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Thursday, January 27, 2011

1912 T207 Baseball Card Set

***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.***

Here at DeansCards.com, we have been lucky enough to see several dozen T207 baseball cards come through our doors. The T207 set, also commonly known as the brown background set, was manufactured by the tobacco industry giant, the American Tobacco Company, in 1912. Shortly after this set was printed, the American Tobacco Company would be dissolved due to a monopoly on tobacco.

There are several different backs that can be found on the T207 baseball cards. The most common is the Recruit back. We have several empty Recruit cigarette boxes in inventory now that are significantly smaller than modern day cigarette packs. Blank or anonymous backs are also somewhat common, depending on the factory number. Cycle, Broadleaf, and Napoleon are also rare backs that command a significantly higher price than the Recruit backs. The most expensive back is the Red Cross back, which was unknown to exist until a few years ago when a large lot of the cards were found. A few Mello-Mint backs, which take up the entire back of the cards, have also been discovered.

The T207 baseball cards measure 1½” by 2-5/8”. There are 200 cards total, six of which have variations that range from differences in cap color to the wrong back. One important aspect of the T207 set is that there are no major stars. However, that does not mean that there are not expensive cards within this set. Card #105 Irving Lewis has an A and B variation and both have very low populations. The A variation shows the original Boston Braves logo, while the B variation does not have a logo on his sleeve. Card #112 Louis Lowdermilk is the most expensive card in the set. Lowdermilk played only two years in the major leagues as a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. Buck Weaver, one of the key players in the Black Sox scandal, is another expensive card in this set.

DeansCards.com is always looking to buy T207 baseball cards. If you are interested in selling T207 cards or any Pre-War baseball cards, please click here. If you would like to view our current inventory of T207 baseball cards, please click here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Unique Memory of Art Morrow

We just sold one of the most unique pieces of sports memorabilia that we have ever had here at DeansCards.com. We have had the notebook of reporter Art Morrow, a sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer for more than 40 years, for several months and it is now finally out the door. Art Morrow was also a correspondent for The Sporting News and a consultant for Sporting Life Magazine.

The journal is dated 1954 and is filled with handwritten box scores from Phillies’ and Athletics’ games. It’s crazy to think of a reporter sitting down and keeping record of a game through a physical journal instead of just turning on a television or computer.



We just wanted to share this one-of-a-kind item with you guys because we don’t think that we will ever see anything like it again.

2011 Topps Heritage Baseball Cards

The Topps Heritage sets are some of our favorite modern baseball cards here at DeansCards.com, so we wanted to give a quick preview for the 2011 Topps Heritage baseball card set. The singles will be available on DeansCards.com in the first week of February.  The 60th Anniversary theme that was so heavily emphasized in the 2011 Topps set is not emphasized in this set.  Instead, Topps focuses more on the 1962 Topps baseball card set and how it relates to the 2011 Topps Heritage set.

The 2011 Topps Heritage base set will consist of 500 total cards that have the same template as the 1962 Topps set. The distinctive wood-grain border makes these cards stand out from previous Heritage sets. There will be 6 World Series highlights, 11 combinations, 4 league leaders, 24 Sporting News All-Stars, 18 team cards, 8 rookie parades, and 9 in action shots. There will be 75 high number short prints.

The 1962 Mint idea is one of the newest and most innovative that Topps has ever implemented into their Heritage sets. Topps picked 20 total players and for a specific event, a coin minted in 1962 is embedded in the card. Birthdays get pennies, nickels on rookie debuts, dimes for personal history, quarters for baseball highlights, and silver dollars on Hall of Fame inductions. Topps also decided to include stamps, both new and from 1962, in this set. As expected, there will be numerous autograph and relic cards, as well as inserts like New Age Performers and Flashbacks.

In the hobby boxes, Topps decided to include box loaders, which consist of Baseball Bucks, advertising panels, stamp albums, and 1962 original cards. Baseball Bucks are a new idea that puts baseball players on currency of different denominations.

