Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
  eNews Issue #159 (July 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. Set Profile: 1930 "PR4" Baseball Pinbacks
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?

OC eNewsletter Sponsor

July 2017

26-30Rosemont, IL National Sports Collectors Convention (see website for details).
27Phone/Internet Goldin Auctions Live Auction (see website for details).

August 2017

2-3Phone/Internet Clean Sweep Auctions (see website for details).
3Phone/Internet Huggins & Scott Auctions (see website for details).
3Phone/Internet Sterling Sports Auctions (see website for details).
3Phone/Internet Auction (see website for details).
3Internet Sports Card Link (see website for details).
3Internet Sirius Sportscards (see website for details).
5Phone/Internet Goldin Auctions Catalog Auction (see website for details).
12Phone/Internet Memory Lane Auction (see website for details).
16Phone/Internet Mile High "Extra Innings" Auction (see website for details).
17Internet Bagger's Auctions (see website for details).
17-20White Plains, NY White Plains Sports Card Show (see website for details).
19Phone/Internet Hunt Auctions (see website for details).
19-20Dallas, TX Heritage Auctions (see website for details).

2. Set Profile: 1930 "PR4" Baseball Pinbacks

Although listed as "anonymous" in both the American Card Catalog and the Sports Collectors Bible, the pinbacks that make up this set have been generally considered by collectors to have been distributed in boxes of Cracker Jack confectionery. The link to the famous snack, however, has never been verified and likely did not exist.

The hobby number PR4 is also often used to describe the set, although it too has a mysterious origin, as discussed below.

The 25 pins in the set each measure 13/16 inches in diameter. As can be seen from the PR4 Pin Gallery on the Old Cardboard website, the line drawings of the players are found with backgrounds ranging from gray to yellow. The player's first and last name are printed below his image. There are no other markings on the front or back of the pins.

Based primarily on player-team affiliations, the issue date for the set is estimated to be about 1930.

The set was first checklisted in the Sports Collectors Bible as the "PR4 Baseball Drawing Set" The source for the PR4 label is unclear, but probably loosely linked to the American Card Catalog, where the set is assigned the number PR3-4. The PR4 classification, as well as the "Cracker Jack" set name is still used by many collectors and in hobby auctions and other references.

The pins are listed as being of "anonymous" origin in the American Card Catalog. Likewise, there is no sponsor attribution in the Sports Collectors Bible.

Over the past decade or two, several wrappers and a display piece have surfaced that shed new light about the origins of the pinbacks (examples of both are illustrated below).

As seen from the wrapper at left, the pinbacks are part of a larger sport and non-sport set sponsored by Button Gum. The poster at right further indicates that Button Gum was a brand produced by General Gum, Inc. of Chicago.

Despite the challenge to "Start A Collection of 500 Buttons" on both the wrapper and the display piece, only a few more than 100 subjects have been categorized into five subsets. The baseball player subset is well established at 25 players. The single baseball player example depicted on the wrapper is that "Kiki" Cuyler. Example pinbacks of four players ("Kiki" Cuyler, Rabbit Maranville, Al Simmons and Lou Gehrig) are displayed on the poster.

The various subsets are identified on the wrapper and display piece. In addition to baseball players, subsets include: presidents, movie stars, generals, soldiers, animals, Indians, scouts, birds and World's Fair.

A Set Profile for the PR4 Pinbacks (including a Set Checklist and Full Gallery of all 25 players) is provided on the Old Cardboard website.

OC eNewsletter Sponsor

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:
1962   M118   Baseball Monthly Premiums

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.

P2 Sweet Caporal Pins
Mrs. Sherlock's Bread
PM8 Our National Game
PR3-3 Orbit Gum
PR4 "Cracker Jack"
PX3 Double Headers

Game Cards
1888 WG1 Game Cards
WG2/WG3 Fan Craze
WG4 Polo Grounds
WG5 "National Game"
WG6 "Tom Barker"
WG8 S&S Game Cards

(more custom searches
by major card group)

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

Pathe Freres Update. In reference to Old Cardboard's May eNewsletter article on the Pathe Freres premium of Babe Ruth, reader Jason Lange sent us the image of a newspaper ad from the October 9, 1920 issue of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The ad promotes the Ruth premium (as well as other products) and provides further evidence that the Ruth card was produced and distributed in 1920 (not 1921 as previously indicated in most hobby references). More details of the newspaper ad (including images) can be viewed in a thread that Jason started on the Net54 website.

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.