboard online information resources. We much appreciate their support and hope that you do also.

* * *

September 2018
20Dallas, TX Heritage T206 PSA Set Registry Sports Auction (website).
20Phone/Internet Goodwin & Co. Auction (see website for details).
21-23King of Prussia, PA Philly Sports Card & Memorabilia Show (see website for details).
27Phone/Internet Sterling Sports Auctions (see website for details).
October 2018
4Internet Only Mile High Auction (see website for details).
6Internet Brockelman Auctions (see website for details).
10Phone/Internet Clean Sweep Auctions (see website for details).
12-14Chantilly, VA CSA Chantilly Show (see website for details).
18-19Dallas, TX Heritage Fall Sports Memorabilia Catalog Auction (website).
21Internet BST Auctions (see website for details).
28Phone/Internet Robert Edward Auctions (see website for details).
November 2018
2-4Boston, MA Greater Boston Sports Collectors Club (GBSCC) Show (website).
3Phone/Internet Small Traditions Auctions (see website for details).
8Phone/Internet Huggins & Scott Auctions (see website for details).
8Phone/Internet Sterling Sports Auctions (see website for details).
10Phone/Internet Fusco Auctions (see website for details).
13-15Phone/Internet Hake's Americana & Collectibles Auction (incl. baseball; website).
15-16Dallas, TX Heritage Sports Collectibles Auction (see website for details).
16-18Rosemont, Il Chicago Sports Spectacular Show (see website for details).
24San Leandro, CA San Francisco Bay Area Show (see web page for details)
29Phone/Internet CollectAuctions.com Auction (see website for details).
30-2King of Prussia, PA Philly Show (see website for details).


More Vintage Hobby Events


2. Al Schacht: The Clown Prince of Baseball

While perhaps not widely known among baseball fans and vintage card collectors today, Al Schacht enjoyed a varied career as a major league baseball player and baseball comedian, as well as a coach and restaurateur. His three-years in the majors (1919-1921) were spent entirely as a pitcher for the Washington Senators, where he compiled a winning record of 14 wins against 10 losses.

Schacht's main claim to fame, however, began after an arm injury ended his career in the majors. He began his comedy in 1922 as a joint act with fellow coach Nick Altrock. It wasn't until later, in the mid-1930's, that his baseball comedy acts were performed solo and he became quite famous for them.

As a baseball comic, Schacht was instrumental in setting scores of attendance records at ball parks across the country, providing entertainment in many World Series and All-Star Games. It was during this phase of his career that he acquired his nickname as "the clown prince of baseball."

Significantly, during World War II, Schacht also brought laughter and joy to thousands of troops throughout Europe, Africa and Asia.

One of Schacht's early baseball "cards" is found in the 1922-23 PB4 Kolb's Mothers Bread set of pinbacks featuring 32 members of the Reading, PA International League "Aces." Schacht had joined the Aces after an injury while playing with the Senators, hoping to rehabilitate and rejoin the Washington team.


1922-23
Kolb's
Mother's
Bread
Pinbacks

1934 Diamond
Matchbooks

1936 R312 "Color Tints"

1936 R314 Goudey
Wide Pens

It was as a baseball coach and comedian (not a player), however, that Schacht found his way into several of the then-mainstream baseball card sets.

One of these was a matchbook cover from the 1934 U1 "Silver Borders" set produced by the Diamond Matchbook Co. He is also found in the 50-card 1936 R312 "Color Tints" set as well as the 1936 R314 Goudey "Wide Pens" issue. Examples of his cards from each of these sets are illustrated above.


1939 R334 Play Ball

R334 Back

1940 R335 Play Ball

R335 Back

In addition, the "Clown Prince of Baseball" seems to have had a special relationship with Gum, Inc., and was involved in all three of the "Play Ball" sets (1939, 1940 and 1941) distributed by the company.

His card from the 1939 R334 Play Ball set is horizontally oriented showing him clowning around on the field and catching a ball at one of the bases. The card back is numbered (#113). Under Schacht's name and nickname (Clown Prince of Baseball) is a brief text summarizing some of his career highlights.

Curiously, the labeling at the bottom states that the card is one of 250 cards in the set, although only 161 players show up on the set checklist today. One card, #126, was never printed.

Schacht's 1940 R335 Play Ball card shows him in a more conventional chest-up pose in a framed format with his name in a panel at the bottom.

The back of the card shows that his card is #116. The narrative states that Schacht was "on his fourth annual tour of the nation's ball parks" and that he had entertained "more than 50,000,000 people" in his long clowning career.

