Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
  eNews Issue #154 (February 2017)

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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. Two 1913 Playing Card Sets Challenge Today's Collectors
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.

Have an event that needs to be on the OC Calendar?

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February 2017

10-12Houston, TX Houston Collectors Show (Tristar) (see website for details).
11Internet Brockelman Auctions (see website for details).
18Phone/Internet Goldin Auctions (see website for details).
22Phone/Internet Mile High "Extra Innings" Auction (see website for details).
25Phone/Internet Small Traditions Auctions (see website for details).
25-26Dallas, TX Heritage Platinum Night Sports Catalog Auction (website).

March 2017

1Phone/Internet Clean Sweep Auctions (see website for details).
3-5King of Prussia, PA Philly Show (see website for details).
5Internet Only Wheatland Auction Services (see website for details).
9Phone/Internet Sterling Sports Auctions (see website for details).
9Phone/Internet Mile High Catalog Auction (see website for details).
9Phone/Internet Goodwin & Co. Auction (see website for details).
14-16Phone/Internet Hake's Americana & Collectibles Auction (incl. baseball; website).
31+Chantilly, VA CSA Chantilly Show (see website for details).

2. Two 1913 Playing Card Sets Challenge Today's Collectors

Two closely related playing card sets produced in 1913 have a unique attraction among many of today's vintage collectors. Both were "invented" by Thomas H. Barker and produced by the National Baseball Playing Card Company, Inc. of Boston. They are designated by collectors as the WG5 "National Game" and the WG6 "Tom Barker Game" (see Notes on "WG" Nomenclature below).

The cards are somewhat scarce but available, with common players in VG condition generally selling in the $20-$30 range.

WG5 National Game Back

WG6 Tom Barker Back
The two sets are largely the same but with notable differences.

Perhaps the most distinctive difference between the two sets is in the card backs (examples shown at right). As seen, both are framed in an ornate red background pattern.

Both games contain 52 playing cards in addition to a score card and a folded instruction sheet. The cards are standard playing card size (2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches) and were distributed as sets in cardboard boxes that sold for 50 cents each.

Of the 52 playing cards, 43 feature images of named baseball players of the period. The remaining nine cards show generic action scenes without identifying the players depicted in the scenes.

A patent notice dated March 25, 1913 is printed in small type on the card backs from both sets.

The National Game backs (above left) are labeled as such inside a large round panel. The Tom Barker card backs (above right) are quite different and display a left-handed batter in full body pose and further decorated with a small baseball in each corner.

Cy Young
WG5 National Game

Cy Young
WG6 Tom Barker Game
Of the 43 cards in each set with identified players, 38 players are identical and common to both the "National" and the "Barker" card game sets (an example of the Cy Young card from each set is shown at left).

These 38 cards use not only the same player images, but also display the same baseball "actions" used for playing the card game.

There are five cards, however, that are unique to each set. For the WG5 National Game set, these cards are: Chase (N.Y. Amer.); Dahlen (Brooklyn); McLean (St. Louis, Nat.); Stahl (Boston, Amer.) and Stovall (St. Louis, Amer.).

The five cards unique to the WG6 Tom Barker game include Carrigan (Boston Am.); Chase (Chicago Am.); Meyers (N. Y. Nat.); Wheat (Brooklyn Nat.) and Wingo (St. Louis Nat.).

Note: see Player Checklist for a complete listing of all cards in both sets.

Chase, N.Y. Am.
1913, first 39 games
WG5 National Game

Chase, Chicago Am.
1913, final 102 games
WG6 Tom Barker Game
As indicated, all but one of the five cards that are unique to each game depict entirely different players. The one exception is the card for Hal Chase, who is represented in both sets--but with a different pose.

The Chase cards from the two sets also list a different team affiliation that reflects his move from the New York American League to the Chicago American League after 39 games into the 1913 season. Chase then played in over 100 games that season for Chicago (see change in pose on the Chase card from the examples at right).

From this change, it seems clear that the Barker Game was produced and distributed later in the year, despite the March 25, 1913 patent date found on the backs of both card sets.

A box in which the National Game cards were distributed is shown here.

A Combined Checklist for the WG5 and WG6 game card sets has been added to the Old Cardboard website along with a full Gallery for the WG5 National Baseball Game set.

Note: the rules for playing the National Game and the Barker Game are the same, although the instructions found in the Barker Game provide a little more detail.

The WG6 instructions are provided on the Old Cardboard website on the profile page for the WG6 Tom Barker Card Game.

Notes on "WG" Nomenclature: The WG5 and WG6 designations are often attributed to the American Card Catalog. Curiously, however, the WG designation in the ACC (1960) is reserved for "Greeting Cards" with the lower numbers (WG1 through WG50) used more specifically for Valentine cards. The WG designation as applied to baseball-themed playing cards was apparently first used in the late 1970s in the Sports Collectors Bible under the general heading "Team Games."

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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:
1907   Simplicity   Tigers-Cubs Postcards

Set Checklists have been added for:
1907   Simplicity   Tigers-Cubs Postcards
1913   WG5   National Baseball Card Game
1913   WG6   Tom Barker Card Game (combined cross-checklist with WG5)

Set Galleries have been added for:
1907   Simplicity   Tigers-Cubs Postcards
1913   WG5   National Baseball Card Game

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

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.

R-Cards (Pre-WWII)
R300 George C. Miller
R306 Butter Cream
R310 Butterfinger
R313 Nat. Chicle "Fine Pens"
1933 R328 U.S. Caramel
1933 DeLong
1939 Play Ball
1940 Play Ball
1941 Play Ball

R-Cards (Post-WWII)
1943/49 M.P. & Co.
1949 Leaf
1934-36 Batter Up
1929 R316 Kashin
1934-36 Diamond Stars
1941 Double Play
1936 R311 Glossy/Leather
1936 R312 Color Tint
1935 Schutter-Johnson

(more custom searches
by major card group)

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

Website Issues.   We are currently experiencing problems with the Old Cardboard website. The site is partially restored but still does not properly link to card set details (Checklists, Galleries, etc.). We expect to resolve the remaining issues and be fully operational within the next 24-48 hours. We appreciate your patience.

OC Magazine Issue #34 on Track.   Issue #34 (Spring 2017) of Old Cardboard magazine is shaping up nicely for distribution in late April. If you are not already a subscriber, remember that you can start your lifetime subscription for only $20 from our Subscriptions page. As always, we thank all of our advertisers, authors and readers for your continued support for Old Cardboard.

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.