Baseball cards have a verybroad history. In the beginning, god made man.
…. the baseball card.
From 1887 to thepresent, billions of baseball cards have been produced.Some cards are valued at ten cents, while others, arevalued at over one hundred thousand dollars. Since 1887,Baseball cards have been a major part of many people’slives.
The Beginning of the baseball card collecting erawould lead cards to a path of greatness and immortality.The first baseball cards were made of a cloth like material.Many of these cards were “home made” (SCD)*.
No onebut the creator of these cards, (there all dead) knows forsure what exactly was used to produce these early cards.This time period started on 1887 and continued on until1901. The 1887 baseball cards were part of a unique set.Not only did this set contain baseball cards, but it alsocontained boxing. golf, and horse racing cards. These cardsare very high in value because of their rarity and becausethey are some of the early baseball cards.
The commoncard is worth around $800. All of these cards are common,considering that there were no star athletes back then.There were not many cards sizes during this time period.The only size that I could find was one and a half inches bytwo inches. There were many company’s that manufacturedcards during this time period.
They were: Mayo TobaccoWorks, Buchner, Kimball’s, Old Judge, Allen ; Ginter,and Goodwin (SCD). These cards are rare, but are notvery difficult to obtain if you’re willing to pay top dollar.What many collectors call “the golden years of baseball”,took place from 1902 until 1935.
One reason thatcollectors call this time period that is because cards tookmany different changes during this era. Cards were startingto be packaged with Chewing Tobacco, crackerjacks, andChewing gum. The value of cards during this time perioddepends on many different factors. A large percent of thesecards have misprints (flaws). Because of these misprints, acard may have a higher value than the exact same cardbecause of a misprint. The reason there were so manymisprints was because the card industry was just starting toexperiment with the printing process (SCD). The mostexpensive baseball card of all time was produced duringthis era.
That card was the Honus Wagner T-206produced in 1909. The reason that this card is soexpensive is because only 4 of these cards were everproduced. Honus Wagner didn’t want kids buying tobaccofor the Baseball cards. One of the Wagners sold at anauction recently for 451,500 to Wayne Gretzky (SCD).There were three main sizes of baseball cards during thistime period. One of the sizes was the “tobacco” size cards.These cards were one and a half inches by two inches. Thesecond card size was a rectangular sheet of three cards.
These were about two inches by five and one fourth inches.The third and final size was a square about two inches bytwo inches. Cards were packaged with chewing tobacco,cracker jacks, chewing gum, and cigarettes (SCD). Manycompany’s produced cards during this era. Some of themajor manufactures were : Piedmont, Soverign, Ramly,Hassan, Mecca and Turkey Red. The T-2.
. series is verycommon at card shows. With the exception of the HonusWagner, most of these cards can be acquired for areasonable price. From 1936 until 1960, not muchhappened in the card collecting era. Three major changesoccurred during this time period.
The cards themselveschanged to a size that would carry them to present time.Also, two ground breaking companies would arrive andlast until the 21st century. The value of the 30’s and 40’scards is around forty dollars for a semi-star (BKM)*. Thevalue of the 50’s cards is a little higher at forty five dollarsfor the semi- star.
Mickey Mantle’s rookie is included in the1952 Bowman set. It is valued at $9,000 . Also, anotherMantle , his ’52 Topps is worth $35,000 (BKM, SCD,TUFF*). The 60’s common cards are worth between onedollar and five dollars. There were two main card sizesfrom 1936 to 1960. The first was two and a half inches bythree and one eighth inches. The second card size is twoand a half inches by three and a half inches. This is the sizethat ball cards would remain to be for the next 36 yr.
. Themajor company’s that produced cards during this timeperiod are Bowman, Topps, Goudey, and Play ball. Thecommon card from these years is pretty easy to come by.This time period really set cards for 80’s and 90’s. Manypresent and future Hall of Famers had cards during thisage. Cards basically remained the same. One new cardcompany came into the card industry. These cards aren’tvalued very highly because they are very easy to find.
Afew cards are valued at over $200.The common card isvalued from around ten cents to three dollars. The size ofthese cards remained the same as before, two and a halfinches by three and a half inches. There were only a twocompany’s who produced cards during this time duration.The two company’s that produced cards during this timeperiod were Topps and Fleer. These cards are very easyto find. From 1980 to 1996, cards took severalrevolutionary changes.
These changes would affect thevalue and collectability of baseball cards forever. The valueof these cards is actually quite high considering how longthese cards have been on the market. Some of the oldercards, such as Cal Ripken Jr.’s 1982 Topps Traded, arevalued at over $350. Newer cards, such as Ken Griffey Jr.and Frank Thomas’s rookies are around $80.
Cardcompanies devised a scheme to lure the card collector intobuying more cards, the INSERT!!!! The “Insert card” is aspecial card that has a certain chance of you pulling it out ofa pack. The higher the odds, the higher the value of thecard. This was designed to make the collector buy lots ofpacks to try to pull an insert. Card company’s alsointroduced a card called the redemption card.
These cardsare usually seeded at about 1:360 packs. If you pulled oneof these cards, you could send it into the company and theywould send you back a limited edition set. Finally, thosedevilish little fellows at the card company’s decided to tocreated a premium card. These cards were special cardsthat cost more to buy.
They have a UV coating that givesthem a slick look. Also, the company only makes so manyof these cards. It is harder to get a autograph on thesecards because of the UV coating. The autograph beads up.The sizes of these cards remained the standard size of twoand a half by three and a half. The only difference is thenew UV coating on the cards.
The companies thatmanufacture baseball cards now are Topps, Upperdeck,Bowman O-Pee-Chee, Fleer, Score, Studio, Donruss,Pinnacle, Leaf and Stadium Club. Baseball cards have avery broad history as you can see. Whether it’s homemadecloth cards or store bought premium cards, you’ll probablyfind something you like. Well, have baseball cards affectedyour life since 1887? You’ll have to decide yourself.
*BKM – Beckett Baseball Card Mothly TUFF-Tuff StuffSCD- Sports Collectors Digest