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The Early History Of Baseball Cards

The Nineteenth Century

Baseball and photography in the United States were both seeing an explosion of popularity in the mid nineteenth century. This provoked baseball clubs to start taking individual and group pictures of their members. Some of these pictures were printed on smaller cards, much like modern-day, wallet sized photos. In the late 1860s, baseball became a professional sport, and trading cards began to appear with photos of players and teams. These were mainly ...

baseball, baseball cards

The Nineteenth Century

Baseball and photography in the United States were both seeing an explosion of popularity in the mid nineteenth century. This provoked baseball clubs to start taking individual and group pictures of their members. Some of these pictures were printed on smaller cards, much like modern-day, wallet sized photos. In the late 1860s, baseball became a professional sport, and trading cards began to appear with photos of players and teams. These were mainly used as a means of advertisement for companies, who placed an ad on the back of the card.

A sporting goods store in New York, called Peck and Snyder, began production of trading cards featuring teams. As a sporting goods store, baseball cards were the perfect advertisement vehicle for them. The cards produced by Peck and Snyder are often times referred to as the first baseball cards.

A trade card during these times typically featured an image on one side, and a business advertisement on the reverse side. Color printing technology began to increase the attractiveness of baseball cards. Photos began to be seen in black and white as well as sepia. Some baseball cards were printed as playing cards, either for conventional card games or simulations of a baseball game.

By 1886 cigarette packs often included baseball cards in them for promotional purposes as well as the protection of the cigarettes. Baseball had become so popular by the end of the century that production of the baseball cards had not only spread across the Americas, but also into the Pacific Isles.

Early Twentieth Century

The majority of cards being produced were by candy companies and cigarette companies. Breisch-Williams Company, (a Pennsylvania-based confectionary company), produced the first major set of baseball cards of the century in 1903. Soon after, baseball cards were beginning to appear in more and more products. In 1914, Cracker Jack’s began using baseball cards as the included prize in the box.

The Twenties to the Fifties

Baseball card production began to fall off during World War I due to the transition to wartime production. This lasted until the late thirties, when the United States began to see the effects of the great depression. During the years in between, production of baseball cards went through the roof. The culmination of this production spike was the Goudey Gum Company’s set, produced in 1933.

Again, in 1941, wartime production began to significantly affect the number of baseball cards being produced. In 1948, baseball card production increased once again. The Leaf Candy Company and Bowman Gum introduced the first sets when wartime production came to a halt. During the1950s, Japanese baseball cards associated with the popular Japanese card game, menko, began to flood the market.

 

The Passion Of Baseball Card Collecting

Baseball card collecting has been around since the 1800's, and millions of young and old enthusiasts collect baseball cards. Serious involvement shown by some enthusiasts who invest a lot of money and some even pursue a career in baseball cards. Baseball cards are sold for as little as 10 cents while a few cards are traded for as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Baseball became an increasingly popular sport in the USA after the Civil War. In those days when there ...

baseball cards,baseball card collecting,collecting baseball cards,peck & snyder,goodwin & co.,bowman

Baseball card collecting has been around since the 1800's, and millions of young and old enthusiasts collect baseball cards. Serious involvement shown by some enthusiasts who invest a lot of money and some even pursue a career in baseball cards. Baseball cards are sold for as little as 10 cents while a few cards are traded for as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Baseball became an increasingly popular sport in the USA after the Civil War. In those days when there were no modern printing techniques, a type of baseball card was made out of photos of baseball players or teams pasted on a small piece of square cardboard.

Peck & Snyder, a sporting good company, first printed baseball cards in the late 1860's. These baseball cards carried advertisements of their products and were given away like flyers for free. The popular hobby of the 1870’s and 1880’s was to collect trade cards that had various themes including baseball and pasting those into a scrapbook.

The mass production of baseball cards started in the 1880's. Goodwin & Co. a tobacco company in New York produced these cards as cigarette pack stiffeners and to boost sales, as this became popular, others joined the competition. Allen & Ginter, Buchner & Co., Mayo and Co. and Kimball produced quality baseball cards and inserted them into the cigarette packs.