2011 Topps Baseball Cards

The 2011 Topps series 1 set marks Topps’ 60th anniversary, which is traditionally known as the diamond anniversary. Here at DeansCards.com, we wanted to give a quick preview of the 2011 Topps baseball card set. We will have the singles for the 2011 Topps baseball card set available in the first week of February.  The diamond theme pervades the entire set, but is most obvious in the insert sets.  This set shows just how far Topps has come since its forgettable 1951 Red and Blue Back sets.



The base set consists of 330 cards total and can be broken down into 264 veterans, 30 rookies, 15 team cards, 10 league leaders, 6 awards, and 5 record breakers. The 2011 Topps cards will have a distinctive arch on the bottom that starts on the left side and ends with the team’s logo.


The diamond theme is heavily emphasized in the 2011 Topps insert and parallel cards. The parallel cards include platinum, black, gold, printing plates, silks, and diamond anniversary cards. The 60th anniversary cards include both relics and autographs. Among the new relic cards are the Glove Leather cards, which will have actual The Diamond Giveaway cards will be redeemable online, via a Diamond Giveaway code card, that will include some cards will actual diamonds embedded in them. The 60th Anniversary cards will replace the insert set with the unwieldy name, the Cards Your Mom Threw Out. The 60th Anniversary cards will include information about the founding and history of the Topps company.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Best of the Worst: Tobacco-soaked 1953 Red Man cards

We are sometimes amazed at the condition of the cards that come in here on a daily basis, but this 1953 Red Man baseball card set really blew us away. These cards are soaked with 58-year-old tobacco juice, which particularly shows on the backs.

As gross as these stains are, they are an extreme example of nostalgia trumping condition. And I don’t know about other collectors, but I definitely prefer tobacco juice to the stains that are on the Kahn’s hot dog cards!

1888-89 Allen & Ginter N28 and N29 Baseball Cards Sets

N28 Cap Anson
***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 1888-89 Allen & Ginter baseball card sets are some of the most popular Pre-War sets ever printed. Although known for being one of the earliest baseball cards sets, the manufacturers of the Allen & Ginter cards were more interested in printing cards of the World’s Champions in all sports, so baseball players make up only a fraction of the set. Topps continues to print modern Allen & Ginter cards using current baseball players and athletes of other sports. However, it is difficult to recreate the popularity of the original two sets released in 1888 and 1889.

N28 back
The Allen & Ginter Tobacco Company was originally established by John Allen and Lewis Ginter in Richmond, Virginia in 1875. The company played a key role in the development of the city of Richmond. In 1890, shortly after the Allen & Ginter sets were released, the Allen & Ginter tobacco firm was purchased by the American Tobacco Company, the tobacco industry leader.

The 1888 N28 Allen & Ginter baseball card set consisted of 50 cards, but only the first ten cards featured baseball players. The cards measure 1½” by 2¾” and include boxers, wrestlers, track stars, and even swimmers. The N28 cards can be distinguished by the Allen & Ginter advertisement on the front. The back of the card features a checklist that clarifies to which sport each person belongs.

N29 Buck Ewing
The 1889 N29 Allen & Ginter baseball card set also consists of 50 cards, but this time includes only six total baseball players. These cards have the same dimensions and N28, but a different checklist. The N29 baseball cards can be distinguished by the placement of the players’ positions and teams on the front of the card where the advertisement for Allen & Ginter tobacco used to be. The N29 Allen & Ginter cards also came with an album. The album is a large 6” by 8” with 14 pages designed to collect the Allen & Ginter cards from the cigarette packages.

DeansCards.com is always looking to purchase original Allen & Ginter cards. If you are interested in selling Allen & Ginter or any Pre-War baseball cards, please click here. If you are interested in viewing our Allen & Ginter reprints, please click here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

1888 N403 Yum Yum Tobacco Baseball Cards


***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.***

One of the most sought-after baseball card sets produced before the 20th century is the Yum Yum Tobacco N403 baseball card set. These cards remain difficult to find and expensive to collect.

