Oldbaseball (OBC) - Carter Correspondence



What’s different? What’s the same?


By George Vrechek from correspondence of the late Lionel Carter. This article originally appeared in four installments of Sports Collectors Digest beginning in October 2003

















You’ve all heard about the "good old days." As in: "Why when I was a boy, baseball cards were a penny and you got a stick of gum to boot. We traded cards without caring about the value. Not like today with collectors overly concerned about value and condition. Yes, things were a lot different then. There are just too many products these days and they cost way too much."


Carter’s boxes

One way of checking out the "good old days" is to go back and read some of the letters and publications from the time. I’ve had an opportunity to do just that. Hobby pioneer Lionel Carter was nice enough to loan me two boxes of material: one contained old hobby publications, the other contained correspondence to Carter from other collectors from 1940 to the 1980s. The hobby publications were certainly interesting. However I enjoyed going through the stack of correspondence. The comments are more direct, you see the process for acquiring cards, and get a better sense of what it was like to be a collector then.


Who else but Lionel Carter would have saved seemingly every shred of hobby correspondence for 50 years – neatly laying them flat in a stack? Carter started collecting in 1933 and gradually learned of other serious collectors. He always focused on baseball cards in the best condition. In his effort to complete sets, Carter ran ads and wrote letters – lots of letters in that the internet wasn’t quite ready yet and long distance phone calls were a major event. Letters to Carter came from just about any long-time collector that you can imagine: Jefferson Burdick, Preston Orem, Charles Bray, Bob Jaspersen, Woody Gelman, Frank Nagy, Buck Barker, Bob Solon, Frank Barning, Dan Even, Gavin Riley, E.C. Wharton-Tigar, Elwood Scharf, Bill White, George Husby, Larry Fritsch, Bill Mastro, Don Steinbach, Harry Kenworthy, Dan Jaskula, Bert Sugar, Steve Vanco, Lew Lipset, Jack Smalling, Howard Leheup, John Rumierz, Jim Nowell, Irv Lerner, Vic Witte, John Stirling, Wirt Gammon, Charles Brooks………and I’m just getting warmed up.


General Observations

The card prices then were certainly hard to imagine today and there were no premiums for star players, but there were incredible similarities to today’s hobby. People were upset with increasing prices; sets were too long, poorly designed or too numerous. Collectors were looking for a fair trade, a good deal and were aware of market values. Even Jefferson Burdick complained about having to pay "book" value for a card; and he wrote the book!


There were at least 500 letters to Carter from 1940 through the early 1980s. The stack of paper I waded through was 7 inches high. Most letters were hand-written; the rest typed. None were off a computer. A few were on interesting letterheads from hobby related organizations or the writer’s business. Some writers were 14, some were 80. Wantlists as such were surprisingly brief. Many exchanges started as a result of ads Lionel Carter placed in publications or articles that he wrote for hobby publications. Therefore a fair number of people got in touch a few times to trade or sell cards and then might not be heard from again, or might be heard from years later. There were quite a few letters from editors of these early hobby publications. Several people exchanged letters with Carter over 20 or 30 years, Bob Jaspersen and Buck Barker in particular.


Some writers were very organized and to the point, some rambled. A few wrote to complain about something Carter wrote or the hobby in general. Carter can be very critical. But his articles were always well written and with a sense of humor. There were a few snits over fair trades or the timeliness of responses. A typical letter might start by apologizing for a delay in responding, updating as to health, commenting on other hobbyists’ activities, and then getting to the point of: do you have any cards that I need? Nobody seemed to just throw cards in an envelope, not calculate their value and not expect anything in return. However, Carter was always interested in mint cards so the correspondence was likely slanted.


Ed Lancaster, Lancaster, PA

Ed writes to Carter in 1940: "I received the baseball cards and have been able to select the 57 cards due me. The remaining 21 are in my hands awaiting your decision on the following swap suggested (below). I note that you sent some of the 150 and 350 in Sweet Caps. My collection in these series is restricted to Piedmont only. In regard to the 460 series, please give me some information. Does this group come with all the backs marked 460 or does it include the accumulation of the 150 and 350 series. I was not so much pleased with the English swap. In the first place you only returned 90 cards instead of 100. There are still 10 due me. Besides 40 of the cards you returned were actual cards I had sent you. However we’ll forget that. British cards are hardly worth counting.



And now about the suggested swap. As I mentioned in one of my previous letters, I have 524 of the American baseball players, assorted, that I’d like to dispose of. I offered you a ½ cent price on them and you agreed that it was a very fair valuation. The batch comes to $2.62. I’ll let you have them on a trade on any of the wants on my list which is enclosed, cards coming from you to be accepted at Burdick’s catalog value. When you remember that the American Caramels are mint and the ones supplied by you probably not be so, that is better than four to one on the 2 cent listings."


I thought this oldest letter from the pile said much: Collectors used the American Card Catalog first published in 1939 for both categorizing cards and pricing them in trades. They were concerned about condition, price, and even back variations. They didn’t think too much about non-sport cards ("the English swap"). They were interested in older cards. Although trading for 1910 cards in 1940 would be like trading for 1973 cards today. Also to put things in perspective, the $2.62 should be price level adjusted to about $33.70 in today’s dollars so that you don’t think they were really going to the mat over 2 bucks.


Harry Lilien, NYC

1946 "I guess you are surprised to hear from me after such a long time. I got out of the army a few weeks ago…I haven’t looked over my collection since I’ve returned. My brother, Sid, was taking care of it until he went into the army. From what I did see it doesn’t seem as much was issued during the war. I guess it was because of no gum.



Albert Price, Little Rock, AK

1946 "I will be looking forward to receiving the Exhibit cards…I have accumulated some scarce Zeenuts… Several times I’ve started to list the duplicate cards that I have to trade, but in each instance have failed to undertake the task." Later in 1950 "I still owe you 34 cents from the last trade we made."


GJ Krause, Brooklyn, NY

1947 "These cards (various T205s) are in very good to fine condition with the exception of Collins – his card is poor – creased. If however you require these cards in mint condition to replace poorer ones then of course I can be of no help to you. I have been collecting cards of T205 and 206 for years and feel that I will never complete these sets and would gladly give anyone any card in my collection if I thought I could be of any help." Carter adds a note that he wrote again 3-7-56


Dr L. Kurzrok, NYC

1948 "Sorry to be away so long but have been operating and delivery babies day and nite. Need 1933 Big League 56, 73, 238. 1938 Big League 242, 257, 265, 267, 269, 275, 281, 286."


R.S. Jones, Garden City, NY

1948 "As a collector of silks, leathers, gum, soda and cigarette cards for the past few years I have accumulated many duplicates which I would like to trade. I would be happy to trade using the catalogue prices as a basis. If you are interested in trading I would be glad to exchange want lists. Hoping to hear from you." Carter adds a note to this 1948 letter that the next exchange is 2-13-57.


Hugh Johnson, Bowling Green, KY

1948 "I suppose you have seen my ads announcing that I am breaking up my entire collection of over 8,000 different cards. Since I could find no buyer with the cash to swing the whole lot, I am selling in sets. Your ad sounds as if you are interested in Goodwin #162 Champions. I have that set complete in what I think is very nice condition and it was a tough job to get all fifty and a few cards here and there. The price is $22.50 and I’ll send on approval if you say so." (Egads! Just the 8 baseball cards in the set book at $13,000 today - Vrechek) "Also have World Champions 2nd Series complete sets in fine condition which are bringing far higher bids (relative to catalog) than the 19th century."


William Arthur, Carlstadt, NJ

1950 "I am quite a new collector in the card collecting field, collecting baseball cards. Mr. K. Schoeneman has helped me to obtain quite a number of the T206 set. In fact at the present writing I need three (3) cards to complete the set….Of course my problem is one which most card collectors of this set (T206) do experience and that is that I need the following cards namely – O’Hara, Plank, and Wagner…. Obliged by your good judgment and information, I surely shall be, and with regards, remain Sincerely William H. Arthur"


Dana Tasker (Sp?)

1950 "You were kind to remember me with Connie Mack’s picture. I was in Sanford Maine winter of 1899-1900 when Connie came to talk to Fred Parent, I suppose in the interest of the new league as a whole….Am sending you a card from Tip Top bread series, don’t know if it is just New England or wider range." (That "new" league being the junior circuit American League.- Vrechek)


CR Lewton, Victoria, Australia

1951 "The Empire on Parade is a New Zealand issue and were given away in packages of breakfast food. .. I have noted your suggestion in contacting collectors in the USA through an ad in the Card Collectors Bulletin. In the first place, I have no way of getting money to the USA. This rules out the chances of buying cards and I’m in touch with Ben Cook, an American general collector. You’ll note that I have sent this letter by air, the reason being that surface mail to the USA is dearer."




Bill Leonard, Chicago Tribune, columnist

1951 "I am keeping the four G&B cards, in return for which you may have any two of the Ramly cards, and I’m returning the eight Goodwin Champions….As I possibly mentioned in an earlier letter, I am interested in 19th Century baseball players only. Altho I have hundreds of the T205 and T206 cards, and many of the Mecca and Hassan folders, I consider them essentially trading material for baseball items of the pre-1900 era. My interests, naturally, are in the cards numbered 172, 284, 300, 321, 403, and 680 in Mr. Burdick’s comprehensive catalog…Most of all, I crave the Goodwin 172, Buchner 284 and Mayo 300 sets. Unfortunately, the catalog doesn’t list the number of cards known to be included in any of these sets."

1956 "Thank you for thinking of me and inviting me to your get-together of collectors on April 7…keep me in touch with plans for the July convention. I should like to participate, if possible, as well as to meet other collectors."


Leo Burke, Detroit. MI

1953 "I have the Topps cards from #221 to #280 inclusive with the exception of 252, 253, 257, 261, 265, 268, 271, 275. A total of 51 cards. Will sell these to you for $1. I will pay the postage." (6 of the cards listed were never issued. - Vrechek)


Bob Jones, Philadelphia, PA

1953 "Here are a few you may need. Send me whatever they are worth to you."


Dick Dobbins, Berkeley, CA

1954 (Yes 1954) "It continues to anger me the great number of sets put out on major league players. No wonder you draw the line before you get to minor league pictures. I am just the opposite as I like to draw the line before I get to major league things…I have most of the easy to get PCL sets…I believe I have by now the most extensive collection on PCL materials in existence. I estimate that I have upwards of 8,000 pictures of PCL players in PCL uniforms…I would just as soon hold off on the M D cards, as I don’t have many traders of them, and I think they are going to become quite valuable in the near future. I know Buck Barker has the Signal cards enclosed."


Robert Mildrum (Sp?), Baldwin, NY

1954 "Do you know you can buy complete sets of Topps and Bowman BB from Sam Rosen on NY? Did you ever get a catalogue of baseball items for sale from Goodwin Goldfaden of LA?"


Jay Osterhovall (Sp?)

1954 "Just a quick answer to give you a tip –Samuel Rosen of New York City is selling 1952 Topps #311 to #407 mint for $2.50…It is the only way you will ever get them." (That wasn’t $2.50 each either but for the whole series. Why didn’t Jay "tip" me off?)


MW Plowman, Peterborough, Ontario

1954 "I’ve sent 97 Baseball Players, 97 NHL Players and 4 cards that were on the want list that you sent me. Please find enclosed statement showing a balance due of 546 points. As there were 59 cards I needed for my collection I’ve given you a special bonus of 30 points." (His elaborate point system by type of card seemed to be: you give me 3 cards and I’ll give you 2.)


Johnston Cookies

Sends Lionel a complete set for free.


David Bush, Hornell NY

1954 "Sorry I have taken so long! There are 41 cards and I know that they are not all perfect so I will give them to you for 75 cents."


N. Grasso, Newark, NJ

1954: "I have over 800 cards from 1933 to 1941…my price is kinda high…I have been getting as high as $1 per card."


Larry ? , Evanston, IL

1954 "I was very much surprised to note you say in your letter ‘I’m driving a hard bargain’ rather odd coming from you. I hardly think such is the case at all – let me convey some additional facts on some past ways I’ve sent cards your way"…etc etc He goes on and on and on, but winds up with "No hard feelings but I just can’t understand how you figure I’m driving a hard bargain – I never had such in mind I’m sure. Best, Larry" And in 1955 "The reason I sold my "E" card collection was not one reason…I had been losing interest in cards for over a year or so – had to push myself last year to go after the new sets – this year when they came out I wasn’t at all enthused. There were a few sets I wanted very much. I offered real fancy prices for them but got nowhere over the course of 2 years – felt I wanted them to reach a goal on all the sets I wanted in my collection – without them I just lost interest I am going to keep my Batter-Ups and Diamond Stars because of their holding memories of my boyhood days, might keep 2 or 3 of the other Bowman sets – the rest I’ll put in Bray’s sale soon but will wait til you come over and we’ll see if you want any of the stuff first. Hope you can make it soon.." Then discussed his interest in stamps. In another letter "If you want the cards listed on reverse side of this sheet you can have them for $80…condition is very nice…cash only." The reverse listed 192 Batter Ups, 110 Tip Tops, 102 Remars, 23 Sun Breads, 26 Glendale Meats, 9 Stahl Wieners, 20 Dan Dees, 24 Signal Oils – about 13 cents per card, but probably a little pricey for the time.


Barry Berglund, Marquette. MI

1955. Barry is a youngster looking to complete his 39 Playballs. "I have many in these series but it seems they are all the same numbers. For instance I have 12 of Paul Dean and 8 of Joe DiMaggio."


Unnamed collector

"Youres was not the first letter suggesting I keep my cards. However, although I will probably regret it later, I am still selling. There are a number of reasons, the main one being the service angle. Then I was in jail, and had to borrow $100 to get out. You’d never believe me if I told you what I was in for, so I wont."


Gene DeNardo, one of Burdick’s buddies, on stationary for the 1953 American Card Catalog

1955 "The enclosed cards are about as perfect as I have seen and should be satisfactory to you. However if you do not need them now just return them."


Miriam Jacobs. Dayton, Ohio

1955 "I have only been collecting baseball cards for the past few months…I have #80 of list 172, a complete T201, 80 end panel T202s; about a quarter of the gold border series; a complete T206 except 143, 148, 368, and 383; complete R713, R715 and R716; T232 complete for 1952, 1953, and 1954 and some T3s..I am just a novice at card collecting and certainly appreciate any help I can get."


Ernest Keener, Sylvia, NC

1955 "I need the subjects in sets T205 and T206 listed on the attached sheet with exception of Wagner and Plank in T-206" (Must have had them already.)


Michael Stagno, Bronx, NY

1955 "I have 1939 – 44 different 6 cents each or all for $2.50; 1941 (colored) 32 cards $2; all of the above $4."