After a brief lull, baseball cards again became a rage from the early 1900's. In fact, the period from 1909-1915 is regarded as the golden period in baseball card collecting. T206 Honus Wagner is one of the most famous cards that belonged to this era. The T206 Honus Wagner card is currently valued at around $500,000 and there are only 50 of them available in good condition. Some of the popular players who adorn the earlier cards include Ty Cobb, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, Honus Wagner and Napolean Lajoie.

Slowly tobacco slipped away from the baseball card scenario, and candy and gum companies filled the void. The cards produced by Goudey Gum Company of Boston are among the most popular baseball cards ever produced. The cards included pictures of famous baseball stars like: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx. Gum Inc produced cards that include the photo and stats of such greats as Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio.

Bowman Gum Co. started the baseball card industry as it currently is. Bowman sold baseball cards with a stick of bubble gum. Topps Chewing Gum company joined the process in the 1950's, and the 1952 Topps # 311 Mickey Mantle is one of their most expensive cards.

At present, other than Topps companies like Fleer, Donruss/Playoff, and Upper Deck are producing baseball cards. Every year baseball cards hit the market featuring the top performers. A ‘rookie card’ is a first card of a player and generally costs more than other cards of the same player. However, the tobacco baseball cards are still considered the best of all baseball cards. In addition, the Honus Wagner card is considered the ‘Mona Lisa’ of baseball cards. A Honus Wagner card that was previously owned by Wayne Gretzky was auctioned off on eBay for $1.27 million.

When the number of cards collected really grows big, it will not be easy to manage them. Retrieving cards at will and replacing them would require the proficiency of a library science degree holder. To solve this problem there is software available that will manage baseball card collections efficiently. There is a variety of software to choose from depending on the complexity of the collection details that needs to be stored. One program that stand's out is ' Baseball Card Collector Professional ', it is made for any baseball card collector, from novices to professionals, and it cost under $15. ' Baseball Card Collector Professional ' may be downloaded for free at this website address:

Robert W. Benjamin
Copyright © 2006

You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter or on your web site as long as it is reprinted in its entirety and without modification except for formatting needs or grammar corrections.

 

What Sets Baseball Collectibles Apart from One Another?

To fickle fans, one baseball collectible isn't like another. There's a big difference between owning a Mickey Mantle player's card and one with Derek Jeter's autograph on it.

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To fickle fans, one baseball collectible isn't like another. There's a big difference between owning a Mickey Mantle player's card and one with Derek Jeter's autograph on it.

Fans of the game aren't the only ones amassing baseball collectibles - the practice has a wide audience because the memorabilia is also a good financial investment and treasure to be passed down to your heirs.

Don't let price affect your decision to start accumulating baseball collectibles. You can start a collection for almost nothing and build it from there. You want to know the difference between the values of the various memorabilia so that you'll know which items are worth your consideration.

When you start gathering your own baseball collectibles, such as baseball cards, you'll find you can bulk up your collection with inserts, unopened packs, complete ready-made sets, and rookie cards.

When a player is a rookie, and then becomes a legend in the game, his rookie card is highly valuable. With today's mass produced baseball collectibles a single player can have multiple rookie cards.

Inserts will be a great addition to any baseball collectible stash because they include autographs, snippets of kerseys or leather from the gloves, and all are limited in quantity. Getting an insert card is almost like taking a gamble - you never know whether or not your pack will have the wining ticket, but that doesn't stop fans from trying!

If you can get your hands on unopened packs, then you'll be glad to know the sheer mystery of the item adds value to your baseball collectibles, not to mention the chance of getting an insert card in your new pack. Unopened packs range from a mere dollar to thousands of dollars if you're searching the market for a vintage pack to add to your baseball collectibles.

If you have the money and expertise to know a good deal when you see it, then you may want to find a complete ready-made set of cards for your baseball collectibles. It's very difficult to find a complete set because there are so many cards being produced for each player and team that even seasoned pros have a hard time tracking down every single item needed to complete a set.

Still, with money and time on your side, this can be a fascinating hobby that provides the thrill of the find each and every time you're able to get your hands on a unique baseball collectible that completes your own set of memorabilia.




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