The entire N403 set consists of 53 cards that measure 1⅜” by 2¾”. They were issued in 1888, around the same time as many of the other early cigarette and tobacco cards. The cards themselves are light photographic prints that are somewhat hard to distinguish from the ivory background. The cards are unnumbered and, like many other rare tobacco cards, have blank backs. The front of the cards has the advertising phrase “Smoke and Chew Yum Yum Tobacco” at the bottom. The cards have a similar design to the E223 G&B Chewing Gum set, which was the first candy card set ever made. Many of the players also have the same poses as the E223 cards.

The Yum Yum Tobacco cards were printed by August Beck & Company in Chicago. The wholesale tobacco and cigar manufacturer sold tins of tobacco and placed the cards at the bottom. There are two possible styles of card in the N403 set. The players are either sitting for a studio portrait or posing for a full-length action shot. The action shots are similar to many of the classic Old Judge cards. There are several variations in the N403 set that are differences in poses, usually a portrait versus an action shot.

DeansCards.com is always looking to buy Pre-War cards, including Yum Yum Tobacco baseball cards. If you are interested in selling Yum Yum Tobacco cards or any Pre-War baseball card, please click here. If you are interested in viewing our entire selection of Pre-War baseball cards, please click here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

1916 Tango Eggs Baseball Cards

#4 Hal Chase

***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.***

One of the most interesting sets ever produced is the 1916 Tango Eggs baseball card sets. The cards themselves are not particularly remarkable, but the story that has followed the set in the past two decades makes the set nearly impossible to collect.

The 1916 Tango Eggs set consists of possibly 20 unnumbered cards that measure 1-7/16” by 2¾” and have a glossy sheen on the front. The Tango Eggs baseball cards are reminiscent of the E106 American Caramel set, which has similar bright, solid color backgrounds. The back features an advertisement for Tango Brand Eggs. The set was issued in 1916 by the L. Frank & Company out of New Orleans. L. Frank & Co. sold poultry and eggs and continues to exist as a food distributor in New Orleans today.

#11 Hughie Jennings
Although the Tango Egg cards were printed in 1916, the real story doesn’t begin until the 1990’s, when a large collection of the cards were found in New Orleans. The vast majority of the cards that are known to exist today are likely from this one collection. Interestingly enough, there has never been verification of several of the cards that allegedly exist, including Honus Wagner and Joe Tinker. Existence of a Ty Cobb card was recently verified.  Additionally, many of the cards that do exist have the wrong player on the front. The cards of Billy Meyer, Buck Weaver, and Happy Felsch all feature different players. While some of the cards have never been found, the Hughie Jennings and Bob Bescher cards make up approximately half of the entire population of the surviving Tango Eggs cards.

Here at DeansCards.com, we are always interested in buying rare baseball cards. If you are interested in selling any Pre-War baseball cards, please click here. If you are interested in viewing our Pre-War inventory, please click here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

1917 Boston Store H801-8 Baseball Cards

#147 Babe Ruth

***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 1917 H801-8 Boston Store baseball card set is one of the most difficult to complete of any Pre-War set. There are a total of 200 cards that measure 2” by 2¾”. The cards were printed on thin paper stock, making them very difficult to find in good condition. The Boston Store cards can be easily identified by the advertisement on the back, which was intended for young boys who would have been interested in baseball cards. The Boston Store baseball cards may be related to the E135 Collins-McCarthy set, released the same year. The Collins-McCarthy cards have the same design on the front, but feature an advertisement for candy on the back.

#30 Ty Cobb
There are a total of five variations in the Boston Store set. They are all either differences in sock color or the wrong person is in the picture. This set is particularly expensive because it features Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Cobb was in the middle of his career and had finished in the top 20 of the MVP race for four years straight (1911-14). He won the MVP award in 1911. Ruth was still in the early stages of his career. At the time, he was still a member of the Red Sox, but would be traded to the in 1920. Shoeless Joe was a few years away from the 1919 World Series and the infamous Black Sox Scandal. Like Cobb, Shoeless Joe had finished in the top ten of the MVP voting from 1911 to 1914, finishing second in 1913.