Bob Elmo, Yonkers, NY

1956 "I have about 1,000 1952 Topps, but they still have to be sorted. Also have Old Mill, Sweet Corporal, Piedmont, Hassan cigarette cards 29 different - $3.50. Enclosed are 3 cards on your want list – free."


Bob Minor, Moberly, MO

1956 "I tried to find the best centered cards of the lot which is a rare thing these days in cards. Send me what you think they are worth in cards. I have quite a few of these B&W. If you like I will send you all of them and you can pick what you want and send the rest back."


Jack Smalling, Ames, IA (later address list publisher)

1956 "Thank you very much for your recent letter. I am a boy of 15 years. I have been collecting gum cards since 1949….Here is a list of cards that I need for my collection: Bowman 1948 #8, 36, 38, 1949 Bowman #216, 1952 Bowman #218, 1952 Topps #318-322 323 333 336 etc…I am especially interested in securing number 216 in the 1949 Bowman series. I would at least like (to know) who the picture is of if you don’t have a double to trade." (216 is Schoolboy Rowe)


Steve Vanco, Chicago, IL

1955? "Am enclosing a set of 1954 Baseball Colored Cards (33) Red Heart Dog Food for your consideration. Would appreciate your remitting for same as soon as possible as I am leaving on vacation and naturally need the money. Also please remit in cash (bills) at my risk."


Pearl Ann Reeder, Hobbies Magazine, Chicago

1956 Regrets being unable to work out a deal with Bob Jaspersen to "relinquish his interest in the Sports Fan and have it made a part of Hobbies Magazine."


A Collector who shall go unnamed, Belvidere, IL

1956: (June 28th) "You probably won’t believe this explanation of why you didn’t receive your money, but honest to God this is the truth! When you sent me the cards I was all set to pay you, but I happened to have a date that day your cards arrived and that took all my money. After that I had the money, but I forgot about you and the rest of our fellow card collectors, because I quit collecting cards for awhile. However, the other day (another unnamed collector) called me and told me that you were mad at me because I hadn’t paid you, that’s when I remembered I still owed you the money. He also told me that you were going to tell all your friends that they shouldn’t do business with me, well I would appreciate it if wouldn’t tell your friends this because I have started collecting cards again but that still doesn’t settle the matter about your money, well it will please you to know that you will receive your money some time next week (Thank God, he finally added a period, if not a check! - Vrechek) I hope that even though it took me a year and a half to pay you for the cards that we can still do business. And I know this will never happen again." July 9, 1956 "Enclosed you will find a payment in full for the cards I bought from you, it seems like 20 years ago. All kidding a side about a year ago. I hope that you will write me and let me know whether we can do any more business. I know this will never happen again, because I will pay in advance before I receive the cards. Well thanks again for being so patient." (I didn’t see any further correspondence.)


Robert Kelleter, Bedford, NY

1956 "I received your letter last week. Sorry I didn’t answer it sooner but I was busy being a junior in high school…I started collecting last year..I don’t have too large a collection. The biggest reason it isn’t very large is where to get the money…My 1941 PlayBall set lacks only #54 and #60. My Mecca set lacks 4 cards…I am also trying to get complete recent Bowman and Topps sets. My collection includes about 200 White border cigarette cards, 40 Gold Borders, a dozen Triple Folders, maybe 100 1939 Playballs, 2 almost complete sets of Parkhurst Hockey..sets of Oakland Oaks, Mothers Cookies" (Poor kid)


Roger Harris, Rutland, VT

1956 "I am enclosing a few gum cards from your list, which I do hope you can use. Please accept them with my compliments…I can understand your wanting cards in perfect condition. I also try to have my collections in as good condition as possible. Being in the mail order stamp business with my father, we often get requests for "super superb" condition, mathematically centered, lightly cancelled, etc. However, with stamps, most collectors are satisfied with just good copies as there is usually a stiff premium on the superb material….I am 19 years old….I have yet to meet a collector, personally, of insert cards, but I am going to the Tri-State Hobbies Convention next month in Concord NH and hope to make some contacts. Since New England is known for having people who seem to hold on to things, there should be quite a few interesting attics around here yet to be scrutinized."


Ed Lancaster, Lancaster, PA (whose 1940 letter to Carter appeared earlier)

1956 "Last fall you mentioned a new card publication "The Sports Fan" which I subscribed to and received the first issue in November. Since then I have heard nothing….Do you have any facts on the situation?

7 days later he sends a card that the January and February issues arrived yesterday. "Have you noticed that the American Beauty and probably Cycle cards in the T205s are trimmed slightly less in both dimensions? As I remember, these were 20 for 5 cents and packed differently than Piedmont, Sweets, etc." Later in 1956 "Here are 21 cards from your want list. If any meet with your requirements remit to me .05 each in stamps, and return those you can’t use."


Lawrence Brandt, Evanston, IL

1956 April "How are you? Seems like ages since I’ve heard or written to you. I had a note from S. Rosen saying he has the first series of the new Topps baseball but that Bowman has discontinued all card sets – too bad, I always liked the Bowmans over the Topps. I saw a couple of the new Topps the other day. Can’t say too much for them as it seems like they’ve got the same old poses for the 3rd year in a row with diff. backgrounds…Do you wish any of my bread cards? I still have them all. If you don’t want any I’ll let ‘em go in one of Bray’s sales."


Tom Werner

1957 "I found a few you need. As for the gum or cigarette cards from 1905 to 1930, I don’t have any…I am only a boy of 14 years old. I assume that you are a collector and not a dealer, but I’ll ask you anyway if you would like to buy a lot of assorted cards from 1951 to 1956. I am trying to get rid of my doubles."


Walt Corson, ACC co-editor, Glen Moore, PA

1957 "In T206 backs I have them complete except Ty Cobb. Have others you want in mint or near mint. Have T202 and T205 complete. T206 Need Wagner, T207 need 15 my wants about like yours in this."

Later in 1957: "I’ve already broken up my collection so will continue. Have sold $2,400 worth in the last 2 or 3 months and I can’t see any hole in my collection at all. Figure it will bring about $30,000 when all sold. I have not sold any of the better items yet." He then quotes prices for what he has available: R319 Complete $120, R321’s fine 50 or 60 cents each, R331 complete set 50 cents each, C56 50 cents each, "also have hundreds of other sports sets."


Charles Spink, Editor of the Sporting News

1957 "The 1957 Baseball Register will be ready the latter part of May or early June. It will be priced at $4.00 in paper-binding, $6.00 in cloth-binding."


Howard LePiors, Port Huron, MI

1957 "I would like to trade or sell a complete set of 1956 Topps football and a complete set of 1951 Topps Baseball (red backs)" Carter notes on the letter that he offered him 1948 to 1953 cards at 2 cents each and 1954 to 1956 cards at 1 cent each.  Later in 1957:"I am enclosing $2.25 which will cover the amount due you for 15 sample cards $1.90, and 32 Topps and Bowmans at 1 cent each."


1957: Mr. GA Greasby, Milwaukee, WI

Greasby was born in 1892 and has some old cards but collects cigar bands. He’d like Carter to write for their hobby club.


E.C. Wharton-Tigar, London, England

1958 "You may recall that we have corresponded several times in the past and once, I remember, when I was in Canada in 1953….Would you like to make an exchange of cards?" His want list is enclosed. His collection became one of the most significant ever.


Kay Mills, 16 year old Vice President of "Signature Seekers: The Nation Wide Club for Autograph Collectors"

1957. Kay offers her collection for sale, asks for postage beyond 3 cents, Topps Doubleheaders are 3 cents each, Wheaties 2 cents each, 1951 redbacks and bluebacks 5 cents each, 75 of the Topps Ringside cards are $1.75 in total, 1951 Connie Mack All-Stars are 5 cents each but not in very good condition. Kay asks Carter if he’d like to be editor of their bulletin, since he has a mimeograph machine.


Keith Sutton, Honesdale, PA

1959 "also read your interesting article on Topps 1958 issue. I’m interested in obtaining the scarce cards: 443, 446, 450 and 462…Dealers in New York…do not have them for sale, even in the complete sets. Topps claims they were printed, but it is doubtful that they were ever distributed – no one has seen them. Your article was the first inkling that I’ve had that the four showed up in the Midwest."


Gar(land) Miller, Swedesboro, NJ

Undated late 50s? "I am an avid baseball fan and sports collector….I am not quite as fussy about the cards but I do want them in rather good shape."


Richard Roundtree, Oklahoma

Undated, "Preston Orem once told me that he just threw away around 15,000 cards of Topps and Bowmans because he didn’t want to go to all the trouble of sorting them!"


Tom Hurley, St Petersburg, FL

Undated: "Enclosed find one 5X7 photo of Cubs 1889… and one 5X7 Cubs 1907..Now these are 60 cents a piece."


Harold Esch, Sports Record Bureau, Orlando, FL

1958 "I feel the 20 cent per card price (for 1933 Goudeys) to be quite high…but to assure myself of having them I’ll pay the 20 cents…50 to 75 cards would suit me fine at this time…If you can, I’ll appreciate your picking out the best conditioned cards in the lot." (No sense wasting time looking for Ruths or Gehrigs in those lots - Vrechek)


Late 1950s: Correspondence with the mother of collector Jimmy Lacey (22 years old). Carter helped her sell his cards for much more than she was offered.





Goodwin Goldfaden, Adco Sports Book Exchange, Los Angeles (Letterhead – Publications of All Sports Bought, Sold, Exchanged from 1860 to date)

Early 1956 "Many thanks for your card advising the convention has been cancelled. Really sorry  for this and I can imagine all the preparations you made prior to this cancellation…I do remember in 1947 when we came out here from the East, we stopped over in St. Louis, and the wife and I had a most pleasant visit with Charles "Buck" Barker. No matter where I go I always manage to contact someone with whom I had correspondence with or dealings in the past."



Gordon B. Taylor, NYC

1957 Price List; 1952 Topps high numbers are 15 cents, will buy for 10 cents. The next year his sell price goes to 30 cents, but will still buy at 10 cents.


Sam Rosen, NYC

1958 Offers to buy 1952 Topps high numbers for 1 ½ cent each – "providing they are in good condition." – But I see  in his price list that he is selling them for 5 cents each, pretty good margin. A nickel will get you a 1951 team card or All Star as well. He identifies the #131 to 190 ’52 Topps whitebacks as not available at 3 cents. These are mighty tough to find today. His 1958 Topps Basketball 80 card set goes for $1.60. A 1954 Topps baseball set will cost you $5.


Samuel Tanenbaum, Hartford, Conn

1959 Tenenbaum is a dealer in old books. :"…in the relationship of the dealer to the collector. The dealer has to show a profit for his time and money. He will naturally gravitate to those who will give him most of that profit. I have also noted, that the dealer is most invaluable to the collector, and the smart collector realizes that. For he knows that the dealer is only interested in making a living, while a brother collector will gouge the eyes out of a fellow collector, when that fellow needs something that he has. I have seen that too often to be mistaken, and have seen them get prices from each other that have made me blush in shame. I find this game most profitable in dealing with those collectors who will buy all and everything which they haven’t got along their collecting line. If a man collects baseball cards, I like to see him collect everything in baseball cards. The fault that I find with you, is that you only want to collect certain types of cards, and to cater to a collector like yourself, I have to expend too much time, in trying to suit you...There is no money in my selling four cards." (I didn’t see any subsequent correspondence .)


Woody Gelman, on stationary of The Card Collectors Company (Formerly Sam Rosen), Franklin Square, NY

1959 "By the way the four missing numbers in Topps 1958 was not done on purpose. Topps listed them on the checklist but couldn’t get the photos in time. On the next printing they got ‘em in." And later in 1959 "I visited with Jeff Burdick over the weekend. The catalogue is really coming along. The hobby owes Jeff its undying gratitude. He has certainly given us collectors hours of pleasure every week by his organization of the hobby. I found 20 clipper ship cards recently. I suppose that this is the apex of my collecting. Regards, Woody"


Larry Fritsch, Stevens Point, WI

1958: "Enclosed is 34 cents for the cards you sent me. Thanks a lot." Price List from 1959 is in Carter’s pile

!952 Topps Highs are 50 cents each.1960: Looking for exhibits and how to tell the year of printing 1961: Looking to complete his 1948 Leaf set




Buried in the middle of the 7 inch pile of correspondence I came across several letters and postcards. The handwriting was a little difficult to read and the lines sometimes slanted upward to the right. But the words were clear and of great interest to me since I had spent such effort in researching the writer: Jefferson Burdick, the "father of card collecting.". Burdick visited the Carters in Chicago and they visited him in Syracuse. They kept in touch until shortly before his death. Carter was a collaborator, assisting in the American Card Catalog listings and descriptions. Unfortunately Burdick didn’t always date his correspondence so I have guessed on some of these:


July 29 (1949?) Crouse Ave, Syracuse written on the back of a Graybar Electric Sales Sheet dated 8/12/48 Regarding different E121s "Saw 44 of them and kept 5 for myself….Ty Cobb Mgr, Det Am. Batting (view to hips), Lou de Vormer – C, NYA portrait. This is almost the same as one I had, must have been taken a few seconds between. Practically only difference is in one mouth is closed and in other is slightly open…"


Postcard Sep 4 1950: "Lionel, On the E121 list – I don’t see how you can ignore the numbered cards entirely as, after all, they are the same series…I doubt Bray gave you enough data to do an accurate listing job due to diff. positions of same player that wouldn’t show up in the name alone…Forget the E220. Not enough known about them but try to weed any of them out of the 121 list. I suspect a few of them got in it. Condense all lists as tightly as possible, the 121 is a pretty long one anyway. Sincerely, Jeff."


Sept 24 (1950s?) "Here are 32 cards that may help with the listing. Have stamped a B on the backs so that if mixed with others they can be sorted out easily." This note is written on the back of a printed page that precedes the catalog of 1939. (Burdick wasn’t big on wasting paper) The page written by Burdick includes: "Old cards are bits of history, and share in the love which all Americans hold for reminiscences of years gone by….Do not stick cards to the pages. Cards which are tightly stuck down in albums should be discounted when buying because of the labor of removing cards and the probable damage to them. Warm water and careful drying and pressing is the usual process, but same damage is unavoidable …. All advance subscribers to this catalog will receive the first issue of the new volume free…Full details of dates and subscriptions will be in the first issue which is scheduled for August 1, 1939…The Bulletin is issued to help collectors and dealers. It is THEIR magazine, and all contributions and suggestions will be highly appreciated and will receive utmost consideration. It is issued on a non-profit basis, and the only motive is to promote the hobby of card collecting."


March 30 (later 1950s?), now on Wolf Street, Syracuse  This is a great letter that is hard to excerpt but it responds to Carter’s complaint to Burdick about a collector who shall remain nameless who Burdick suggested visit the Carters. Apparently he did, wasn’t that interested in the cards, over-stayed his welcome and had too much to drink. One Burdick sentence will have to suffice: "Collectors, in general, are a pretty good lot but in the final analysis are no different than any other cross section of the population."