In 1941, the third year of the distribution of Play Ball gum, the set was very attractively designed and printed in pastel colors. Backs were numbered and similar in format to those printed in previous years. Unfortunately, the 1941 set was reduced from 162 to 72 players.


1941 R336 Play Ball Wrapper
Schacht was not featured on any of the cards in the 1941 R336 Play Ball set. His name was, however, printed on the wrapper of every gum pack sold (see example at left). It was part of a contest that Gum, Inc. offered that year in which the top 200 prizes were copies of Schacht's just-released book "Clowning Through Baseball."

Cover (without dust jacket)
of Schacht's 1941 Book
"Clowning Through Baseball"


The book was offered on the wrapper "FREE" to the "200 most correct, neat and most original replies" to count the pieces of baseball equipment shown on the wrapper. As seen from the example wrapper (above left), the equipment shown is numerous and somewhat subjective for those attempting to count. Accurate counting was made even more difficult because the top and bottom edge cuts often varied by as much as 1/4 to 1/2 inch from wrapper to wrapper.

An image of the dust jacket of Schacht's book is displayed on the wrapper along with details of the rules for the contest. According to the rules, answers were to be accompanied by "5 Play Ball wrappers" and mailed to the company's Philadelphia address. Judges were listed as Al Schacht, Dolly Stark [umpire] and Schacht's childhood friend and later HOFer Waite Hoyt. According to the wrapper, the contest closed on August 31, 1941.

Note: a complete facsimile edition of Schacht's book "Clowning Through Baseball" can be viewed online in PDF format courtesy Internet Archive (and you don't even have to send in any Play Ball gum wrappers). You do, however, need allow a few seconds for the PDF to load.


Scene from 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Paul Varjak (George Peppard) and Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) stroll
toward entrance to Al Schacht's Restaurant on E52 Street in Manhattan, NY.
Following WWII, with his baseball playing and coaching days behind him, Schacht also curtailed the amount of time spent in touring with his comic routines. That's when he started his next endeavor--as a restaurateur. Thus, in the mid-1940s, he opened a successful steak house on E52 Street (just off Park Avenue) in New York City.

Not surprisingly, it became the "Al Schacht" restaurant and was a popular hangout for nearly two decades, catering to a clientele of sports stars and stage and screen celebrities.

The menus at the restaurant varied in design, but some were round, fashioned as oversized baseballs, and featured dishes named after old-time players. From time to time, Schacht would mount the small restaurant stage and launch into one of his old routines, to the delight of patrons.

The restaurant's exterior appears in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany's when Paul Varjak (George Peppard) and Holly Golightly (Aubrey Hepburn) go there for dinner (see image above).


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3. Walter Johnson: Politics After Baseball


Johnson's 1940
Campaign Button
for U.S. Congress
(2x actual size)

After a long and stellar career in baseball, Walter Johnson decided to try his hand at politics just prior to WWII. This was perhaps inspired by his longtime friend, President Calvin Coolidge and by his father-in-law Edwin Roberts, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

As it turned out, however, his widely acclaimed pitching prowess on the diamond exceeded his success in pitching his political views to voters on their way to the ballot box.

To be sure, Johnson was elected as a Montgomery County, Maryland commissioner in 1938.

But his bid for the U.S. House in 1940 proved a bit more challenging. He sought a congressional seat for Maryland's 6th district. And although he won the Republican primary held on May 6, he came up short in the November 5 general election against the incumbent Democrat, William D. Byron, by a score of 60,037 (53%) to 52,258 (47%).

A campaign button (shown here) that was used in Johnson's 1940 primary campaign recently sold in a Hake's Americana auction. It measures 15/16-inch in diameter. The baseball theme used in the background of the button no doubt aided Johnson's effort in the primaries, but was not enough to put a win in his column in the general election. Buttons Johnson used for the general election are also known to vintage collectors although they are said to be a little less scarce.

The 1925 ballpark image below shows Johnson (in his Washington Senators uniform) shaking hands with fellow Republican and the then 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge.


Johnson and Longtime Friend Calvin Coolidge at Ballpark in 1925
Related Side Note: Click here to see a
One-Minute Video featuring Johnson's famous side-arm pitch as recorded in 1925 near the end of his illustrious career (courtesy Wikipedia; may not display on some browsers).


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4. 1902 Sporting Life Ad Among Earliest to Promote W600 Cabinets

Vintage collector and Old Cardboard author Tom Slowey recently provided us with images of pages from the September 20, 1902 issue of the Sporting Life weekly sports newspaper (see images below). Significantly, page 2 of the paper includes a very early promotion for oversized cards later referenced in the American Card Catalog as W600 "Baseball Players" cabinets.