Boston Store was a department store in the Chicago-area and the Midwest. The advertisement on the back has store locations in downtown Chicago. Established in1897 by the Stone family in Milwaukee, Boston Store would later be purchased and re-sold several different times during the 20th century and is still in existence today.

Here at DeansCards.com, we are always interested in purchasing Boston Store and other Pre-War baseball cards. If you are interested in selling these or other cards, please click here. If you are interested in viewing our inventory of Boston Store cards, please click here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

1895 Mayo's Cut Plug N300 Baseball Cards

Cap Anson
***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.***

DeansCards.com has been lucky enough to see a few 1895 N300 Mayo’s Cut Plug baseball cards in recent years. They are some of the rarest Pre-War baseball cards and have a fascinating history.

As early as 1894, P.H. Mayo & Brothers Tobacco Company of Richmond, Virginia began issuing a set of 40 cards that measure 1⅝” by 2⅞”. Cards #1-28 feature players in their uniforms, while cards #29-40 feature players in their street clothes. The N300 set has eight total variations, including team, position, and error/corrected cards. These blank-backed cards were inserted into the large metal lunch-pail tins that were full of tobacco. Unfortunately for collectors, the Mayo company decided to use cheap paper that has not maintained its integrity over the years.
Some of the well known players included in the Mayo’s Cut Plug set are Cap Anson, Buck Ewing, Ed Delehanty, and John Ward.

Buck Ewing
The P.H. Mayo & Brothers Tobacco Company also issued a boxing and football set. The football set includes only Ivy League college players. The boxing card set is distinctly different from the other two sets due to the posing of the boxers on the front. The baseball and football players are portraits, while the boxing cards show the boxers outside in traditional boxing pants. The Mayo’s Cut Plug advertisement appears in a different position than the other two sets.

DeansCards.com is always looking for Mayo’s Cut Plug cards. If you are interested in selling Mayo’s Cut Plug cards or any Pre-War baseball cards, please click here. If you are interested in viewing our Pre-War inventory, please click here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

1913 Fatima Teams T200

T200 Cleveland Naps
***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.***

DeansCards.com has been lucky enough to see a few 1913 Fatima Teams T200 cards in the past couple of years. These rare baseball cards are similar to some of the earliest baseball cards ever printed because they show a photo of the entire team instead of individual players. The entire set consists of only 16 cards. There are 8 National League and 8 American League teams represented. Each card measures 2⅝” by 5-13/16”. The players’ names are listed at the bottom of the photo, above the Fatima logo on the front.

The Fatima T200 set is also known to have been printed as premiums. The American Tobacco Company, which owned the Fatima brand at the time, had used the idea of premiums in the past with the Turkey Red cards. The Fatima premiums, however, are exceedingly rare and very expensive. The premiums measure a much larger 13” by 21” and were printed on glossy paper. The Fatima premiums could be obtained by sending in 40 Fatima cigarette coupons, which would have required a lot of smoking, considering that the Fatima packages held 100 cigarettes each.

The regular Fatima baseball cards were inserted into the Fatima cigarette tins. The Fatima brand name originally belonged to the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company, which was purchased by the American Tobacco Company in 1897. When the American Tobacco Company’s monopoly was dissolved in 1911, the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company reappeared and began manufacturing Fatima cigarettes again. Liggett & Myers is still one of the largest American tobacco companies today.

The backs of the Fatima cards make them very easy to identify. They have the Fatima logo and the phrase “No gold tips but finest quality” at the top and then an explanation of how to obtain the Fatima premiums. Some of the more popular T200 cards include the Philadelphia A’s card, which features Hall-of-Famers Chief Bender, Eddie Collins, Connie Mack, Eddie Plank, and Home Run Baker. The Cleveland Naps card is also highly valuable because it includes Shoeless Joe Jackson. The New York Giants photo also features Jim Thorpe.