Carter has a page out of a letter from Burdick to Buck Barker that Barker forwarded. "Why not let Carter (King of the Mounties) do an article on mounting. It’s a problem. I’m struggling with it at the museum and haven’t yet solved it. Of course, much of my stuff will be pasted down – all the plain back and printed general backs are being pasted. But can’t do that with descriptive backs and there are many long sets of those that will be tough to handle."


September 21 (1959?) from St Petersburg, FL

Burdick describes his arduous journey by bus from NYC to Florida and the retirement communities he finds there. He met with a collector in Petersburg, Virginia but only found one in St. Petersburg, Florida. "Tuesday I’m going to Lakeland to buy an album from a school teacher … a lot of T206 and over 100 Contentneas (T209s  book for $75 to $150 in mint these days - Vrechek) and I’ll have to pay about catalog (hey, you wrote the catalog - Vrechek) ….Friday I’ll go over to Augustine to see their antique show and hope to find some cards, but probably not. The South isn’t good ‘card country’ although I once did get a big cigar box full of dandy old cards from South Carolina. You never can tell when they’ll turn up." More trips are planned involving visits with collectors


May 12, 1960 Written on 1960 ACC stationery

About the just published ACC "I guess there are a few errors scattered about but what the heck – who is 100% perfect?…The printer who set the type was only a little one horse outfit but he did pretty good. For the actual printing and the binding he turned it over to a real high class place…But even so, out of about 300 I checked there were 3 defects…(Buck Barker) did a lot of work and I thought it all pretty good although I’m not a real judge of the technique of baseball writing…. But I began work on that book last Thanksgiving… It’s not just writing it. You have to dig up the data to write and that means hundreds of letters to people all over the country. Then their mass of replies has to be sifted out and arranged in some order – and try not use anything that isn’t absolutely correct. Anyway, Lionel, by next Catalog time someone else will have to carry the ball. 4 of 6 on this job are past 60 and that will make us too old for another one, if indeed, we are here at all."


November 28, 1960, Madison Ave, NYC

Four page letter to Carter complimenting him on his writing abilities, the difficulty in getting published despite such abilities and the economic realities of having a book printed yourself. "A book is just a pound of waste paper unless you can sell it… Orem and Payne are listed as co-publishers of the Catalog but actually they have no financial interest in it at all…only the 4 of us are in it financially…No, I don’t have all the sets complete. A lot of people think I have everything, but I don’t. Lack a lot of R300, Batter Up, lack 2 of the 34 Big Leagues and 2 of the Diamond Stars (batting average backs.)…I know of only 6 Wagners here at the Museum and Public Library, Bray, Wagner, Gammon and 1 that turned up last winter. A kid here in the Bronx had it…I didn’t know Orem had one and I never heard of Colzietti either. There probably several more about. All so far have originated in the NYC area."


January 23, 1961 Madison Ave, NYC

"The doctors gave me a ‘totally disabled’ rating"…Burdick regrets not being able to travel with the Carters. "I’ll just get out one of them ‘trip around the world’ card sets and I’ll be there – a magic carpet without leaving my easy chair… I guess I told you that costs for our Catalog are now around $6,000 and the figure will be more, of course, before all are sold. You will probably figure that 3000 copies at $4 is 12,000 and so there is plenty of margin yet. But a lot of copies are sold to bookstores at less than $3 a copy and we don’t know how long the 3,000 copies will last. Maybe 10 years, with a lot of advertising spread along every year. Maybe a lot will never sell…." Regarding being at the Museum: "I usually go up on Tuesday and Friday…In a few years a lot of us old timers will be gone and you will be senior collector and top authority. Speaking of us going – Glidden Osborne of London just died. Probably had the biggest collection of cigarette cards in the world. I wonder how he left his collection – maybe to a museum or to the Cartophilic Society of which he was so long president."


May 29, 1961 Madison Ave, NYC

Burdick suggests that Orem may be selling his collection to pay for his baseball book publishing. "My health is definitely on the down trend. A few years ago a doctor examined me and pronounced me a "Medical Museum." Today I have at least 2 or 3 additional ailments – rather bad ones… I hope to hold together long enough to complete the card mounting job here, but there’s no guarantee…I’m getting pretty badly bent and twisted out of shape and my clothes, for example, just don’t drape around me gracefully any more. Some might say I looked like something the cat dragged in…Old Fred Baum was just here for a couple of hours… Comes up to the Museum most every time I’m there.. He collects all tobacco and coffee and is wilder at it than even you baseball boys are about the National game…I agree with you that there are too many BB cards being issued…In the early days it was bad enough when they put out a 250 card set. Now its four times that, or almost, and between the gums, cookies, meats, and a few other things – well – I gave up…I guess somebody else will have to round out the collection with such things.


August 22, 1961, Madison Ave, NYC

Another great letter about cards, variations, checklists, increasing prices and the catalog. "I haven’t tried to collect all the new cards of past ten years but get a few that especially interest me. Have few of the long baseball sets but I agree with you in that it is being overdone. Its too much for some of the younger collectors who don’t have that kind of money to spend on cards…Once an idea clicks, everybody gets in the game and tries to cash in on it."



November 24, 1961 Madison Ave. NYC

"Lionel- For nigh onto 2 months now the world has been waiting for a report of the latest Carter safari. The tension has been mounting terrifically and has reached the breaking point in this area. Naturally I feel a strong interest in the journey (having strongly considered being a member of the troop) and I know others must be concerned….We want to know how you found old man Orem and how is the book going? I have bought quite a lot from his collection this summer. His prices were a little uppity on some things (low on others) but I paid them gladly as I feel I’d never get another chance in my lifetime at most of that stuff. He had a remarkable collection considering he had been at it only 5 years….I feel the book business will be a disappointment (to him). It’s a tough racket for anyone. A lot more money is lost on books than is made. Only the retail book dealers can save him and they are a hard boiled lot….Orem sold his Hans Wagner for $150. Nagy in Detroit got it. Some kid collector asked me what it was worth in my opinion. All I can do is stick to the Catalog and I recall you saying you wouldn’t pay even $50 for one. There may be a small demand at over $50 but I don’t believe its very large. Charley Bray decided to stick with the $50 rate in the Catalog. Johhny Wagner writes that Gammon is now asking 30 cents for ordinary T206 and T205 which is too high. And a lot of the BB gums since 1948 are selling too high. There’s a lot of that stuff around and it shouldn’t sell at over catalog for selected items – with lots at a lower figure. Dealer Taylor has skipped the coop, so it seems, and looks like he forgot to settle some outstanding obligations. Nobody knows his present address."


December 10, 1961, Madison Ave., NYC

Burdick writes a nice letter to Carter commenting on the long vacation that Burdick would have been physically unable to make, mentions Carter’s work and then adds: "I worked over 23 years at my last job and a lot of 45 to 50 hour weeks…All that time I was doing a lot of card work too and it meant a tight schedule as I couldn’t work late hours at night as most do. I have to get a full 9 hours sleep. At that time I went to bed at 8 PM, read the paper for an hour and slept from 9 to 5:30 or 6 AM…You’d better think twice about selling the collection. There is quite a bit of loose card money about these days and there are probably several others like ( a certain collector)  who would snap up a good collection like yours for 1000 or so. I guess Orem started a craze for selling, but its different with him. He’s an older man and he expects to have other interests (his books) to keep his hobby time going. All the same. I think he will regret selling the cards – not only because he liked the cards but because the books won’t take their place. He can do a lot of book writing, but to print and sell them all may require a lot more money than he can take in from them. The writing may be the easy part of it. A profit is another thing, but of course, he may do it the same as collecting cards, with the pleasure being sufficient payment…. I do think that every collector should arrange for some disposition of his collection when he passes on and if he can foresee the date of passing, it might be OK to dispose of them himself shortly ahead of such date – but you aren’t in that category yet. I made arrangements for my cards in 1948 when I was only 48 years old, as at the time I was getting rather poor physically and I didn’t know how long. However, the miracle drugs (cortisone) came on in 1950 and allowed me to work until 1959 and in the meanwhile to sort out from 2 to 6 cartons of cards each year and ship them on.(to the Metropolitan Museum) Now I’m finishing the job here. Another full year before I can scrape bottom. Just counted the 119th tobacco insert and its 31,708 to date. Thanks for the news and love to Irma, Jeff"


April 28, 1962 Madison Ave, NYC a typed letter

Burdick writes about the challenge of getting to Charley Bray’s in Pennsylvania without being able to drive a car – not easy. "On retiring – I still say the trick is to retire early enough. As time goes on, I see ever so many waiting until they literally have one foot in the grave before they quit. Then the retirement period is too short – as it probably will be for me. Nobody can figure accurately how many years are left for them but they should try to figure out at least ten years of happy retirement…In my case, I have the huge accumulation of cards here, which I hope to get entirely in order before I pass on. Have been at it over 2 ½ years now and it looks like another year almost before I can hope to finish it. Some would do it faster by burning the midnight oil but I have to get long and regular rest – sometimes I don’t, as last night when I doubt I slept an hour….I am more concerned about the card collecting angle (than the baseball season). Looks to me like there are too many long sets being issued. Also a lot of prices being paid are too high. I may be wrong but that’s the way it looks from here. I personally discontinued collecting all the sport sets about ten years ago, also the funny ? jokes and horror monster stuff. I have most of the others and even a token lot of even the sports and monsters but nowheres near completion and I’m not trying to fill them in in any way."


May 23 (most likely 1962) Burdick’s handwriting is more restricted. "The enclosed sugar bag will show you my present address.(Bellevue) Probably in for a couple of weeks for a thorough checkup and treatment. My condition was getting so unbearable that I had to do something…I hope to be out about the time the show opens at Bray’s but you can see I won’t be in any condition to make the trip over unless I could do it in a private car and I don’t know of anyone with a car who would make the trip…I’m more sorry than I can tell you about missing the show. I had thought of it all winter with keen anticipation and I’m sure it will be good….Give my regards to Charlie and Mrs. Bray…Best, Jeff"


July 7, 1962 Handwriting is even more restricted. The Carters had hoped to see Burdick on one of their vacation trips but it hadn’t worked out. "I’m planning on moving sometime late this year. Just when and where to is not yet known and I may even abandon the idea but at least I want to get somewhere else if at all possible…Will be looking forward to writeups of the (Carter) trip. Almost as good as being there. Another unique Carter service. Don’t plan on me flying to Chicago. I’m still too shaky on the feet to roam very far. Have resumed work on the cards at the museum and hope to finish the job this Fall. Its an awful mess. Special regards to Irma, Jeff"


Burdick died March 13, 1963



Charles "Buck" Barker, St Louis, Mo

Buck Barker was one of the key editors of the American Card Catalog. His interest was in baseball cards. He was a fan. Buck was generous with his cards and unconcerned with condition. His handwriting was playful. He started each of his numerous letters to Carter with a different friendly greeting. There were even a few pictures of Buck included.


1959 "Waiting for a letter from Jeff. He says he is living in a hotel on Madison Square..By the way I wanted to call it Burdick’s American Card Catalog and so did Woody, but we were voted down. Jeff was against it of course. Frankly, it would have boosted sales besides."


1961 "Orem’s book came at last. It is really good..As he says you can’t get the info anywhere else."


April 2, 1963 "So sorry to hear about Jeff. I thought he was just discouraged."


1965 "Dear Old Banker, Lend me your ears – no, a banker would want interest."


1970 "Dear Lionel de Agincourt, Your clips (from newspapers) were so interesting I can’t say "no". Will let Ray Medieros and maybe George Tinker see them too. Been reading your good stuff – latest from Bray (Card Collectors Bulletin, editor). Did Broder (yes, the Broder of Broder cards - Vrechek) say he got that thing out after Woody (Gelman) told him not to?…Working on a good Zeenut deal with Dobbins. Can use M116 Bereen, Kane, Smith, White, Walsh in that order. Adios, Buck" What a name dropper that Buck.


1971: "Dear Fellow Has-Been, Have decided not to exert my self on cards now, (being over-hobbied to say the least) except to obtain 1) one card of each player 2)one card of each set 3) favorite sets 4) Latin American players 5) Favorite players 6) Anything else that really strikes my fancy." (Favorite players were Minoso and Ashburn) He ads the names of 3 hobbyists who rub him the wrong way and 3 the right way. He is working on E cards, T-207s, M116s.



Bob Jaspersen, St Paul, MN and Rosemont, PA

Jaspersen wrote in Palmer method, long letters written sideways on note pads; numerous letters over many years. Bob was the editor of Sport Fan magazine. Lionel Carter was a writer for SF.


1955 "You’re responsible for 2 new subscribers (to Sports Fan) Mr. Bray and one Mr. C.C. Barker of St. Louis." In another letter from 1955: "Glad to hear too that our idea for a national convention appealed to you. Chicago was proposed as the site due to its geographical location, though 75% of the country’s collectors live east of the Hudson River."


1967 Bob writes about visiting Charles Bray. "We poured over a number of his own cards, although he said he had disposed of his personal collection a couple of years ago. Since then though he’s picked up some old numbers that he is hanging on to…He said you were promoting a convention for card collectors."


1973 "When a collector dies, his survivors simply fail to notify the hobby press. I hadn’t learned of Preston Orem’s death until months later." He goes on to describe delays in learning of the deaths of Fred Imhoff, Jim Armstrong, Jim Lacey, Frank Jock, Walt Corson. "Sport Fan was never intended to be a money-maker. When we started it back in 1951, it was only because the Trading Post had died, and the hobby was left without a single publication….Two days ago, I received my first copies of the new Sports Collectors Digest. Do you get it, Lionel? Just between you and me, it is the best of all the hobby papers. It is head and shoulders above all in appearance. And after reading through the first 4 issues, I say down and asked myself: ‘Just why would anyone even bother to subscribe to the other papers?’ And unlike some of the others you don’t need a magnifying glass to read it." (I really didn’t make this letter up just to get this article printed – Vrechek)


1975 "You asked me in your letter the date of that gathering of collectors at your home, which you referred to as the ‘first convention of sports collectors.’ That gathering took place in 1958..I believe you said Buck Barker was there. I’ve never met Buck."


1979 Bob writes "Just a note to explain why your coverage of the Chicago Convention didn’t make the current issue (of Sports Fan)." (no room, yet in that the publication is only 10 pages). "It was too well written to boil down to size." He adds "The California Convention was certainly different than the one you and I attended 9 years ago in Jim Nowell’s home." PS "You mentioned in your letter, Lionel, that you didn’t like our small "type." We need that "small type" because of our "long-winded" writers. Only kidding, old buddy."