As seen from the images, a banner across the top of page 1 also promotes the newspaper's "Free Photos of Celebrated Base Ball Players."  It was a campaign that would continue throughout the balance of the first decade of the twentieth century and beyond.


Sporting Life Cover (Sept. 20, 1902)

Enlargement of Ad on Page 2 (click image to enlarge further)

Sporting Life Page 2 (Sept. 20, 1902)

The ad predates by three weeks a similar ad that ran in the October 11, 1902 issue of the paper. An image of the latter ad is included as part of a comprehensive article about the W600 set penned by longtime W600 collector Jerry Spillman and published in Issue #8 of Old Cardboard magazine (see reference below).


Fred Clarke

Napoleon Lajoie

John McGraw

Rube Waddell
Four of the 18 cabinet cards offerred in the
September 20, 1902 issue of Sporting Life
As might be expected in the launch of major new campaign, the earlier ad (shown above) offers cards for only 18 players, while the October ad three weeks later expands to cards for 37 players. Among the 18 players included in the earlier ad were HOFers Fred Clark, Napoleon Lajoie, John McGraw and Rube Waddell (illustrated at right).

Except for the expansion of cards from 18 to 37 players in the October 11 edition, the layout (position of the cutout coupon, narrative, etc.) of the ads for the two issue dates were virtually the same--with one curious change. While the September 20 issue required "a coupon and six 1-cent stamps," the October 11 edition required "a coupon and three 2-cent stamps" for each player requested. We can only speculate now, but perhaps the newspaper's mail room staff was trying to cut in half the time required to affix stamps to the popular cabinets they distributed.

Sporting Life was not bashful in taking credit for the success of the sport at the turn of the twentieth century. In most of the several variations in labeling below the player photos, the last line at the bottom of the card reads "The Paper that Made Base Ball Popular."

A Set Profile along with an expanded Player Checklist and Gallery of Cards for the W600 set is provided on the Old Cardboard website. Note: because the checklist is very large and database driven, it may take a few seconds for it to display on your monitor.

References:
1) Jerry Spillman, "1902-11 W600 Sporting Life Cabinets: Overview of a Rare and Important Set," Old Cardboard Magazine, Issue #8 (Summer 2006), p. 24-29
2) "Featured Card Set: 1902-11 W600 Sporting Life Cabinets," Old Cardboard eNewsletter, Issue #27 (July 2006), Item #2

Postscript: reflecting further on the W600 cards and their early distribution, long-time collector and Old Cardboard author Kevin Struss has informed us that the W600 Sporting Life cabinets were first offered in the papers's August 30, 1902 edition. At the time, there were only five players offered: Lajoie, Wagner, Waddell, Chesbro and Delahanty.


5. 1912 PC766 Postcards and the baseball artwork of Robert Robinson

This 1912 set four postcards features four baseball-related color lithographs using artwork created by noted artist Robert Robinson.

The Robinson postcards are listed in the American Card Catalog under the heading "Sports Post Card Sets" as: "PC766 Robert Robinson Series (Copy. Gross, Curtis Pub.) B.B. ... .30."

The number of cards in the set is not indicated in the ACC listing although it no doubt refers to Robinson's four postcards following a baseball theme. The value for each card at that time (1960) was estimated at 30 cents!

Adding further interest to the postcard set, the artwork from the same series was also used on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post, one of the most widely circulated and influential magazines, reaching millions of homes each week.

Examples for each of the four postcards are shown below along with examples for each of the respective Saturday Evening Post covers, along with the issue dates for each.


October 1, 1910

September 16, 1911

September 30, 1911

April 13, 1912

The four circa 1912 baseball postcards featured on the Saturday Evening Post covers are shown below, presented in an original framed display. Although the individual postcards are scarce but relatively available today, this is an extremely rare original display with the cards affixed to a specially produced printed matting.

Original Framed Display of all Four Baseball-Related PC766 Cards
(click to enlarge)
While all of the images are generic in nature, the illustration of the batter bears a striking resemblance to that of Honus Wagner.

As with the individual postcards, each card in the display bears the copyright of both "Edward Gross N.Y." and "The Curtis Publishing Co." on the front.

The mount, which also bears the copyright of Edward Gross, features an illustration of a crossed bats-and-ball motif and is titled "Exciting Moments." The display was likely produced as a special artistic presentation for home decor. Overall size is 19 x 9 inches.

* * * * * * * * * *

Although following an artistic style similar to Robinson, the Saturday Evening Post's cover is now more associated with famous illustrator Norman Rockwell, whom the publisher discovered in 1916 as a then-unknown 22-year-old New York artist. Rockwell's illustrations of the American family and rural life of a bygone era became icons. During his 50-year career with the Post, Rockwell painted more than 300 covers--including some that were baseball-related.

