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The History of Baseball Cards

Baseball cards have a very broad history. In the

beginning, god made man. Then, man produced........ the

baseball card. From 1887 to the present, billions of

baseball cards have been produced. Some cards are valued at

ten cents, while others, are valued at over one hundred

thousand dollars. Since 1887, Baseball cards have been a

major part of many people's lives.

The Beginning of the baseball card collecting era

would 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 one but the

creator of these cards, (there all dead) knows for sure what

exactly was used to produce these early cards. This time

period started on 1887 and continued on until 1901. The 1887

baseball cards were part of a unique set. Not only did this

set contain baseball cards, but it also contained boxing.

golf, and horse racing cards.

These cards are very high in value because of their

rarity and because they are some of the early baseball

cards. The common card 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 by two inches. There were many company's

that manufactured cards during this time period. They were:

Mayo Tobacco Works, Buchner, Kimball's, Old Judge, Allen &

Ginter, and Goodwin (SCD). These cards are rare, but are

not very difficult to obtain if you're willing to pay top


What many collectors call "the golden years of

baseball", took place from 1902 until 1935. One reason that

collectors call this time period that is because cards took

many different changes during this era. Cards were starting

to be packaged with Chewing Tobacco, crackerjacks, and

Chewing gum.

The value of cards during this time period depends

on many different factors. A large percent of these cards

have misprints (flaws). Because of these misprints, a card

may have a higher value than the exact same card because of

a misprint. The reason there were so many misprints was

because the card industry was just starting to experiment

with the printing process (SCD). The most expensive baseball

card of all time was produced during this era. That card was

the Honus Wagner T-206 produced in 1909. The reason that

this card is so expensive is because only 4 of these cards

were ever produced. Honus Wagner didn't want kids buying

tobacco for the Baseball cards. One of the Wagners sold at

an auction recently for 451,500 to Wayne Gretzky (SCD).

There were three main sizes of baseball cards during

this time period. One of the sizes was the "tobacco" size

cards. These cards were one and a half inches by two inches.

The second 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 by

two inches. Cards were packaged with chewing tobacco,

cracker jacks, chewing gum, and cigarettes (SCD).

Many company's produced cards during this era. Some

of the major manufactures were : Piedmont, Soverign, Ramly,

Hassan, Mecca and Turkey Red. The T-2.. series is very

common at card shows. With the exception of the Honus

Wagner, most of these cards can be acquired for a reasonable


From 1936 until 1960, not much happened in the card

collecting era. Three major changes occurred during this

time period. The cards themselves changed to a size that

would carry them to present time. Also, two ground breaking

companies would arrive and last until the 21st century.

The value of the 30's and 40's cards is around

forty dollars for a semi-star (BKM)*. The value of the 50's

cards is a little higher at forty five dollars for the semi-

star. Mickey Mantle's rookie is included in the 1952 Bowman

set. It is valued at $9,000 . Also, another Mantle , his '52

Topps is worth $35,000 (BKM, SCD, TUFF*). The 60's

common cards are worth



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