1980 Bob thanks Lionel for "the interesting piece in nominating Charles Bray for the Frank Jock Memorial Award." Apologizes for cutting some of Carter’s last article – didn’t censor it but didn’t have enough room on the page. "Anytime I have an issue that carries the Lionel Carter byline within its pages, I feel the readers are getting something special."


Bob writes in June 1980 that he plans to attend the National in Los Angeles, although he’s not all that enthused about it. (A certain collector/writer) in another hobby publication "blasted the old guard of the hobby…(he) has been in the hobby only 5 or 6 years , yet tries to act as a spokesman for all of us."


Feb 1981 " I had a note from Lew Lipset of New York, telling me of (Harry) Kenworthy’s death and that he and two partners had purchased the Kenworthy collection -- ---for $60,000. How about that? Harry Kenworthy stopped off to visit me here in the summer of 1969….Harry got a John Montgomery Ward cabinet card off me for $1.25"


August 1981 "Sorry to hear Bob Wilson has disposed of his collection…Interesting to hear about Ed Golden (Carter had traded with him in 1936.) Is he still collecting or did you say he had sold out? I often wonder if John Wagner still has an interest in cards."


May 1982. "I’ve thrown in the towel. I notified my managing editor that I wanted out, so he drew up a retirement package….I am hoping to sell the bulk of my collection because I have too much stuff that is of no more interest or use to me. I’d like to find some dealer out here to back up his truck and haul it all away."


Bob Jaspersen and Buck Barker both died on the same day December 18, 1982.



Preston Orem, Pasadena, CA, an ACC Editor

1956 Law Office stationary "I collect all insert cards, but primarily sports. Started on April 1st, this year. Already have over 9,500 with more coming in every day, plus several thousand duplicates…Have all the catalogs, bulletins etc. Had Mr. Bray send me two years back issues of the Bulletin and summarized the prices brought at the auctions so that I have a fair idea of value now…Goldfaden is a fabulous and incredible dealer in old baseball records, etc. He does business in a garage with no windows; wooden frame; how he stands it in the summer I don’t know. Overflow is in his house garage, and he leaves his car out."


1957 (very efficient) "Answering your two letters at once. Will watch for the Signals you need; thanks for the good break you gave me on the cards. I have the E210’s in strip cards, really the same or better types, but understand the numbers, players, etc are different, not like E121, where blank backs are just the same." The one page letter has about a dozen more topics in it.


Later 1957 same idea of many to-the-point topics in a one pager "No, never got 8-9-10 of Treasure, presume it folded, our Western Hobby News has apparently collapsed also, as I do not get any more. Do you collect Mayo?"


1958 "Actually not as many runs now as in 1910-1911, palmy days of real b.b. I analyzed all this, want more runs than now, but fewer home runs, more stolen bases, etc. Also I claim Keeler could not make present majors…Big bums like Sauer and Snider are now the stuff."


1959 "Cards received, your valuations just about what I would figure." The rest of the letter is too exhausting to excerpt other than "Barring injuries, a limit of about 14 men should be put on a game, 18 to 25 men in a game is just ridiculous."


1959 Had quite a session with Bray, Burdick, Gelman etc..Jeff B. is a prince, an astonishing one-track mind, on nothing but cards. Rather surprised to find I have more Red Cross and Victory bb than Burdick and Bray together…so (they) do not have everything, by a long shot. No Museum for me ever, shudder to think of pasting the cards down with library paste as they are doing. Burdick will not admit it rots the backs of cards but it does…Actually cards a stepchild at the Museum but B. does not realize it."

1959 "Only take poor on Goodwin and Buchner. So your wife paints too, mine painted and prepared the whole house. She also lays cement, etc. Returning postcards, I only collect inserts."


1961 On Author and Publisher Preston Orem letterhead on this and all subsequent letters "I am not a dealer and never will be although sales are over the $8,000 mark with still quite a few left…Future writing will be highly controversial subjects and expect to publish through a New York firm. The baseball writing interesting training and I enjoyed the research but has no commercial value as very little interest in bb history." His book in entitled "Baseball 1945-1881 from the Newspaper Accounts. A fact filled book, spiced with early day box scores…"


1962? "Will publish no more books although second Baseball book and volume on British Guiana have been set up for lithographing." "List of what I have in Sports cards is enclosed; pretty close to the bottom of the barrel now.: Price list has: Bowman baseball sets, all in "excellent": 1950 ($16), 1951 ($15), 1952 (6 sets) ($12) Topps 1953 (7 sets) ($10), 1954 (8 sets) ($7.50) – (You get the idea, really bottom of the barrel stuff – Vrechek)


March 28, 1963 "I was just about to write to Jeff at the hospital when your letter arrived with the sad news. A really dedicated man if I ever saw one and altruistically, to a harmless, unexploited (or at least, comparatively), type of collecting."


John D. Wagner, Harrisburg, PA

John Wagner sent Carter a box of tobacco cards out of the blue just after WWII. Wagner’s name was among the dozen or so collectors listed in Burdick’s very first issue of Card Collectors Bulletin in the 1930s.Wagner applauded Carter as a veteran and collector. Carter politely declined the cards, returned them, but then traded with Wagner and others for tobacco cards. Wagner was born in 1899 and had been in the Air Force.


Wagner sent Carter a response to a Who’s Who in Card Collecting Questionnaire: "Both of my Wagner T206 cards came from NYC area. The first found among a large lot had from dealer back around 1938 on approval. This is the one Jeff (Burdick) got from me for the museum at no cost but he insisted on the going rate of $25 so after check bouncing back and forth three times at least kept it a long time before finally cashing it. The second one was found among 1,200 BB T206 around 1940-1 in 3rd Avenue Antique Shop. Dealer picked up the lot few days earlier and glad to get rid of them as out of his mainly furniture line he said. Neither of these two cost hardly anything but sure not for sale. Fellow collectors who have seen mine as well as the other five or six known claim it’s the best tho not mint. Set T206 shall always be kept since it has so very many fine memories attached with not only collecting but individual players learned to know later in life – now only Elmer Flick and Freddie Parent in 1st series 150 are still alive and in their 90s. What’s left of the collection is in storage mostly and loaned out. Sold the home some items disappeared among them a box of early guides, a carton of cards – prints and other goodies of special interest including BB and Political Posters. While a patient at Valley Forge Hosp during 1948, Charley Bray purchased my entire non Baseball Collection since that time of course have replaced many of the sets."


Wagner goes on to say: "Never been much of an organized collector – duplicates passed on as one of a kind enough. Completing sets never tried too hard. No idea how many once had."


1957 letter to Carter: Wagner is following up with a widow of a collector. "She has an idea its worth lots of money and wanted to take it to NYC to dispose…Wow, what a shock she will get if cards are all common T206."


1958 On the trail of a large accumulation of cards 100 miles away. Owner thought he had some valuable cards and Wagner "would be glad to pay full catalog or better..so feel sure in about a year or so may hear from him." Another antique dealer he found had "several cartons full" of cigarette cards, "but mostly in poor condition. 6 of which did not have so paid $2 for these and few others….he had 50 cents tags on a few 1933-4 cards don’t know where he derived at those figures but just passed on them…Another party…told me she has 26 albums of all kinds of cig. and advertising cards." Wagner went to see her but shop had just closed and had to stay overnight in town. "next day when got to see things the good ones or those she had mentioned were among the missing." Wagner describes several other hunts and near misses he has had in his efforts to round up cards. So it wasn’t by chance that he found the Wagners as earlier described. He was at this a long time and was cheerfully persistent. He collected postcards and other collectibles as well such as coins, war memorabilia, and political items.


1959 "Have found the coin shops have some nice cellophane envelopes just the right size for all small cards."


1967 "Have been doing little in way of collecting the past 10 years..came near selling all my earthy possessions only to snap out of it."  And "It’s the guy that gets there at the right time that get the loot."


Charles Bray, East Bangor, PA

Numerous short notes with month and day but no years on one-half piece of paper along with results of auctions and purchases by Carter in Card Collectors Bulletin. Bray ran the Bulletin after Burdick and charged 15% commission on auctions. Some of the transactions were close to $40 in total! Easily among the biggest numbers I noted in any of the correspondence.


"I mentioned to Orem that I’d see him at convention in 1960 at Los Angeles. He says he hopes to see me before 1960 as that’s a long way off."


Early 1960s? "I don’t look forward going to Florida this year. It’s full of military hardware and well fortified all around the coast. People around Jacksonville have been assigned to shelters."


"Had a quick trip to Buffalo. Brought back a carload of postcards from a Mr. Wheat who was retiring to Florida. Should last me 2 or 3 years."


And "Bought a few things from Orem. He sure knows how to charge." Orem’s "stuff is scarce and seldom seen."


"Haven’t heard from (Gordon B.)Taylor in NYC for some time. He must have found the going rough as he still owes me for some lots purchased. He was very prompt on his payments in the past"


"I have not quit collecting. Have some nice old cards…that were not in the big one (auction). This is amazing to me. There is always something new to collect."


Howard Leheup, Longmeadow, Mass

Many letters on small notepads in pencil, several pages

1958 "Had a nice visit with Bray and Burdick at the museum. But unless Burdick was there I doubt if you could see any cards if you wanted to right now. The only cards ready now are the 19th century cards in 29 albums. It will take Burdick about a year to get the cards in albums. I doubt if he will mount the gum cards. Talk of having them together in a large cabinet." He discusses dealers Rosen and Gordon B. Taylor. Taylor worked for Gordon, got collectors names, and went in business for himself. "Taylor collects himself pretty hard for a dealer." A 6 page letter. Many similar letters, all about cards, buying and trading, who to deal with and who not to.


1958 "Just a report on the Topps BB 1958. I am running into trouble getting some numbers that are cut good. For example #16…there are about 10 numbers that run this way." He is still working on those Diamond Star high numbers.


1963 Howard writes to Carter shortly after Burdick’s death in 1963 that he "Was sure surprised and sorry to hear your news about Jeff passing away. I visited him once in Syracuse and twice in New York. As I wrote Buck Barker, if Orem had Jeff’s collection he would have a small fortune. I knew he had arthritis, but did not know he was near death. His death will be a tough blow to the card hobby." Later in 1963 he writes "I bought 9 boxes of Topps BB 1963. So I ended up with 1 to 576 only short #513 and 520. I picked those two cards up from another collector so I am all set on the 1963 series. When I finished up I had 402 different 1963 dups. I sold those to John Wagner for $3 and postage. So I have a pretty nice set of Topps BB 1963 576 cards that cost me $4.65. He lists the collectors that he has swapped with: Brandt, Paul, Decker, Bill White, Gene DeNardo (got all he had), Ben Cook, Buck Barker, Jake Wise, Dale Low, Bob Minor, Harry Kenworthy and adds he can’t make contact with Paul Mosser anymore.


Carter wrote a hobby obituary on Leheup in Sport Collectors News March, 1975: "Howard E. "Slim" Leheup, 74 "Howard….. (had) his own ideas of fairness, honesty and courtesy for in any deal with Howard, he always insisted that you get the better of the transaction…I don’t know when I first began writing to Howard as the earliest correspondence in my file is 1953, but I would guess it was back in the days before WWII. I believe Howard once mentioned that he collected the white bordered and gold bordered cigarette cards as a kid." He was a general collector who decided to concentrate eventually on sport cards. He bought cards from dealers in New York and resold them to cover costs but kept the best centered, mint cards. "Gradually…shifted his interests to English coins." He only had cards from 2 sets left by 1973 518 of the T206s and 150 Murad College Seals. Leheup was 6’5" perhaps, huge hands, a sense of humor and friendly smile. He visited with Carters numerous times over 35 years.


Paul Mosser, Detroit, MI

1949 "Yes I recall that we had some transactions back in 1946. At the time you had no duplicates that I needed…I believe I gave you a list of baseball sets in which I still needed a lot of material including green bordered Red Suns…and asked you to let me know whenever you received any duplicate material. Months went by and in one of the issues of the Bulletin I noted you ad listing material you had for trading. Lo and behold listed in there was a green bordered Red Sun. Imagine my disappointment. So I just figured what’s the use. Perhaps you figured because you paid cash you had no further responsibility. I believe that if I sell someone some of his card wants he should make an effort to reciprocate. If he’s not able at the time then later on when he does receive some material the other fellow can use….I find that I sold you $10.23 more than you sold me. That seemed pretty well one sided so naturally I didn’t pay anymore attention to your want lists."


March 1954:  Mosser picks up where he left off in 1949 "Perhaps I did not explain the situation to you very clearly in my previous letter "reminding Carter that he has sold him $1.95 more stuff than Carter has sold him so that Carter needs to sell him some more stuff. However Mosser has gone loosey-goosey on the strict accounting by allowing Carter to buy "without obligation on the buyer’s part" certain 19th Century cards, T25s, T129s and issues since 1948.He finishes with "Well I hope I’ve made the situation clear."


March 1956: "Dear Mr. Carter"….What follows is a very technical description of differences in names, positions, and teams involving the Cracker Jacks Series of 144 and 172. Mosser is helping Carter with a checklist intended for the American Card Catalog.


November 1956: "Dear Lionel….Very glad to hear from you." He apologizes for the delay in writing. "Some collectors can’t stand for such delays and when you do get around to writing you find you are on the black list." He then continues the findings he’s made on the Cracker Jack check list.


February 1957 "Dear Lionel….Many thanks for those 2 E cards and I’m enclosing 60 cents in payment – some stamps left over from the Christmas mail….With Best regards, Paul"


January 1961  Mosser has made 4 trips to Los Angeles which average 2,550 miles. He keeps a daily log "of each trip we’ve ever taken…Each day’s account covers one page." Mosser is in his early 60s. The letter goes to 4 pages of detail regarding traveling without a word about cards. "Happy traveling, Paul."


Frank Nagy, Detroit

No date on letter, but appears to be from the mid-1950s: "I am a new collector of all types of sport cards. I have most of the recent sets but lack plenty of the older cards. I really lack cards from bread etc. I saw in one of your ads in the Sport Hobbyist about selling Remar Baseball cards for 10 cents each…." Carters note at bottom states that he sold Nagy 12 Indian Gum cards for 50 cents (in total.) Diamond Stars and Playballs were 25 cents each though


No date, but looks like it may be 1962. Nagy is asking Carter to write for the publication he and Charles Brooks have worked on the "Sport Hobbyist." "Since I wrote last to you I have completed my T206 including Plank and Wagner and with it I am like a kid with a new toy."


No date perhaps 1966 "I went to Phila once and visited Walt Corson and ended up buying his complete collection as you know. Last week I received a letter from his wife letting me know that Walt died on April 9th. Its been only about 2 weeks before that, that I bought all of Walt’s Reach and Spaulding Guides."