Founded in 1821 (with roots claimed to go back to 1728 and Ben Franklin), the Saturday Evening Post declined in readership through the 1960s, and in 1969 the publication folded for two years before being revived as a quarterly publication in 1971.

Robinson also produced baseball-related artwork for Motor Magazine, including this "Ford vs Chevy" oil-on-canvas artwork used on a Motor Magazine cover from the 1920s. Titled "A Close Call: Ford vs Chevy," the baseman is wearing a Ford jersey while the runner wears a jersey promoting Chevrolet. The original artwork is signed in the lower left by "Robt. Robinson" and sold in an October 27, 2009. Heritage auction for just under $9000. The Saturday Evening Post ran a number of baseball-related covers in the early 1900s, including Norman Rockwell's classic "Gramps At The Plate" cover shown here. The illustration ran on the cover of the August 5, 1916 issue of the iconic weekly that, at its peak, enjoyed a distribution in excess of 1,000,000 readers. It was among the first of Rockwell's 300 Saturday Evening Post covers that spanned a period of more than fifty years.

Note: A Set Profile, Checklist and Gallery that includes the complete 12-card set of PC766 Robinson Postcards (four baseball and eight non-baseball) is provided on the Old Cardboard website.


6. 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 Profiles have been added for:
1910   "W-Unc"   Colorized Portraits

Set Checklists have been added for:
1939   R334   Play Ball

Set Galleries have been added for:
1912   PC766   Robinson PCs (8-non-baseball cards added to complete the 12-card set)

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 every month. We welcome and encourage feedback with checklist additions, images of cards missing from our galleries, error corrections and suggestions. Please send all feedback to editor@oldcardboard.com.

Beyond the above pages recently added 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 eBay listings. Samples of a few of these custom searches are provided below. Hundreds more are provided on the Set Profile pages throughout the Old Cardboard website.

T-Cards (Cont.)
T209 Contentnea
1910 T210 Old Mill
T212 Obak
T213 Coupon
T222 Fatima (Player)
T332 Helmar Stamps
1952-55 Red Man Tobacco

W-Cards (Exhibits)
1921-28 (W461)
PC Back Exhibits
1929-38 W463 ("4-on-1s")
1939-46 W462 Salutations
1948 HOF Series
1922 "Eastern" Exhibits
1961 Wrigley Field

(more custom searches
by major card group)



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

Expansion of the OC eNewsletter. In case you haven't already noticed, this issue of the Old Cardboard eNewsletter has been substantially expanded in both the number and the length of articles. A column on the right side of the eNewsletter also displays a brief message from each of our growing list of sponsors, along with links to their websites. As you see, our sponsors make up a virtual "Who's Who" in the vintage baseball card hobby today. We hope that you like the expanded format and, as always, welcome any suggestions and feedback from our readers. We also invite authors who may wish to contribute articles of comparable size and scope to the examples in this issue. One key goal is to fill in part of the void left with the hold placed on the print magazine.

Vintage Baseball Cards Research Tip. A sometimes overlooked but powerful tool for researching vintage baseball cards is provided in the ever expanding Article Index linked directly from the home page of the Old Cardboard website. The searchable Index contains more than 1000 articles focused exclusively on vintage baseball cards and memorabilia, including ALL articles published in all 167 Old Cardboard eNewsletters, all 34 issues of Old Cardboard magazine, all 50 issues of Lew Lipset's Old Judge newsletters, all 38 issues of the Vintage and Classic Baseball Collector (VCBC), all 20 issues of Sports Scoop, and more.

High Grade T206s by the Hundreds. In an unprecedented event, the highest-graded T206 set ever assembled is now up for sale. Only one of the 520 cards in the "Number One T206 set in the PSA registry" grades below Near Mint (NM 7). Further, 9 of only 13 T206 cards that PSA has graded Gem Mint 10 are found in this set. The cards are being sold as individual lots in a Special Auction held by Heritage Auctions that closes this coming Thursday, Sept. 20.

And N172 Old Judges by the Bushel. Speaking of vintage tobacco cards, in another ongoing auction collectors can select from a group of nearly 100 auction lots of cards from the venerable 19th-century N172 Old Judge set. Leading the most active "bid" list at this time is a much sought-after high-grade (SGC 5.5) example of HOFer Bid McPhee. The Clean Sweep Auction closing October 10 also features an N173 Old Judge cabinet card of Dyke Farrell, and much more.


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.  It is published quarterly around the middle of the last month of each quarter.  For a FREE subscription to the eNewsletter, 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.