Thursday, December 30, 2010

Old Judge Tobacco Cards

Cap Anson (in uniform)
***The information in this article was used to write our ebook, Before There Was Bubble Gum: Our Favorite Pre-World War I Baseball Card Sets.  To purchase the ebook, please click here.***

The first set of baseball cards ever printed is considered to be the Old Judge cigarette cards, which have the catalog designation N172.  These small-size cards measure 1 7/16” by 2 ½” and feature some of the earliest professional baseball players.  The Old Judge baseball cards were printed over a three year period from 1887 to 1890.  The Goodwin & Company cigarette manufacturers inserted these cards into packages of cigarettes.  Goodwin & Company also owned the Gypsy Queen brand of cigarettes and released the same images with different advertising on the cards.  

The Old Judge cards are examples of the one of the earliest photography techniques.  Using the albumen from egg whites along with photographic chemicals, a “positive” was created on the paper.  The albumen print technique would later be replaced by color lithography.

King Kelly
The entire set consists of 576 cards, but the actual number of surviving cards is low.  Many of the cards have a population of one or zero, particularly in nicer conditions.  One of the highest population cards is # 48 California Brown in full catcher’s gear.  One of the most expensive cards N172 cards is considered to be # 12A Cap Anson in his White Stockings uniform.  Cap Anson had one of the longest careers in professional baseball, spanning 27 seasons.  He was also the first player to collect 3,000 hits.

The Old Judge cards were the first of their kind, but they quickly changed the future of two major industries in the United States.  Goodwin & Company was bought by the tobacco giant American Tobacco Company, which was owned by James Buchanan Duke.  Duke believed that the future of cigarettes was directly tied to the advertising, which included sports and actress cards.  Duke poured money into producing not only cards, but large-size cabinets.  Despite the very first wave of anti-smoking sentiments across the US, Duke continued to print baseball cards and insert them into cigarette packs.  These early tobacco cards are some of the rarest cards ever printed and is looking to buy more.
If you are looking to sell Old Judge baseball cards, please click here.  To see our selection of Old Judge cards, please click here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

1962 Post Cereal Football Cards

# 61 Jim Brown

Here at, one of our most popular sets is the 1962 Post football card set.  Collectors remember these cards being printed on the backs of their favorite cereal boxes when they were kids.  The Post Cereal Company printed these cards, which were supposed to measure 2½” by 3½”, to be cut out of the box manually.  Very few of these cards exist in nice condition because young children were usually the ones doing the cutting.  Unlike baseball, which had a three year run on both Post cereal and Jell-O cards, there was only one set released for football.

# 12 Bart Starr
The set consists of 200 cards total, organized by team and then alphabetically by player last name.  The teams were organized by the order in which they finished in 1961.  The Green Bay Packers, who finished 11-3 and went on to win the NFL Championship, start the set.  The Washington Redskins finished 1-12 and are last.  Post also released booklets about how to play offense or defense.  These were give-aways that could be acquired from grocery stores by purchasing Post cereal products, Gravy Train dog food, or Duncan Hines cake mixes.

The most expensive card that we currently have in stock is # 10 Tom Moore, the Packers running back who would be selected for the Pro Bowl in 1962.  The first card of the set, # 1 Dan Currie, a linebacker for the Packers, is the best selling card.  
Post also released a Canadian Football League set in 1962.  These cards feature players from the Argonauts, Eskimos, Alouettes, Rough Riders, and Stampeders teams and include a French translation of their English biographies. has yet to come across CFL Post football cards, but we are always looking for collections including these unique cards.  We do have hundreds of Post cards online and ready to buy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Sporting News: The Black & White Era

5/16/1951 issue recently finished organizing all of our Sporting News issues and we decided to write about our favorite weekly sports newspaper in three different parts.  The Sporting News can be divided into three distinct periods: Black & White, Color, and modern magazine.  This article will focus on the Black & White issues that are some of the most interesting baseball publications ever printed.

The Sporting News magazine was founded in 1886 by Alfred H. Spink, a former newspaper reporter and the current director of the St. Louis Browns.  At the time the Sporting News was first being printed, the Browns were experiencing some of the greatest success in the history of the franchise.  The Browns won the World Series in 1886, inspiring Spink to publish a weekly newspaper devoted to baseball.