No date: Offers to help Carter organize a convention of card collectors.


Ray Hess, Altendena, CA

1954 "One reason I have so very few cards is that they don’t have many sets out this way like they do where you are."

1956 Now in  Loneport, NJ

"Went up to Phila last Sunday and I’m sorry to say I didn’t contact either Jones or DeNardo. I only spent about 5 hours there and most of it was taken up with my folks…A funny thing happened when I was there. I though I might have some old cards lying around somewhere and sure enough I went through the cellar and found some. Some I remember you sending me,,..and the others I picked up around 1935 or so, any way I am going through them and will send you the dupes."

1976 from Palmdale, CA

"Many a time I thought of just giving up on the whole thing and sell out but …since going to the big convention in Detroit have run in to many great people plus my love for the collection that I do have has made me think twice. Of course getting over to Frank Nagy’s house this past summer just made my whole trip."


Ed Curtis, Winona, MN

1960 "Collecting is a lot of fun – all types of hobbies. In my opinion they’re all equal as far as interest value goes. Each has its easy items, hard ones, and near impossible ones and these elements don’t change either regardless if there’s a million people or only 100 collecting one type of hobby."


Mike Andersen, Lexington, KY

Early 60s? "Do you have an extra one of Williams in the ’54 set? I consider this their biggest goof, since it had no rhyme or reason behind it…Down here we had nothing but Piersalls. Only one Williams in the whole town."


Bob Schwartz, Philadelphia, PA

Undated "Yes, the Card Collector caters mostly to the younger set, Sports Gazette is a rather sloppy job, and Sports Hobbyist NEVER comes out on time, BUT you forgot to mention just one thing. What would happen to our hobby if these sloppy, late card papers never came out at all?"


Allan Larson, Shelby, Montana

1960 "As far as I know I am the only collector in Montana."


Fred Greguras, Omaha, NE

1960, Fred is editor of the "Sport Collector" and writes "We will give you 5$ and a 1 year subscription if you will write 6 articles for us. 1 for each issue. John Sullivan is one of the other writers."


Paul Dykes, Hopkinsville, KY

1962 Sends a Zeenut to complete a trade with Carter that he had forgotten to even out in about 1954.


Alf Yates, Southampton, England

1964 "I have been a swapper of cigarette cards for …60 years…I have not a single American card amongst my duplicates, but I have stacks of sets and odd cards issued in Britain and South Africa."


Bill Mastro, Bernardsville, NJ

Undated 1967? Mastro orders $21.18 worth of cards from Carter – one of the bigger transactions I saw.


Bill Haber, Brooklyn, NY

1976 "As you know Jake Wise had 125 different V355s in his collection, and I liked these so much I decided to keep them for myself rather than sell them as I did so many other of Jake’s items. Shortly after acquiring Jake’s V355s I was able to obtain one additional card with 9 more to go. That’s the way is stood for better than 2 years. Within the past 2 months I’ve acquired f more. Only 4 to go. I gear myself toward completion. If I feel I have little or no chance to complete a set, I won’t bother starting on it."


Gordon Williams, San Diego, CA

1976 Keeps trading despite leg amputation. "Every adult collector in San Diego came to the hospital."

Many letters from Williams regarding trading


Dan Even, postcard collecting guru

1981 writes complementing Carter on an article, "Made me recall my first collecting experiences, and they were all pleasant ones, better than some I have with so-called collectors today, who are more profiteers and hoarders. The newest trend seems to be buying up young "stars" in hopes of capitalizing on their fame at a later date. We’re creating mini stockbrokers out there….If I don’t like the treatment I get from a collector or a company, I simply don’t deal with them again.

Dan wrote in 1961, Dubuque, Iowa, for copies of Carter’s Card Collectors Bulletins.


Gavin Riley, in response to an editorial by Carter

1980 "I designated Los Angeles as the site of the First National Convention because the time for such an event is long overdue and nothing is ever accomplished by sitting around on one’s duff waiting for some form of spontaneous combustion. Indeed as we look back over our hobby’s past, every major step forward has been taken by individuals who saw a need and just did it. Jeff Burdick was not authorized to write any book on the hobby and no one gave him the right to use such a grandiose title as American Card Catalog. The same held for Goodwin Goldfaden when he started the first sports memorabilia store or Sam Rosen with the first mail order business or Charles Bray and Burdick with their bi-monthly auctions, or more recently Jim Nowell’s first convention and Jim Beckett’s price guide."


Vic Witte

1981 "You were among the first dozen ball card collectors – I was in the first 50, I’d guess. Like most of us pioneers I am now pretty much on the sideline."


Dan Jaskula

1980 Looking for the National Chicle set "…have come near to memorizing every player who is in the set….It is the one that has elusive qualities.."

1981 "When I hear from the great ones like yourself, I feel I have finally arrived."


Danny Shamer

1981 "You inspired me to stay in the hobby. I became very disenchanted with the sports collecting community three or four years ago; I grew tired of collectors who never answered letters, wrote scribbling messages on torn sheets of paper, or received so much mail that they couldn’t remember one collector from another. I also was sick of the money-hungry dealers, the outrageous prices, the hording of material."


Bob Solon, Oak Park, IL

1984 "I have very few regrets about selling my collection – the only resentment I have is that except for you and 2 or 3 other folks who were "old timers" not one of the collectors who bought priceless? stuff from me has shown the least bit of customer loyalty."


Edward GoldenCarter’s first trading buddy from 1936.

1958 "I would like to go visiting card collecting friends – Carter, Leheup, Bray, Burdick, Wagner, Corson for a start, but I keep putting it off like answering your letters."


1981 Golden at age 80 writes that "his swapping days are over, but I do buy packets of 1981 cards when I visit the stationery store." "Maybe I have a Mantle." "Recently fell down in the street (sober) and cracked my hip – they put a pin in it and I’m as good as new." Then he gave his predictions for the upcoming baseball season races.


Let’s hear from Lionel Carter


What you haven’t read are letters from Carter. Unfortunately his recipients probably weren’t the archivists that Carter was. Lionel shared with me some of his writings.


Written June 1991: After describing the DeLongs in Colfax and the card games with baseball cards, Carter writes: "In 1938 I wrote the first baseball card article that was ever published in the general hobby section of the Kaw Chief Stamp Journal out of Lawrence, Kansas. This came to the attention of Edward Golden in Noroton Heights, Connecticut who wrote me and told me that a Jefferson Burdick of Syracuse, New York was putting out a card magazine. I wrote to Jeff, and a whole new world of card collecting opened up to me! Long before this everyone in Colfax had given up card collecting except me and my younger brother, who was only a lukewarm collector. What people don’t realize was that in the early days of the 1930’s, people didn’t just collect sports cards, but most serious collectors collected the various tobacco issues of presidents, Indians, trains, kings and queens, military uniforms etc. and  looked down on sports cards with disdain. In fact, when Burdick decided to put out the first American Card Catalog he came to see me in Chicago as he regarded me as a ‘sports card expert’!"


He describes the "junky 1941 Goudey set" and by the 40s Charles Bray was running card auctions in the Bulletin. "When I returned to the states I would bid on sets of cigarette cards…won a set of mint T201s with a bid of $5." (The double folders run about $5,500 in ex-mint today. However, using the CPI and putting ourselves back in time, $5 in 1945 for cards issued in 1911 would be the equivalent of spending $50 today for a set of cards from 1969. Still a pretty good deal – Vrechek)  "After being discharged in 1945, I would bid on sets of tobacco cards, compare the condition of the cards in my purchase with those in my collection, then put the worst copies back in the next sale. Often I’d sell them for more than I paid for my set! It was while doing this that I chanced upon a card of the ever rare ‘Plank, Phila. Americans.’I did lots of swapping. I was constantly mailing small packages of cards to other collectors, particularly with Eddie Golden and Harry Lilien

 in New York City. I’d mail cards to Harry every week and to Eddie every other week, and we’d stuff our letters and packages with clippings from local papers…Sometimes a collector would give up and leave the hobby and sell his cards, and I made some terrific purchases that way."


Other items from Carter: "Most kids preferred the Goudey cards so that I ended up with several cigar boxes of DeLong which no one liked (Traded them off for cards I didn’t have later.)…But it’s a lonely hobby when you are the only one in it, and the only "dealers" were the candy store and drug store proprietors" Upon finding out about Burdick: "Burdick’s paper was a mimeographed paper of 5 or 6 sheets on which he listed card sets, collecting news, and names of collectors who ‘found’ him. Of the latter I was the 35th collector to contact him. Today to my knowledge only John D. Wagner and I survive…In June 1949 Burdick turned the Bulletin over to Charles Bray, who had come upon the collecting scene in April, 1944 in handling the auction of the collection of Alfred O. Philipp and the Bray Mail Auction became a regular feature of the Bulletin…Collecting cards in those days was really fun, the cards weren’t worth much, so no one worried about the value, it was just a swap of card for card ordinarily.. or it was until Topps and Bowman cards started coming out in the early 1950s and the younger collectors wanted to swap those cards for an equal number of cards issued in the 1930s. No way!"


"In 1946..finally met my first collector face to face: Larry Brandt..We’d buy several boxes of each series as it was offered in the stores then we’d open all the individual packages (one card to one stick of gum for 1 cent in those days), heap the cards on the floor in a big pile and throw the wrappers and gum down the incinerator. We’d flip a coin to see who got to pick the first card, then we’d each pick a card in turn, selecting not the star players but the best centered cards regardless of the player."


"Collectors were known as ‘hard to swap with’ or ‘easy to swap with.’ One of my favorite swappers was ‘Buck’ Barker of St. Louis, who was a real character and one of the best liked collectors. Buck would mail cards to me from my want list and I’d try to locate cards from his want list from other collectors’ duplicate lists, being careful not to add the cards he sent to my collection until we had agreed upon a swap to him in return. Invariably I would finally give up and send the cards he had sent me back to him, bringing my indebtedness to him down to zero for a few months until he came up with some more cards I needed….Buck would write all over the backs of his cards, even change the team names on the front of the cards…He was always changing his collection around by teams…came to Chicago and swapped. I gave Buck a list of second hand book stores…Buck went downtown and came back that evening with stacks of rare candy and gum cards of the period between 1910-1915!"




I’d guess that what I have included in these articles is less than 2% of everything in the 7 inch stack of correspondence. I’ve tried to be representative while covering certain "legends" as thoroughly as possible. Until the last note in 1981 from Ed Golden ("Maybe I have a Mantle.") there has been no mention of star cards. There has been no mention of rookie cards. I never saw an entire transaction over $50. I never saw a card priced at more than a few dollars. Most trades or sales were for less than a few dollars. No one was looking for an autographed anything. I never saw a letter that came off a computer. I never saw an envelope with more than 13 cents postage.


Letters came from Australia, England, California, Maine and across town from Carter. Writers were very young and very old; some were particular; others not. Some wrote just once; several sent numerous letters over many years. At least one had been in jail, one drank too much, another was the Chicago Tribune’s nightlife columnist, and one I didn’t include was from a priest in Nebraska. Some collectors were also dealers. Most writers had what would be considered significant collections in today’s hobby. Most were knowledgeable about the card issues that they were collecting and used the American Card Catalog terminology.


I would say the best writers I came across were Jefferson Burdick and Lionel Carter, but there were words of wisdom from many. My thanks to Lionel Carter for hanging on to this 7 inch pile of paper.








George Vrechek can be contacted at vrechek@ameritech.net

Lionel Carter died in 2008. A big OBC thank you to Sports Collectors Digest (SCD) for allowing us to reprint George's article here on the OBC site and to the late Lionel Carter for making this information available!

OBC - Old Baseball Cards


                  The following article was published in 7 installments in 2004 and 2005 by Sports Collectors Digest and is reprinted here with their permission. A condensed version appeared in the inaugural edition of Old Cardboard Magazine in 2004


The 1930s



By George Vrechek, OBC Member


I have found that collectors enjoy the nostalgia-clouded recollections of their youth and don’t even mind going back to the nostalgia-clouded recollections of someone else’s youth. When most of us got interested in card collecting as a hobby we were fortunate to have checklists, price guides, auctions, dealers, stores and shows to choose from as to how we increased our collections and our knowledge of cards. But what did collectors do in, say, the 1910s or 1930s? I actually don’t have much of an idea of what they did in the 1910s, although that seems like a worthy question for a future endeavor. Fortunately I do have some information as to what went on in the 1930s that helped organize collectors’ efforts.


Jefferson Burdick

Any reporting of early collecting has to mention Jefferson Burdick, called the father of card collecting. Burdick (1900-1963) published, collected, organized, donated and researched, all in the field of collected cards. Burdick was a 1922 graduate of Syracuse University who amassed a collection of over 300,000 cards that he donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He spent nearly 30 years writing about card collecting and developed the system of card classifications known today. However Burdick has to be understood as being one of the many dedicated collectors who were active in the 1930s. To get a sense of how long people have been enthused about collecting you could probably start with Neanderthal man. However the Neanderthals didn’t publish much so I will jump to the 1930s and look at Hobbies Magazine.  Hobbies advertised themselves as the magazine for collectors. It was a consolidation of the following previously independent endeavors: Sports and Hobbies, Philatelic West, Hobby News, Collector’s World, Post Card World, Hobby World, The Stamp Collector’s Magazine and about a dozen other publications. Otto C. Lightner of Chicago was the editor. (Lightner was called the father of the antique show.) For example the December 1932 issue has some 150 pages, professionally typeset, with numerous illustrations, ads and articles. Subjects covered included stamps (44 pages), coins (8 pages) but also rocks, minerals, Indian relics, razors, cameos, books, porcelain, moustache cups, earrings, firearms, match boxes. You name it. Just don’t name baseball cards because there weren’t any articles on baseball cards – until December 1935. Subscriber Jefferson Burdick, age 35, must have been tired of reading about all those silly other hobbies with no one really getting into cards and contacted the editor. In December 1935 J.R. Burdick has an article near the back of the magazine titled "Cigarette Cards." (In Burdick’s The American Card Catalog he mentions cataloging cards in a short magazine article in 1936. I guessed that it was Hobbies Magazine but was surprised to find his first article in 1935. In the interests of full disclosure, there was a brief article in the December,1932  Hobbies written perhaps by the editor. The article reports the increase in popularity of collecting cigarette cards as reported by a London dealer, probably The London Cigarette Card Co. which advertised on the same page.)