The T200 Fatima cards are some of the most interesting and historically valuable cards ever made. Here at DeansCards.com, we are always interested in buying T200 cards. If you are selling T200 cards or any other Pre-War cards, please click here. To view our T200 Fatima reprints, please click here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

1911 T3 Turkey Red Cabinets

Tris Speaker
***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 1911 Turkey Red T3 Cabinets are some of the most popular Pre-War cards ever printed. The Turkey Red set consists of 126 cabinets that measure 5¾” by 8”. Card #1-50 and #77-126 are baseball players, while cards #51-76 are boxers. Each card has a checklist or advertisement for Turkey Red tobacco on the back. The checklist varies depending on where the card was printed in the set. For example, card #10 will have the checklist for cards #1-76, not the entire set, on the back.

Unlike other T-cards at the time, these were not inserted into packages of cigarettes or loose tobacco. T3 cards are often referred to as “premiums” meaning that they could be redeemed by sending in coupons from participating tobacco brands. The Turkey Red cards could be redeemed by sending in 10 coupons from Turkey Red cigarettes, 25 coupons from Old Mill cigarettes, or 25 coupons from Fez cigarettes.

A Close Play at Second
Turkey Red cigarettes were manufactured by the American Tobacco Company, which made many of the tobacco cards in the early part of the 20th century. The name Turkey Red may have come from a red dye that was found in southwest Asia. Turkish cigarettes would continue to be popular all the way through World War I.

The Turkey Red Cabinets set also includes action shots. Many of the cards have names similar to the Hassan Triple Folders, which were produced a year after the Turkey Red cards. However, the players in the Turkey Red action shots are not individually identified. The Turkey Red Cabinets are some of the most popular reprints that DeansCards.com has in stock. Because the cards are particularly hard to find, the reprint set is a cheaper and easier set to build.

Checklist back
The Turkey Red cards include a number of Hall-of-Famers and stars, which make the set even more desirable. Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, and Tris Speaker, who appears in significantly fewer baseball card sets than many other early baseball players, are all featured in the Turkey Red set.

Turkey Red Cabinets can be very difficult to collect and find. Here at DeansCards.com, we are always buying Turkey Red and all other Pre-War cards. For information on selling your collection, please click here. To see our selection of Pre-War baseball cards, please click here. To view our current inventory of Turkey Red reprints, please click here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1964 Topps Giants Baseball Cards

#7 Koufax
DeansCards.com has just received both a 1964 Topps Giants PSA graded complete set as well as a non-PSA graded Very Good/Excellent set. The 1964 Topps Giants baseball card set consists of 60 large size cards that measure 3⅛” by 5¼” and feature the most popular players of the time. These cards were released separately from the regular 1964 Topps in their own wax and cellophane packs. Although the set was issued as a single series, seven of the cards were short printed, making them significantly harder to collect in nice condition. The 1964 Topps Giants cards have a large color photograph on the font and a newspaper article discussing the player on the back.

#25 Mantle
The DeansCards.com PSA graded 1964 Topps Giants set has a GPA of 8.248, which will rank approximately 18th when we register it as a PSA Registry set. Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, and Mickey Mantle all grade PSA 8 NM-MT. Orlando Cepeda is graded PSA 10 GEM MINT and is one of ten that exist.

DeansCards.com also has non-PSA set that grades Very Good/Excellent.  The short prints for the 1964 Topps Giants set can be very difficult to find.  This set includes all of the short prints, but in an affordable manner.

The 1964 Topps Giants set can be very difficult to collect and we rarely have even a single complete set in inventory. To see the PSA graded set, please click here. To see the non-PSA set, please click here.  To view the rest of our 1964 Topps Giants inventory, please click here. If you are interested in selling 1964 Topps Giants cards or any other 1960’s cards, please click here.