The early Sporting News editions measure 17-5/16” by 11-5/16” and cost five cents per issue.  In 1899, Spink handed his publication over to his brother Charles and eventually phased himself out of the operation entirely.  Charles continued the emphasis on baseball, particularly on box scores.  Before the Sporting News, baseball box scores were hard to find, especially for baseball fans that did not leave near their favorite teams.  Circulation remained low for The Sporting News during the early part of the 20th century, possibly due to unflattering events such as the Black Sox scandal.  Fortunately for the Sporting News, baseball’s golden age sparked a new interest in the sport and circulation peaked.   

The black and white Sporting News layout is consistent with the daily newspapers of the time.  Under Taylor Spink’s direction, the Sporting News relied heavily on caricatures and catchy headlines.  Many of the covers of the early Sporting News issues look somewhat juvenile due to the cartoons on the front.  However, the articles inside the Sporting News were serious journalistic analyses, box scores, and opinion pieces.   The Sporting News was one of the most important sources for baseball news all over the United States.

10/6/1927 - Babe Ruth's 60 Home Run issue

In terms of sales, has compiled information since we started selling old issues of The Sporting News several years ago.  The earliest issue that we have had was the August 30, 1902 publication that featured Hughie Hearne on the cover.  Hearne was a mediocre catcher for the Brooklyn Superbas.  His major league career spanned only two years, but somehow earned himself a spot on a cover.  The most expensive Sporting News currently in stock on our site is the October 6, 1927 issue.  Babe Ruth’s 60th home run is one of the lead stories, while the Pirates team is the photograph on the front.

The Sporting News has been around for 124 years.  It has been around for some of the most significant events in the baseball world.  It serves as an important relic of the baseball memorabilia world and continues to provide new and interesting information. has hundreds of The Sporting News issues online and ready to buy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

1933 World Wide Gum baseball card complete set

# 80 Babe Ruth just received a complete 1933 World Wide Gum baseball card set.  These 2⅜” by 2⅞” cards are also known as the “Canadian Goudey” set because some of these cards were printed in English and French.   The World Wide Gum Company was the Canadian branch of the Goudey Gum Company.  This unique set includes many of the biggest stars of the day and serve as a great example of Pre-War bilingual baseball cards.

The 1933 World Wide Gum baseball cards were printed in two different variations: English only  and French and English.  Today, the French and English versions are slightly more expensive than the English only cards.  The Goudey Gum Company was located in Boston, so at their peak of gum card manufacturing, they opened a factory in Granby, Quebec.  Because World Wide Gum printed both English as well as English and French, it is suspected that these cards were sold in different parts of Canada based on local language preferences.  

# 55 Lou Gehrig
The 1933 World Wide Gum set checklist is complementary to the 1933 Goudey set.  The first 52 cards are the same, but cards 53-94 are in a different order.  The 1933 Goudey set is also significantly longer, with 239 total cards.  For most of these players, the 1933 Goudey cards are considered their rookie cards.  The Goudey set is also much more difficult to collect than the World Wide Gum version.  The individual cards are at least 25% more expensive than their World Wide Gum counterparts.

# 93 Babe Ruth
The 1933 World Wide Gum has a strong emphasis on the stars of the day.  Babe Ruth has two different cards: a close up of the Babe in a batting stance (#93) and a shot of him swinging the bat in what appears to be an on-deck circle (#80).  #55 Lou Gehrig is also featured swinging.  The attractive, hand-drawn pictures of the players are mostly action shots, with a few portraits included. This set also includes cards that were oriented horizontally with the Big League Chewing Gum banner on the left side of the card. #60 Waite Hoyt is a good example of a different orientation from this set.

The 1933 World Wide Gum baseball card complete set was difficult to find, especially considered the small market in which it was released.  The basic idea of this set would be repeated, as demonstrated by the O-Pee-Chee sets, but it is still fascinating to see one of original bilingual sets.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

1910 T225 Prizefighters Boxing Card Set

#1 Abe Attell
***The information in this article was used to write our ebook, Before There Was Bubble Gum: Our Favorite Pre-World War I Baseball Card Sets.  To purchase the ebook, please click here.*** just received one of the rarest boxing sets that we have ever encountered.  The 1910 T225 Prizefighters boxing card set consists of 50 cards that measure 1⅞” by 2 ⅝” and feature the most prominent boxers of the time.  The set was released in two series of 25 cards each and organized alphabetically by the boxers’ last names within each series.  Currently, we have the first series in stock.