December 1935 Hobbies Article

Burdick’s published writings always impressed me as very efficient. He may have been encouraged in this by Hobbies Magazine. It appeared that the editor allowed each writer only so much space. Stamps, coins, rocks and the like all had their assigned spaces. Cigarette cards as a collectible was a new miscellaneous category near the back of the book with a little under two pages available to Burdick. He thanked Hobbies for their kindness and then used the space given him to the fullest. Burdick opens with "At one time these interesting cards were quite extensively collected and attic searches would probably reveal many boxes laid away and forgotten. There are yet, too, some active collectors." You can quickly tell that Burdick is one of them in that he gives a brief outline of the tobacco manufacturers and the cards they produced – when they felt like producing them. He describes the tobacco cards from the 1880s to the 1910s, calling them "neglected" by 1935. He divides the cards between the pre-1900 "old style" of cards on thicker stock, sometimes being actual photographs versus the "new style" cards printed on thinner stock. Burdick mentions that he has seen the catalogs and price guides on tobacco cards from England where the "hobby is quite flourishing." Burdick wants to see the same enthusiasm and organization in the U.S.


Burdick covers albums, silks, leathers, flannels and the coupons needed to obtain gifts. There is one small illustration: a buffalo card. The closest he comes to baseball is mentioning athletes on cards. He finishes by giving complete checklists for two 50-card sets: Indian Life in the ‘60s (as in 1860s) and the Lighthouse Series both by Hassan. Readers are encouraged to contact Burdick at 417 S. Crouse Ave, Syracuse.


Hobbies January 1936

Burdick is given one page in January and uses it to list 189 sets from Allen & Ginter, Duke and Sons, Goodwin, Kinney and others. Buried in the listing which includes "Prize and Game Chickens" and "Histories of Poor Boys Who Became Rich" is the only pure baseball set: the "Goodwin & Co. baseball player photos." Burdick again encourages readers to write him or better yet to include a sample card of other issues that "will be returned promptly." Burdick sums up with: "The bare listing of the sets gives but a faint idea of the beauty and interest of these old sets. They rank favorably with other illustrations and prints of the period which are so cherished. They represent a cross section of the art, styles, humor, sports, and other activities of the Gay Nineties and the preceding decade. Lillian Russell was in her glory, baseball players wore big mustaches, and prize fighters were tough guys who were going good at the end of thirty rounds. Some of our Western states were still Territories and a lot of foreign nations of the day have passed out of existence. We wonder if another fifty years will show such great changes."


Hobbies March 1936

Burdick took February off and comes back with one page in March 1936. He thanks the many readers who contacted him with a renewed interest in collecting cards. Burdick estimates that there were probably 20,000 cigarette cards that had been issued. He then continues his cataloging ways by listing large-sized cards as Sets A through DD, medium-sized cards as Am through Rm, small cards as As through Ts as well as many other sets. Burdick mentions that the "new" cards seem more attractive but the old designs intrigue many "perhaps by the somewhat revealing ‘leg shows’ of the old actress cards." The listings include Set X Baseball folders triple Hassan, set Y Baseball folders double (50) Fatima, Set Z Baseball team (photos) Fatima, Set Ps Baseball players (400) gold framed cards, Set Qs Baseball Champions 1910 Fireside, Set Rs Baseball players (brown background), Set Ss Baseball Players (white framed cards), and Set Ts Domino Baseball Discs Sweet Caporal.


The Kaw Chief Stamp Journal Articles of Lionel Carter

No one else seems to have written about the U.S. card collecting hobby at the time other than eighteen year old G. Lionel Carter of Colfax, Illinois. Carter subscribed to the Kaw Chief Stamp Journal, a weekly newsletter for stamp collectors that set subscribers back 25 cents – per year! Carter was a stamp collector first but got very interested in baseball cards when the DeLongs made their appearance in Colfax in 1933. Carter asked the Kaw Chief editor if he could do a column on baseball card collecting in the general hobby section of the publication. (Kaw, Kanza or Kansas was an Indian tribe originally on the plains but eventually moved to Oklahoma in 1873. The last pure-blooded Kaw died in 2000. Check out an interesting website on the Kaw at – http://www.rootsweb.com/~itkaw/KanzaNation.html, but I digress considerably.) While Hobbies Magazines have been retained or transferred to microfilm by libraries and even show up fairly regularly on ebay, the Kaw Chief Stamp Journal is much harder to find. I only found that it is in libraries at Yale, Brown, the University of Illinois and the Smithsonian.  The University of Illinois provided copies of two articles by Carter.


First Article on Baseball Cards?

Carter’s first column appeared in the Kaw Chief Stamp Journal of December 2, 1936. Burdick’s articles mention baseball perhaps 5% of the time. Carter mentions baseball 100%. From what I found this article by Carter appears to be the very first published article written exclusively about baseball cards. The title is "The Baseball Card Collector." Carter starts with: "Greetings, baseball card collectors, how’s the ole collection coming? The purpose of this first column is…to ‘get acquainted’ with a new hobby – baseball card collecting. Perhaps it would be the right thing to state the different types and publishers of the cards we collect: Leading the list is the series of 240 Big League Cards published in 1933 by the Goudey Gum Co. of Boston. This set shows a colored picture of the baseball star while his life history is typed on the back. In the 1934 series, these histories were written by Lou Gehrig and Chuck Klein." (It did say that right on the cards.) Carter describes the Batter-Ups, DeLongs, York Caramels Series of 60 and mentions corresponding with collectors in Connecticut and Georgia. "A Georgia collector recently notified me of an old type in which players are printed four to a large sheet and in yellow, red and green colors. Please notify the writer if you know of any other types, but whether you have a new series to report or not, write to this column if you are interested in baseball card collecting. Then if there are enough collectors, I’ll organize a club."


In the second article in February 1937, Carter writes: "Since the last column, several bits of very interesting information and important news have reached us…. Edward Golden of Noroton Heights, Conn. and Joe Barwicki of Youngstown, Ohio have both notified this column that the Batter Up series of cards has been extended from No. 80 to No. 180…. Mr. Golden also reports that a new set of Big League Cards (presumably the 1936 edition) are now on sale in Connecticut. These new cards are not numbered and might be classed as ‘photo cards’ due to their resemblance to the 1936 photographs." Carter lists many of the players on the sets and then makes a pitch to issuers Goudey, National Chicle, DeLong and York Caramel to consider adding new stars to their sets such as "Yankee slugger Joe DiMaggio or the strike out king of the A.L. Bob Feller. Let’s all hope for a bigger and better 1937 for baseball card collectors." Carter is searching for other collectors interested in baseball cards but doesn’t find much of an audience in a stamp magazine. He has found maybe a dozen baseball card issues from his perch in central Illinois. He has yet to see a tobacco card or hear of Jefferson Burdick, but it’s not much longer before he finds a much wider collecting world.


Card Collectors Bulletin Issues 1 Through 4 in 1937

A year after the first Hobbies Magazine article Burdick began publishing himself with the Card Collectors Bulletin beginning with a two-page issue mimeographed on one side dated January 1, 1937. In his first Bulletin he mentions that the interest in his Hobbies articles "shows that the hobby has real possibilities for development." He writes that he is expecting to resume a small column in the magazine and the "cooperation of all collectors is asked in order to make it permanent. These Bulletins will supplement the magazine notes and will furnish the needed technical details while leaving historical material etc. to the magazine." He lists 15 known collectors, describes his opinions on the prices of tobacco cards (two cents each), and describes what will be in future issues for those interested in sending 25 cents for the next three issues. He mails the first issue to "over 55 names on my list and to others."


Burdick continues with 4 or 5 page issues from February to April 1937, listing sets, prices, adding collectors’ names and writing about the hobby. Not surprisingly, for those familiar with Burdick, each of the issues came out exactly when he planned to the 23 paid subscribers. Burdick starts by giving even the subscribers numbers with  #23 being a Noyes Huston of Chicago. At 25 cents each Burdick was already grossing about $5.75 for the year’s effort!



One of the important features in these early issues was including prices for cards in a set. In Issue #1 Burdick writes:

"The question of values is one on which there has heretofore been little attempt at agreement. For the good of the Hobby some price schedule should be worked out. The following suggestions are my personal ideas formed after considerable dealings and correspondence with dealers and collectors throughout the country. It should be remembered that they are suggestions only, and I wish to hear opinions all for the purpose of stating more definite prices in set listings of future Bulletins.


I am told that certain cards have changed hands at from 50 cents to $1.00 each. I doubt the justification of such prices and I think it ridiculous to expect the Hobby to thrive with such ideas in effect. Cards at the present time are distinctly a minor hobby….Supply and demand varies for different sets, but I would place a basic catalogue price of TWO CENTS each for want list and approval purposes and as a basis for trading. There are exceptions in both directions. This price is for cards in FINE UNDAMAGED CONDITION. Many cards are quite common are usually found in worn condition and so are not worth two cents unless perfect." (Hence the apparent origin of the expression "I wouldn’t give you 2 cents for that….bent up old 1933 Goudey Ruth.")


In issue #2 Burdick lists about 100 sets with prices per card as a "checklist of tobacco cards issued since 1900." He adds "50 copies of this Bulletin will be printed. About half will be sent out immediately and half reserved for future orders." As to advertising he writes: "A collector asks to purchase space in the next Bulletin in which to list his individual wants. There is no objection to this but, it will be necessary to charge two cents per line (6 lines per inch) to cover the additional cost." (This may have been a little rich or more probably Burdick didn’t have the room in that the first small ad didn’t appear in the Bulletin until 2½ years later.)  He then lists the sets. Set #521 is called "Baseball Series (players) white borders, Sweet Cap; Cycle; Piedmont; Old Mill; Soverign; Obak, etc Same designs on baseball Caramel cards. Several hundred designs known…   .01" (As in 1 cent each.) The #520 gold borders run the same. The 16 large Fatima team photos are the priciest cards listed at 10 cents each. They list at about $8,000 each today. If these cards continue to escalate at the same rate in the future, Fatima team photos will book for about $640 million each by 2071. Burdick’s next two issues continue the listings with pre 1900 tobacco cards. The sports cards in all cases are a small fraction of the listings but the Old Judge’s and Leading Baseball Players hang in there with the best of the other sets such as Feminine Occupations, Dogs of the World, Ballet Queens and Homes of the Poets at two and three cents each. (It is quite painful to read this stuff!)


In Issue #4 of April 1937 Burdick writes: "No plans for additional bulletins have been made at this time. It is quite probable that later on sufficient material will be gathered for other issues. If, and when, such issues are ready all who receive this Bulletin shall be notified….The card column in Hobbies Magazine is yet to begin, but it is hoped that room may be found soon."


Articles Resume in Hobbies in 1937

The card column Burdick referred to finally appeared as "Card Collecting" in Hobbies in May 1937, a year after his last article. Burdick writes about the ‘80’s – the 1880’s. Similar to today’s insert cards, someone had the idea of inserting a $5 gold coin in a very small percentage of cigarette packages. Soon every package of tobacco had card inserts with the practice peaking in 1890. However inserts disappeared as quickly as they had arrived as competition relaxed.


Burdick continues his history with an article in August 1937 on how inserts reappeared by 1909. Turkish tobaccos were the fad and Burdick writes: "the important thing to us is that the early importers of Turkish tobaccos were small independent concerns. To increase popularity of their new brands they turned to inserts." Burdick explains why the inserts disappeared for the second time in 1915. Given the small space available to him Burdick can’t really write much about individual cards let alone sets.


The last article I found in the 1930s (before getting bleary-eyed from reviewing microfilm) was "Card Collecting" in September 1937. Burdick’s subject this time is variations: "Nothing seems to intrigue a collector so much as a mistake….In the small baseball cards with team symbol in top left corner we find Dougherty of the Chicago White Sox but the sox are red, like the rest of the background and not white. In the extra large cards we find Doolan of the Phillies with the name spelled Doolin. Both these errors were corrected." We find Burdick was into the details and sounds like he is interested in baseball although he spends an equal amount of space on variations involving cowboys, aviators, and prize fighters. Burdick writes: "For extreme specialists, and there are such, every minute difference such as color of ink, and factory number, make a new variety. In some sets there is seemingly no end for such a collection…Collectors who love to search for mistakes and varieties will be well pleased with card collecting. There is plenty of proof that we all make mistakes or at least change our minds."


Hobby Shows With Baths

Hobbies Magazine was crammed with information on many hobbies although none that I saw with the detail presented by Burdick. Collectors had the opportunity to entertain themselves in the middle of the depression at many antique and hobby shows across the country. The Hotel Sherman in Chicago advertised in the magazine that the Chicago Hobby Show had again selected the hotel as their headquarters for a one-week show. Why not? They advertised 1,700 rooms and 1,700 baths from $2.50. The Carter Hotel in Cleveland hosted a one-week hobby show the next week – and matched the $2.50 per day rate. Who would pay say $17.50 for a "white framed" Wagner if you could stay the week in Cleveland for the same? 


While Burdick’s first column in Hobbies ran nearly two pages with an illustration, the last three articles in 1937 were still buried in the back of the magazine and were about one-third of a page each with no illustrations. Apparently Hobbies didn’t give Burdick a permanent column or perhaps Burdick felt that the space allowed would never be adequate. Burdick’s column does not appear in Hobbies after September 1937.


The Bulletin Resumes With Issues 5 Through 8 in 1938

As he had advised his Card Collectors Bulletin readership of perhaps 27 subscribers, Burdick didn’t return with a fifth issue until nearly a year later. In Bulletin 5 of March 1938 Burdick reported "a satisfactory advance in card collecting can be reported – not a boom but a slow and steady growth. Several collectors have gone after cards via advertising and many fine collections are being built. Most collectors are finding the Bulletin prices to be a fair indication of values for sale or exchange." He makes no mention of Hobbies Magazine. Subscriber #30 is Howard Myers who shortly thereafter furnishes a surprisingly complete checklist of T206s. The next issues in 1938 are all five-pages increasingly jammed with detail on card sets and prices.


Carter Finds Burdick

Issue 6 of June 1938 welcomes three new subscribers: Jack Holland of Brooklyn, Harry Lilien of New York City and Lionel Carter of Colfax, Illinois who is listed as a "baseball card specialist." Carter is the first to be so listed and per Burdick’s numbering system for subscribers/collectors he is #35.


Lionel Carter, now twenty years old, had been searching for other hobbyists. Carter found collector Edward Golden in 1936 and Golden let him know about Jefferson Burdick’s publication. Carter was delighted in finding Burdick and a handful of other subscribers including future trading buddies Harry Lilien and John Wagner. Carter is most likely the only subscriber from the 1930s still alive today. Carter quickly subscribed to the Bulletin and obtained the five prior issues, the very issues on durable 8½ by 11 yellowish paper that I have read to research this article. Carter discontinued his efforts on the Kaw Chief Stamp Journal and began contributing information to Burdick’s Card Collectors Bulletin. (Carter struck out on his own with a small publication in 1940. He got out four issues before being called off to World War II.)