1914-15 E145 Cracker Jack Baseball Cards

1914 #88 Mathewson
***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 E145 Cracker Jack baseball card set is one of the rarities of the baseball card world. Vintage Cracker Jack prizes and toys continue to be very popular amongst collectors. The history of Cracker Jack and its baseball cards reflects the history of baseball in the first few decades of the 20th century. Produced by Rueckheim Bros. & Eckstein, Cracker Jack was first sold at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The mixture of popcorn, peanuts, and molasses was a hit with those who tried it. In 1912, the manufacturers of Cracker Jack started making toys and prizes to insert into the boxes. In 1914, they made the decision to include baseball cards.

1914 #36 Eddie Walsh back
The E145 cards were printed over a period of two years in two distinct subsets. The 1914 set, which is also known as the E145-1 set is slightly more expensive and consists of 144 cards. They are printed on thinner paper than the 1915 Cracker Jack cards. The 1915 set, or E145-2 set, is slightly larger, consisting of 176 cards. The cards from the 1914 set make up the first 144 cards of the 1915 set. The 1915 Cracker Jacks cards can be distinguished by their backs, which are oriented upside down, and their thicker card stock.
The 1915 Cracker Jack set could also be purchased directly from the company in album form. Those who collected the 1914 set noticed that the cards were very prone to becoming sticky from the molasses that coated the popcorn and peanuts inside. The Rueckheim Bros. & Eckstein company took note of the complaints and decided to offer coupons that could be redeemed for an entire set of Cracker Jack cards.

One important characteristic of the Cracker Jack baseball cards is that the set includes three different leagues: the American, National, and Federal. The Federal League existed for only two years, but it happened to coincide with the release of the Cracker Jack cards. There were a total of eight teams in the Federal League, several of which moved or relocated during the league’s two year lifespan. The Baltimore Terrapins, Brooklyn Tip-Tops, Buffalo Blues, Chicago Whales, Indianapolis Hoosiers, Kansas City Packers, Pittsburgh Rebels, and St. Louis Terriers made up the Federal League. In some cases, the teams were simply known as an abbreviated name of their city plus the suffix -fed. For example, the Whales were also known as the “ChiFeds”.

1915 #23 Comiskey
Although the Federal League collapsed after the 1915 season, it left a lasting impression on Major League Baseball. Most importantly, the Federal League brought legal action against the National League in 1922, but the Supreme Court ruled that Major League Baseball was entertainment and therefore not subject to antitrust laws. The Federal League also produced one of the best known ballparks in the MLB today - Wrigley Field. The Chicago Whales originally played in Weegham Park. When the Federal League folded in 1915, the owner of the Whales formed a syndicate with William Wrigley, Jr. and moved the Cubs into what would later be Wrigley Field.

Cracker Jack cards are some of the most popular cards from the Pre-War era. If you are interested in selling Cracker Jack or any other Pre-War cards, please click here. If you are interested in viewing our inventory of Cracker Jack cards, please click here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

T205 Baseball Cards


T205 #36 Ty Cobb

***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.***


DeansCards.com has recently gotten several collections that included T205 baseball cards.  The T205 cards were released in 1911 into eleven different brands of cigarettes.  The T205 set includes 218 cards that measure 1-7/16” by 2-5/8”.  T205 cards are easily identified by the distinctive gold borders, which also tend to chip easily.
Like the T206 set, this set was released by the American Tobacco Company.  It featured players from the National League, American League, and minor league.  The cards also have the first ever facsimile autograph that is overlaid on the players’ pictures.  The idea of including a facsimile autograph would be repeated again and again by Topps and several other companies.

Hassan back (#14 Fred Beck)
Many of the eleven different brands of cigarettes had been used previously by in the T206 set.  To learn more about those brands and their backs, please click here.  The T205 set does include two new brands that had not been used with the T206 set.  The Hassan brand had been used to sell numerous other non-baseball sets including boxing and other popular sports such swimming and track & field.  Hassan was supposed to be an “oriental” style cigarette that had a cork-tip.  The other unique brand was Honest Long-Cut tobacco.  Like the Polar Bear brand, Honest was just loose smoking tobacco that was sold in paper pouches and had the brand name William Duke & Sons Company.  Honest tobacco may have been one of the original brands that was made by the American Tobacco Company.  Many of the other brands had been purchased by the American Tobacco Company, which had contributed to its monopoly that was dissolved shortly after these cards were produced.