The set was probably released over a series of two years (1910-1911) and could be purchased by sending $1.00 to the manufacturer, as stated on the back of the card.  All 50 cards would have been mounted on a piece of parchment and then placed in a frame.  A few examples of the framed set still survive today, though many of them have experienced significant damage in their 100 years of existence.

Back of a T225 card
These cards are a good example of the booming tobacco business in the early part of the 20th century.  The Subrug Company out of New York City produced the cards to be sold with their Intermission Little Cigars and the Arab’s Turkish Cigarettes.  An advertisement for these two products is printed on the back of each card.  The Subrug Company was purchased by the Khedival Company, a larger tobacco manufacturer, in 1912, right after the T225 boxing card set was already printed.  Therefore, these cards are often referred to as the Khedival boxing card set, although that company’s name never appears on the card.

The boxers featured in series one are some of the most interesting characters in all of the sports world, especially when one considers just how popular boxing was at the time these were printed.  One of the most famous boxers in the set is Stanley Ketchel, who is still considered by many to be the best middleweight boxer ever.  Ketchel was famous for fighting heavyweights, who would have outweighed him by at least 30 pounds.  He was eventually murdered in a robbery after his most famous bout, a 12 round fight against Jack Johnson.  Also featured in this set is Abe Attell, who was implicated in the Black Sox scandal of 1919.  Attell had befriended Arnold Rothstein, a New York-based gambler, and allegedly connected him with several White Sox players.  Rounding out this set are the twin brothers Jack and Mike Sullivan.  They were both known by their nicknames, which happened to be “Twin” for both of them.

These unique cards have some of the richest history for any sports memorabilia and we hope to learn more about all boxing cards in the future.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Old Sports Illustrated back issues are finding their way onto office walls

8/16/1954 - first SI issue
The month of December is always the biggest sales month of the year for old Sports Illustrated magazine back issues at The old Sports Illustrated covers and given as a gifts for the holidays. Quite a few guys like to decorate their offices and "man caves" with old SI covers that feature their heroes of yesteryear, but not every back issue of Sports Illustrated ends up in a frame. Some people simply enjoy reading the articles in the old Sport Illustrated back issues.

Sports-related newspapers and magazines have been around since the 1920’s, but no magazine encompassed all of the sports world. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, several publications called Sports Illustrated were started and quickly failed. Sport Magazine, which had limited success was the largest non-specific sports publication throughout the 1940’s and early 1950’s. Sport Magazine featured color covers and attractive photos along with their stories, but was issued on a monthly basis. Media giant Henry Luce had taken notice of Sport Magazine’s success, but wanted to change several aspects of the magazine. Luce wanted a weekly issue that focused on all aspects of the sports world and included opinion pieces or analysis of current athletic events.

5/26/1969 issue
After failing to negotiate the purchase of Sport Magazine, Luce bought the rights to the Sports Illustrated name and the first issue of Sports Illustrated was released on August 16, 1954. The first issue featured Eddie Mathews batting in Milwaukee County Stadium and included small set of paper baseball cards. Although Sports Illustrated started out with a mainstream sport, the goal of the magazine would be to cover all sports. Sports Illustrated would go on to feature hunting, bridge, diving, bowling, fencing, badminton, and even bullfighting on the cover. In fact, the second issue would have a set of golf clubs on the cover and is the considered the most valuable issue because the SI "baseball cards" inside of the Yankees, one of which was Mickey Mantle.

One of the milestone issues of Sports Illustrated was first printed on January 20, 1964. The very first annual swimsuit issue focused on skin diving, but it proved to be a wildly popular idea, especially because it was released when the entire country was firmly entrenched in the winter season. Although models in bathing suits had already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated prior to 1964, the editors at SI wanted it to become a yearly event. Currently, Sports Illustrated allows its customers to opt out of receiving the swimsuit issue, but only a small percentage of its customers actually do so.

Sports Illustrated also features important commentary and opinion pieces about sports. The “Point After” focuses on the personal stories of athletes, journalists’ analyses on the current sports events, and even humorous pieces.

In terms of our sales here at, we have sold the most copies of the February 6, 1978 track issue featuring Dick Buerkle and Filbert Bayi. Carl Lewis is included in the popular “Faces in the Crowd” feature in this issue. The most expensive issue we have ever sold is the first annual swimsuit issue with model Babette March on the cover. As people uncover the old Sports Illustrated back issues in the basements around the country, those same issues continue to decorate walls of homes.

Please click here to browse Dean's Cards full inventory of Sports Illustrated back issues.