Card Collectors Bulletin Continues

Issues 6 through 8 from June to November 1938 show the gradual evolution in Burdick’s enthusiasm for the hobby. No one else seems to have written a word of text in any of these first eight Bulletins. Early on he writes that he has done about all he intended to by listing the tobacco inserts, then he writes that no other card listings are contemplated except those of candy and gum cards (including those of course issued with ice cream, cracker jack, etc.) You can tell he is addicted. Carter zeroes in on baseball, Burdick expands. Burdick lists more tobacco cards, corrects previous listings, lists coffee cards, soda cards and bread issues. He even lists all the other card types that he won’t "be listing" such as old trade merchandising cards, Bible cards, playing cards, foreign cards, etc. (except he winds up listing Canadian issues anyway). While Burdick doesn’t have room to list individual cards in the Bulletins, you are encouraged to write him to borrow his individual card listings for a short time. 


Burdick gives three tips for happy collecting:

  1. "Be honest – it is the foundation of everything including collecting.
  2. Be prompt – make full returns in 10 days, or less if possible.
  3. Be fair – in a swap be sure you have enough of the right material – and remember in any real deal – both sides must be satisfied."


Burdick reports on prices. "It has been noted by several that the Bulletin prices need revision of some sort. This is quite natural as information on supply and demand is being accumulated continuously." He mentions the idea of prices for individual cards desired from want lists versus buying a dozen or more cards in bulk. He mentions discounts for poorer conditioned cards. If several cards are needed he recommends buying lots. If a few cards are needed, the want list or approval method is best. "It is hoped that a permanent ‘United States Card Collectors Catalog’ may be printed at some future time incorporating a new pricing system and furnishing much additional information about the sets….Only a few sets of these Bulletins are now left (subscribers must be up to about 45) and when exhausted must be replaced in some way" (no copy machines at work in 1938). 


Other subjects include listing about 150 recent (since 1930) candy and gum cards, album mounting methods, and the increase in card collecting. "No boom (which is not wanted) but a gradual spread which is absorbing supplies as fast as they are found. Dealers of all kinds are watching closely for card finds."


The United States Card Collectors Bulletin, 1939

The Bulletins stop momentarily after November 1938. Burdick devotes his efforts to producing The United States Card Collectors Bulletin in 1939. This "Bulletin" was professionally typeset and had prices for cards in each of the listed sets. It had 72 pages with 3 punch holes. Future updates and corrections (which turned out to be numerous) could be added to the binder to keep the catalog up to date. The bi-monthly Bulletin returned with the same style of paper (6 inch by 9 inch green paper) so that the issues could be added to the original 72-page production. Burdick mentions feedback he has received on the United States Card Collectors Bulletin in his August 1939 Volume II Number 1 of The Card Collector’s Bulletin (Burdick had been a little loose as to when and where he used the apostrophe). He reported producing 500 copies of which 100 were sent to the initial subscribers. The cost of everything to produce the catalog was about $300. Receipts from purchasers and advertisers were expected to be about the same. When all 500 copies were sold Burdick would break even. The method of describing sets was not the N, E, T and R system that we know. Burdick had categories for tobacco and "candy and gum" and listed sets in each category by numbers getting up to about 709.


The Bi-Monthly Bulletins Begin an Uninterrupted Streak

The six yearly issues of the Bulletin could be ordered for 30 cents per year which was "intended to cover the bare cost of production and postage." Burdick reports each year thereafter that the Bulletin has enjoyed another year of continuous publication. Many of the early Bulletins contain numerous additions and corrections to the 1939 catalog. The reader needs to buy the catalog to keep track of the set numbers that Burdick uses to report changes. He provides checklists of individual cards in a few sets including very recent issues such as the 1936 Goudey game cards. The Diamond Stars are covered as well: "There are but 96 designs as numbers 97-108 repeat various earlier designs. The series was issued in 1934, 1935, and 1936 with players’ statistics revised for each year. A complete collection contains 156 cards."


Other miscellaneous bits of news as you page through Volume II, No. 1 that has grown to 10 pages:


  • "In Europe "Postage Extra" is the established custom. In America we seldom hear it except for parcels to far postage zones. In the East it is common to ask an additional charge for shipments West of the Mississippi."


  • "Present day card issuers in the candy and gum field watch sales closely, and if not satisfactory, a series may be suddenly stopped. A series of cards costs thousands of dollars to produce and must bring the desired results. ‘Horrors of War’ first series of 240 was highly successful but the continuation was stopped with No. 288."


  • "There are seldom remainders of cards. In recent gum cards there are few. Gum, Inc. sold a Collectors Outfit of Nos 1-240 Horrors of War for $1 and Maywood Candy Co. sold Dick Tracy (144) for $1.10. These may still be available. (No, not to you SCD readers! You needed to follow up on this in August 1939.) The writer has a number of Goudey and Nat. Chicle remainders now being sold at a low rate mostly as an accommodation to collectors."


  • "The Bulletin (as in Burdick) has recently acquired its own printing equipment. Any inferior work may be blamed to unfamiliarity of the part of the staff (as in Burdick)."


Volume II, Number 2, October 1939

This is the first Bulletin with anything written by anyone other than Jefferson Burdick and the first issue with any advertising – three ads that took up less than half of one page.


The news continues:

  • "Collectors are asked to report errors and omissions so that they may be noted in subsequent issues. As time goes on it will be necessary to print many incomplete lists as many sets are not now, and may never be completely known."


  • Burdick has the 1936 Goudey puzzle set figured out at 108 cards or maybe 120. At any rate he goes to much greater lengths than most current guides in trying to determine how many front/back/border variations there may be in the set.


  • "Catalog Sales. Three mediums, other than Hobbies (Hobbies Magazine), are now being used for catalog advertising. The widest possible publicity is desired and all are asked for ideas and suggestions."


  • P.M. Nagle of Freeport, NY is the first advertiser in the Bulletin – "a collector of cigarette cards and menus prior to 1892."


An editorial by Donald Van Brakle (subscriber #11) praises Mr. Burdick in "the matter of valuation. In his adoption of one cent as a basic or minimum value he has made a wise choice. While every collector will naturally hold a divergent opinion on certain series, in general I find myself in close accord with his scales of RELATIVE valuations…He has wisely avoided the pitfall (of pricing cards for which some are willing to pay 5 or 10 cents). The law of supply and demand does not function satisfactorily in a field like this where the supply of material new to collectors is scanty and uncertain, the floating supply is exceedingly small and usually taken quickly out of circulation, and demand is satisfied as soon as a few collectors have been supplied…He has been immune to two temptations that might assail a less honest compiler. One is the assumption that certain series of which he has or has seen few subjects have a high value. The other is the deliberate undervaluation of certain items which the compiler needs for his own collection. On both counts Mr. Burdick’s performance is beyond reproach. Mr. Burdick deserves all credit for his pioneering in this field, for his intellectual honesty in his dealings with fellow collectors and in his preparation of the catalog, and for his single-minded devotion to this hobby to the exclusion of personal gain." Mr. Van Brakle had Mr. Burdick pretty well analyzed. (It was nice of Burdick to give him a full page to share his opinion.) His opinion was echoed by many over the next 24 years.


December 1939, Issue No. 3 Closes the 1930s

The final Bulletin of the decade offers an observation by Burdick that the year 1939 "has continued the slow tempo of the past two years in new card issues. Most issues were gum cards and the trend has been to larger sizes. Lionel Carter advertises in this issue looking to fill his wants in Batter-Ups, Big League, Sport Kings and many other sets. The guest editorial is by John D. Wagner, one of the first 14 subscribers to the Bulletin. Again the subject is card valuation and the focus is on the almighty penny. "Cards when bought in large lots of 500 to 1,000 or more should always be had at a fair discount of say a third or half of catalog value at least. One must always figure on numerous duplicates as well as many poor copies…I feel that 1 cent per card is a safe guidepost when dealing in unseen accumulations. It seems to me that the early (prior to 1900) cards should be worth close to list price even in quantities. I would say 1 cent each as a basis for large lots of the 1910 era, 1½ cent for the 1887-1900, and $3 to $7 per 1,000 for the recent gum cards. To those of you in search of cards why not try your local paper. Results may indeed surprise you. (I would have certainly been surprised had I gotten a response to an ad that I was looking to pay ½ cent each for Ruth, Gehrig or any of the other 1933 Goudeys.) Often when the owner is allowed to set the price you may get the cards at considerably less than your own offer might be. Should a hobby magazine be tackled you can rest assured they will cost more than catalog prices. So don’t be surprised to hear from parties who will put a $1 per card tag. I have had several and one with even $2.50 per card. All this means nothing, of course, and we are darn near crazy to fall for this stuff, so these may be eliminated altogether." 


In four years the hobby’s visibility went from the first small article in the back of Hobbies Magazine to a well-written and organized catalog followed by a regularly issued newsletter with prices, ads and editorials. Except for Lionel Carter’s articles there has been nothing written about individual baseball players, let alone other sports. All card set subjects are treated with equal enthusiasm by Burdick and many other early collectors. Prices are escalating, but a dime will buy you most any card you can find. After many years of being "laid away and forgotten" as Burdick wrote in his first Hobbies article, the cards were coming into the light.



The Early 1940s


When we last left our heroes Jefferson Burdick, Lionel Carter and the rest of the card collecting/hobby publication gang in December 1939, Burdick had just completed issue number 3 of the Card Collector’s Bulletin that he founded in 1937. A few other collectors had begun writing for the Bulletin and running small ads. As I read the yellowed pages of the Bulletins from 1940 to 1945 retained by Lionel Carter, I imagined that I would see a disruption in the hobby during World War II due to paper shortages, players as well as collectors going into the service, and the lack of new card issues. Reading the bi-monthly issues I found, although World War II impacted the hobby, life went on and hobbies and sports remained useful diversions. There was a tremendous flow of information among the few active collectors. Articles in the Bulletin were serious, thorough, and accurate. Subjects included scarcities in the T206 set, correspondence from collectors in England, additions to the catalog and research into the earliest tobacco cards. When I found something of interest in the Bulletins I marked it with a yellow sticker. I ran out of yellow stickers. It was much harder to find an article in these early 1940s Bulletins that wasn’t of interest. While there were a few other articles on card collecting, there were no other hobby publications that I found during this period.


 1940 Card Collector’s Bulletins

Burdick begins the decade by inviting his subscribers to allow him to list their names, addresses and a few lines about their collecting interests to publish in the next few issues. There is, however, a one cent charge per listing to help defray additional postage costs – seriously. These guys watched their pennies. Fifty collector listings subsequently appear. The majority are not sports specialists. Instead they are collectors of post cards, greeting cards, British cards, "post cards showing Presbyterian Churches," tea tags, and Americana. Included in the listing are:

  • Charles Bray, Easton, Pa., (future long-time Bulletin editor) dealer and collector of early tobacco cards
  • Jefferson Burdick, Syracuse, N.Y., advertising and inserts of all kinds U.S. and Canada
  • G. Lionel Carter, Colfax, Illinois, specialist baseball cards, photos, pins, etc.
  • Edward Golden, Noroton Heights, Conn., all cards picturing sports desired
  • Noyes Huston, Winnetka, Ill., baseball pioneers, fighters, World War subjects (as in the only World War at the time)
  • Jim Keyes, San Francisco, Calif., all sports cards, programs, photos, magazines, etc.
  • Harry Lilien, New York, N.Y., general collector
  • E.L. Lancaster, Lancaster, Pa., general collector – both cards and silks
  • Howard Myers, Buffalo, N.Y., insert cards, U.S. and British albums, silks, buttons, etc.
  • H. Bruce Spencer, (in an office in Chicago that is about 50 feet away from my current office), playing cards
  • Samuel Tanenbaum, Hartford, Conn., collector tobacco trade adv. cards, non insert
  • John Wagner, Harrisburg, Pa., specializing baseball and military subjects


The Bulletin of the Cartographic Society of Great Britain reports in February 1940 that new issues of cigarette cards are robust, averaging about 80 sets per year. However by the April 1940 issue, Burdick reports: "Due to the paper shortage cigarette cards are being entirely eliminated for the duration of the war." Burdick covers the options for mounting cards. He believes that "some sort of pocket will be developed making it easier to remove cards for reading descriptive matter on the backs."  Subscriber Alfred Phillipp also writes about mounting: "My chief satisfaction in card collecting as a hobby is the pleasure derived from the study and contemplation of these thousands of cards in sets, in subject matter and historical associations, or in the zest of watching the straggling odds eventually grow into complete sets. In other words, I like to look at my cards. So they are arranged permanently for exhibition purposes. I have tried, and discarded, every orthodox arrangement known, and have perfected a method of my own. 13,895 of my cards, all in complete sets, are now mounted on 441 Bristol-board show-cards, mostly with Nu-Ace Junior art corners."


Advertisers include Lionel Carter looking to complete his T206 set, although at the time the set was called the #521 series. Burdick congratulates Carter "on his ‘Carter Council Chamber’ paper. Enterprise like this is good for the hobby." Unfortunately neither Lionel nor I have (yet) been able to locate a copy of his short-lived publication. Burdick "solicits short articles on any card topic…. Literary ability is not essential but the subject should be interesting and helpful to collectors. No payment can be made." Burdick issues subscribers a free 20-page supplement to the 1939 catalog thereby changing it to "a 1940 edition, bringing all listings up to date." Burdick writes: "We have 3 objectives: to make card information available to all collectors – thus making collecting more interesting and a bit more organized; to give dealers the assistance they need to handle cards and cooperate with collectors; to assist card issuers in every possible way. We are making progress in all directions, but it is a bigger job than most realize, and we solicit all, and thank all, for any assistance."


A Battle of Tights and Paintbrushes

Subscriber Harry Lilien reports his research on early tobacco cards and quotes from "George H. Duke/Master Builder by John Wilber Jenkins (G.H.Doran 1927). "Duke began to popularize his cigarettes in 1885 or 1886 by putting photographs of stage celebrities in each package. Then coupons were placed in the packages entitling the holder, for a given number, to a crayon picture of some historical notable…. Later pictures of baseball players, sovereigns, rulers, and flags of all nations were placed in cigarette packs. Boys began to make collections of cigarette pictures, to trade and preserve them, and the craze extended to every town and village…. While Duke sent out sign painters who blazoned the names of his products on walls, barns and billboards, Allen and Ginter stuck to tradition, putting in each package of cigarettes a bright picture of a lady in tights. It was a spectacular fight, a battle of tights and paintbrushes" Duke started manufacturing tobacco products in 1865 and began making cigarettes in 1882 by buying the newly invented cigarette-making machine. Burdick added: "It was hardly correct to imply that nearly all early cards showed actresses. (Certainly none of Burdick’s subscribers professed in their write-ups to have the slightest interest in actresses. They stuck to more wholesome subjects such as post cards showing Presbyterian Churches and tea tags.) One collector who remembers ‘way back when’ thinks A&G Flags of Nations came first. It is more probable that neither A&G nor Duke were the first issuers, and that the honor belongs to some small firm long since forgotten. Definite proof on the matter may never be established, but should be sought for."