T205 #208 Cy Young
The T205 set includes many expensive variations and star cards.  Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, and Cy Young all have cards in the T205 set.  However, one of the most expensive cards in the set is the Dick Hoblitzell “no stats” variation.  The statistics were usually printed between the short biographical paragraph and the cigarette advertisement.  Several other cards were printed without the statistics but Hoblitzell’s is the most expensive.  Hoblitzell was the 21-year-old first baseman for the Reds.  Although he had a fairly unremarkable baseball career, this card is one of the most interesting of the Pre-War era.
DeansCards.com is buying T205 sets as well as all other Pre-War baseball cards.  For information about selling your cards, please click here.  To see our inventory of T205 baseball cards, please click here.
T205 baseball cards can be extremely expensive, especially in nice condition. The reprints for the T205 cards are very popular and can be viewed by clicking here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

T204 Ramly Baseball Cards


#47 Jerry Freeman PSA 6
***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.***

DeansCards.com has been lucky enough to see several collections that include T204 Ramly baseball cards.  Although they are some of the most intricately designed cards that were produced in the Pre-War era, these cards not exceedingly popular with collectors.  The gold ink tends to flake easily and, more importantly, some of the bigger stars were not included in this set.


The T204 cards were printed in 1909 by the Mentor Company, located in Boston, and then inserted into packs of Ramly Turkish cigarettes.  The photographs of the players were  taken in the studio of the famous baseball photographer Carl Horner.  The T204 cards were heavily influenced by the Boston baseball scene.  The two Boston teams, the Red Sox and the Doves, are the best represented in the set, while other teams were left out entirely.  The White Sox, Phillies, and Pirates were all left out of the T204 set.  There are 121 cards that measure 2” by 2½” total in this set and three different back variations.  The Ramly advertisement is the most common, but blank backs and T.T.T. cigarette ads also exist.  T.T.T. cigarettes were another brand of Turkish cigarette manufactured by the Mentor Company.


Interestingly enough, the Ramly cards do not include some of the biggest stars of the time.  Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, and Cy Young are all omitted from the set.  Some of the stars that were included are Walter Johnson and Eddie Plank.  It is not known why the Mentor Company left some of the most popular players out of the set.  
The T204 Ramly set also has a sub-set or variation set that consists of six cards with square, instead of oval, frames.  All of the square-frame cards have blank backs and all are very difficult to find.  They are at least ten times more expensive than the oval-framed Ramly cards.  The square-frame Ramly cards also have filled frames, instead of a white background behind the gold ink.  DeansCards.com has had one square-frame Ramly in stock - a John Anderson in Poor condition.
The T204 Ramly baseball cards are a unique set that can be difficult to collect.  If you are interested in selling T204 Ramly cards or any Pre-War baseball cards, please click here.  If you are interested in our current inventory of T204 Ramly cards, please click here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

T206 Backs: Tobacco & Baseball Cards

***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.***


From 1909-11, the American Tobacco Company produced one of the most popular Pre-War sets ever made: T206 baseball cards. Everyone knows about the Honus Wagner baseball card, but not much is known about the origins of the different backs. DeansCards.com has seen most of these rare backs before, but we are always looking to buy new collections that include T206 baseball cards.


The American Tobacco Company, owned by James Buchanan Duke, was an enormous tobacco industry leader in the first decade of the 20th century. It was so big, in fact, that it would be forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to dissolve its monopoly on the tobacco industry in 1911, breaking into several smaller companies. Prior to 1911, however, American Tobacco Company owned dozens of cigarette brands that it had acquired by purchasing the smaller companies that manufactured them. Then they kept the cigarette design, the logo, and even the original manufacturer’s name on the box to avoid losing loyal customers. When American Tobacco Company began printing the cards of popular baseball players and inserting them in their different cigarette packages, they made 16 different backs depending on the brand. In total, there are 523 possible back/front combinations.


The two most common backs are Piedmont and Sweet Caporal brands. Piedmont was a popular tobacco company that still exists today as an independent company in Henderson, South Carolina. In the early part of the 20th century, there was even a Piedmont baseball league that featured teams around the Carolinas and Virginia. The Piedmont Plateau continues to produce a large portion of the tobacco grown in the United States today. The Sweet Caporal brand was originally owned by the Kinney Brothers Tobacco Company, which was located in New York City. The company was purchased by the American Tobacco Company in 1911.


Several backs are considered readily available and are only slightly more expensive than the two most common backs. El Principe de Gales, or “Prince of Wales” in English, was originally manufactured in Havana, Cuba by a Spanish cigar company. Old Mill has two possible variations on the back. Old Mill cigarettes are more common and feature both major and minor league players. The Old Mill advertisement features players from the southern leagues. This included teams from the Southern, South Atlantic, Texas, and Virginia Leagues. Only Southern League players are known to have brown ink Old Mill backs. Polar Bear, the only non-cigarette brand advertised, was loose or scrap tobacco that was more likely to stain the cards. Polar Bear tobacco was originally manufactured by the Luhrman & Wilbern Tobacco Company until it was purchased by the American Tobacco Company. The Sovereign backs, featuring the phrase “fit for a king”, may have been similar to British cigarettes at the time.
Other backs are considered less common and can cost up to twice as much as commons. The American Beauty brand includes both framed and un-framed variations and their cards are thinly cut in comparison to the other brands because they were placed in skinnier cigarette packages. The Cycle brand is relatively unremarkable, other than the fact that its boxes, which have an illustration of a person riding a bicycle with a large front wheel, are very rare. The Tolstoi cigarettes were supposed to be Russian-style cigarettes, or papirosi, which have long, hollow cardboard mouthpieces and remained popular with Eastern European immigrants. The Tolstoi boxes look very similar to the Piedmont design.


Some of the scarce backs can cost at least five times the common backs. Broadleaf 350 backs were issued with the 350 card series. There are three possible series: 150, 350, and 460. Broadleaf cards came in a box with an Egyptian design on the front. Broadleaf tobacco is a subspecies of tobacco that has been existent in the United States for several centuries and is considered a good cigar wrapper. Carolina Brights backs were originally manufactured by the Wells-Whitehead Tobacco Company out of Wilson, North Carolina. The company was purchased by American Tobacco Company in 1908, but the purchased was not publicized in order to retain the customers who were loyal to the brand. The Hindu backs were issued with Southern, South Atlantic, and Virginia League players. No examples of Hindu cigarette foil boxes exist, but full pages ads for the cigarettes from the New Orleans Times-Picayune still survive today.


The rare backs are exceedingly expensive and can cost at least ten times what the common backs command. Hindu backs that were printed with red ink and Broadleaf 460 are both considered rare back variations. T206 cards with a Drum back are unusually tough and tend to survive fairly well in comparison to other brands. They were originally manufactured in St. Louis by the Drummond Tobacco Company, which specialized in plug tobacco. Drummond then became the Continental Tobacco Company before it was purchased by American Tobacco Company in 1898 and had its factories moved to Virginia. Lenox cigarettes were another mouthpiece brand and T206 Lenox backs can be found in both red and black ink. Uzit cigarettes were yet another mouthpiece brand that was reminiscent of Eastern European brands like Tolstoi cigarettes.

The rarest T206 back is Ty Cobb's own cigarette brand. It can be found on only the Ty Cobb red back portrait. The cigarettes contained granulated cut plug tobacco and were sold in tins, which are also an expensive collector’s item.

DeansCards.com is still looking for these rare backs. If you are selling them, please click here. If you are interested in learning more about T206 cards or purchasing them, please click here.
T206 baseball cards are some of the most expensive Pre-War cards available, so the reprints for this set are particularly popular. To view our reprint single cards and complete sets, click here.