Lilien returns with three more articles after finding the trade magazine Tobacco. This journal was sent to retailers and reported card issues, albums, and censorship. Cards designed for the retailers to advertise cigarettes quickly evolved into insert cards put into the packs of 10 cigarettes. Information from 1887 and 1888 issues included: "Portraits of baseball players used to advertise Old Judge cigarettes attract much attention in the midst of the present baseball furor." Lilien deduces that the photos (Old Judge) preceded the colored litho types (A&G). The small colored cards were issued at the same time as albums to hold the cards, but by 1892 were virtually eliminated. "The small flare-up of cards about 1899 were mostly issues with cigars." Tobacco gives the dates of issue of various sets (mostly non-sport) that seemed to come out at a rate on one new set per week in 1888, 1889 and 1890. (Sound familiar?) Censors in Charleston, Chicago, and Atlanta go after the tobacco companies for the use of such cards as "Harry’s Girl," suggestive descriptions, "photos in the semi-nude (actually, all the girls wore tights in those days)," and the like. Tobacco reported "this is a dangerous piece of business." The Atlanta city council passed a strong prohibition against "such obscene, vulgar, or licentious pictures." You would think the baseball themed cards would be safe, but apparently those lewd issuers put together the best of both worlds by depicting actresses or young women who worked at the cigarette factory in tights playing baseball. One set was called the "Black Stocking Nine" and another the "Polka Dot Nine." Wild stuff.




The Bulletins of 1941 and the Possibility of War

Burdick reports that Dixie Lids has a new issue of Defend America series showing various units of the Army and Navy and that in Canada St. Lawrence Starch Co. has a series of hockey stars. "All these current issues should be gotten before becoming obsolete." Good advice. The outbreak of war for the U.S. is still nine months away as Burdick writes: "It is a peculiarity of hobbies that slack conditions are conducive to their growth and vice versa. Right now, with the National Defense Program getting well under way, the usual situation is one of too little spare time. Dozens of letters mention that fact, and it has doubtlessly curtailed nearly all lines of collecting….Thus far we see no changes which will effect the Bulletin as scheduled, except that work on it must be started earlier."


Burdick resists including any personal information in the Bulletin for 20 plus years, but he is suffering from the effects of crippling arthritis and will be classified as a 4-F 41 year-old when the war comes. The 24 year-old Lionel Carter had already been drafted and sent to the 112th Horse Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army. Burdick reports that Carters Council Chamber hobby publication has consequently (as it turns out - permanently) suspended operation. Carter reports "at the end of my year of service, I shall be pleased to hear from all my friends." The year turned into over four years. Burdick later writes that when Carter’s publication resumes the "Bulletin will have outlived its period of usefulness, and growing aged and decrepit, will gladly step aside and pass the torch to younger and more active publication. (The Bulletin kept going another 40 years.) Editor Carter also hopes to establish a real exchange proposition – something vitally needed…. Many times in the past a card club has been proposed but has been tabled due to sheer lack of time."


The April 1941 Bulletin covers three sets of recently discovered mint "Abdul Tobacco" non-sports cards. The backs of the cards include a copyright date of 1881. "The copyright attracts notice as this is 5 or 6 years before such cards are believed to come into use." Burdick investigates and gives several reasons why this issue may be a fake including the observation that they would have failed to comply with the requirements of the copyright law in effect at the time. Although he acknowledges that the 1881 date may have been the date the "Abdul" name was copyrighted and not the date of the card issue. Always the gentleman, Burdick adds: "This represents the charitable viewpoint." Also: "There may have been strong temptation to produce some ‘rare early’ cards." In the process Burdick also writes "nearly all old sets were in series of 50 – that being the number of packs in a carton. Originally a carton contained a full set but that practice was abandoned after awhile."


Burdick reports on using cellophane for mounting cards: "A plan adopted by some is crystal mounts, a prepared cellophane tubing made in various sizes especially for blocks of postage stamps. They fit many sizes of cards and are said to be injurious to paper and printing. Your better cards deserve the cost of much better mounting…. Tests by the National Bureau of Standards show that any type of celluloid or cellophane is harmful for use as protective coverings. However, the best grade of cellulose acetate is recommended and is being used to protect documents in the National Archives…. Still we suggest that collectors test to determine results under varying degrees of heat, moisture, pressure, and to make certain that they obtain the correct grade of material." (Where have we read of these same issues in plastic sheets?)


Wagner on Wagner

The Bulletin has been running Howard Myers’ still accurate 1938 checklist of the "#521 Series" (T206s) and Burdick writes: "The scarcest cards are Plank and Wagner. Amounts of 50 cents and $1.00 are being offered for these. All Southern Leagues are also uncommon and worth 5 cents to 10 cents each according to condition. A few others are also worth premium rates." These prices are a bit academic in that there weren’t a lot of Planks and Wagners to sell – neither Burdick nor Carter had one. I don’t imagine you could have actually picked up the pair for $1.50 anyway in 1941.


Subscriber John P. Wagner reported that on August 12, 1941, the Pittsburgh Pirates played a game in his hometown against the Harrisburg, Pa. Senators and "I had the great pleasure of talking with old Honus Wagner. The lowdown on the cigarette card is that he would not let them put his picture on such cards since he did not think an athlete should smoke. I found the old boy is still pretty active and he gave me his autograph with fancy scrolls and letters due to our name similarity. I am sure glad to get the straight dope on this long unverified statement." John Wagner went on to collect two Honus Wagner cards and gave one of them to Burdick in the 1950s so that it could be added to Burdick’s donation to the Metropolitan Museum. The two Wagners were about the same age at the time, 44. "Old boy" indeed! Burdick added: "It would seem that a few of the cards must have been issued before his edict became known. A second copy was found recently, also three more of Plank, the runner up in the short column. We wonder why the Plank shortage – in a 350 series." Every other page of these Bulletins from the early 1940s seemed to have a golden nugget like this.


Wirt Gammon contributes a newspaper clipping: "Wagner refused $1,000 a week to go in vaudeville with Cobb and Lajoie. ‘I’m no actor.’ John Gruber, late official scorer in Pittsburgh was offered $10 for a picture of Wagner that could be put in cigarette packages. Gruber wrote Wagner, received this reply: ‘Dear John: I don’t want my picture in cigarettes, but I don’t want you to lose $10, so I’m enclosing a check for that sum.’ Gruber framed the check."



The first issue after Pearl Harbor is February 1, 1942. Burdick writes: "WAR. Since our last issue the United States has become engaged in active warfare and, without doubt, there will be numerous resulting effects on even such a minor activity as our card collecting hobby. More collectors will be entering the Services, and other like the writer, will be putting increased time into defense production work. No one, in these days, will argue against the benefits and needs of hobbies, even in war time, although as to their importance, there is full agreement that the war needs must at all times be given every possible consideration at the expense of all else. The Bulletin hopes to continue regular publication but nothing can be assured as needed spare time may not be available if war continues. Our English collectors continue their hobby despite war conditions that surpass anything yet in this country." To prove the point that the hobby will go on subscriber Bernard Keeves "pens an interesting letter which was 88 days in reaching us from his service station in South India. He reports that India has no card issues but that he picked up a large number in South Africa last July. The April 1940 issue was over six months in reaching him via London."


Complaint Department

"VALUES. A book dealer in Maine writes us as follows: ‘Cigarette card collecting is a misleading hobby with no security of basis value. No one is interested in trading, buying or selling; and nothing is worth catalog prices to anyone. I’m disgusted.’ He sites an example which does not have quite the right ring to it…. We do think though that he has a mistaken viewpoint on the value of tobacco cards, and we feel sure that quite a number of collectors and dealers will be glad to purchase any lots of them that he may find, and on the basis of catalog prices." Burdick discusses supply, demand, condition, lots, want lists, duplicates, dealers, and collectors. The examples used range from 1 cent to 10 cents per card.


Burdick on the Earliest Insert Cards

Having run several articles by Harry Lilien on the question of "What was the earliest insert card?" Burdick adds his thoughts in the February 1942 Bulletin. He comments on sources of information feeling that trade magazines from the period of issue are more reliable than magazines or articles written later. The least reliable source would be newspaper articles "in recent years as experience has indicated such writers all too often marshall an array of ‘facts’ which in reality are little more than the writer’s own guesses. It seems well established that the first inserts were of the photo actress type, being miniatures of similar larger cards which just previously had been extensively used for advertising purposes in shops and stores. These were soon followed by the colored lithographic cards of all sorts, although photos were used for years with some brands. Study of the careers of certain actresses and ball players will possibly reveal dates which can be connected with the card designs and so fix approximate dates. In only a few instances do the cards themselves bear dates. Many Goodwin baseball players are copyrighted 1887 and one small section of this series shows the Champions of 1886….Gold Coin colored cards are likewise copyrighted 1887 and were probably one of the first if not THE first, of the lithographed inserts. The most obvious sources of information are the tobacco firms themselves who issued the cards and the printing firms who made them." Burdick states that not much concrete information has been found however and even the recollections of older collectors might not be accurate. "For instance, Mr. Clayton W. Rosencrance of Indiana writes: ‘My late father had a department store in Port Jervis, N.Y. and when I was 5 years old he handed me the first card and told me to save it as he would get others from salesmen and customers. I am now 65, so you see the collection began 60 years ago.’ That would have been 1880, as this letter was written in 1940. We daresay that this is all quite correct, but we think probably that 1880 card, and probably many others shortly thereafter, were the old advertising cards rather than inserts. They may have included many tobacco ads. Such cards were given out for nearly 20 years before inserts were first used and old scrap albums full of them made in the 70’s and 80’s are quite common."   In a later issue Burdick reports on Thos. H. Hall tobacco cards as a likely 1880 issue with actresses (of course), a few athletes (oarsmen and pedestrians) and the 1880 candidates for President and Vice President.




The Hobby During WWII



Bray’s Small Ad

The 10 page April 1942 issue of The Card Collector’s Bulletin includes articles on the small number of new card issues, upgrading cards through exchanges, exhibit cards, book match covers, checklists of Obaks and Baseball Comics, a long editorial by Burdick on the lack of commercialism in the hobby and a short note that subscriber Charles Bray had purchased an old collection from someone in New Orleans and was offering it for sale. Bray ran a 5-line ad offering "mostly small 19th Century issues…at reasonable rates." In this modest manner Bray began selling and later auctioning about any piece of cardboard under the sun through the Bulletin. To this point the largest advertising space in a Bulletin had been less than one page. Things were about to change. It was ironic that in Burdick’s editorial he applauded the lack of commercialism in the hobby "But guard must be kept, as commercialism like inflation creeps in without warning. Opinions may differ, but we believe that present conditions are for the best interest of the hobby and should not be changed." The long editorial got his readers’ attention and in the next issue Burdick reported on the mostly favorable feedback from readers. Burdick begins hinting about his future involvement: "In spite of the many difficulties, we hope to continue publication during the war and thereafter as long as feasible. Quite a number of checklists still await publication although most of these are now of the scarcer sets not largely held by most collectors."


Other excerpts:

  • "Our friend, Mr. Alfred O. Philipp, a strict cartophilist, pens us a fierce diatribe for suggesting that book match covers have anything in common with cigarette or gum cards…As a definer, we leave the field open. As a cataloger, we list everything and let all take their choice in collecting."
  • "In case you haven’t heard it before – spend part of your spare cash on your hobby – BUT – with the rest – BUY U.S. WAR STAMPS AND BONDS.
  • The Exhibit Supply Company of Chicago has a current line of 40 sets of cards for a total of 1,760 cards while International Mutoscope Reel Co of Long Island City has a line of 25 sets of 32 cards each.
  • Burdick skeptically relays the report that the London Cigarette Card Co. has 60 million cards, 3,000 different complete sets, and "employs ten girls and an accountant."
  • Variations are found in the Celebrated Indian Chiefs series issued by Allen & Ginter. In typical fashion Burdick researches the origins, development and scarcities in subsequent sets depicting Indians.
  • Burdick uses 2 ½ pages to suggest a method of sorting and organizing the massive quantities of  "old actress cards" (the cards being old, not the actresses.) He recommends a rainy day to sort them by issuer, name, size, clothing, heads, hats etc. Actors are pretty easy to sort in that the girl/boy ratio in these cards is about 200 to 1.
  • Charles Bray runs an unprecedented one page ad selling complete sets of Allen & Ginter and Dukes insert cards in "excellent condition at reasonable rates." He lists A&G World Champions Series #1. This issue known as N28 is from 1887. The set price of $3 was a bit less than the $5,000 current book value for just the 10 baseball players in the 50-card set.
  • James Colkitt of Los Angeles reports that want lists are not new and produces his insert card want list from 1891. "Even in those days the Colkitt collection of small 19th Century was in a most advanced stage."
  • Subscriber B.K. Edwards reports purchasing the cigarette card collection of the late actor, John Barrymore.
  • Burdick continues his findings in researching Dixie Lids, the early tobacco companies and provides background on matchbook covers. Give Burdick a card and he will try to trace it back to when it was part of a tree.


Prices 1942 and 1943

In his spare time Burdick issues a 1942 supplement to the catalog. He explains the reason for increased prices and that he has had inquiries from people wanting to buy cards in large quantity at low rates. "Years ago it was possible to buy in that manner to some extent but today nearly everybody obtains at least a general idea of value before selling, and snap bargains are the exception." (Sound familiar?) But then he goes on to report that: "During 1942 at least four collections have changed hands at $70 or more each." (about $820 in today’s dollars). Burdick’s general guide at the time is that "selected items from want lists" and complete sets are selling for double catalog and a minimum of 5 cents per card. Short sets are at 1.5 times catalog and mixed lots and collections at catalog – except that harder to find cards in T206 for example are running $2 or even $3 each! Cutouts and actresses are of modest if any value. "Many collectors will pay a bonus for the last few cards needed to complete a set. In England the first and last cards of a set, in fine condition, are priced higher as being on the outside they are subject to more damage….In these days much is heard of the investment value of hobby material. It is a safe prediction that these cards will prove as good a value as any. There will always be a strong interest in them and values have been gradually rising in a healthy manner. Any good collection if properly handled should eventually realize as good returns as the better stocks and bonds. Values seem surely destined to go considerably above their present levels with the next few years." Jefferson Burdick, December 1942.


In 1943 Burdick writes: "The Bulletin does not customarily devote great space to the matter of prices, but at present they are prime topics in all lines…The current season has been notable for the unusual quantity of cards which have been offered collectors. This has been due to the considerable advertising done by collectors and what we may call a streak of collectors luck- fulfilling the ‘never rains but it pours’ adage. While we believe that untold numbers of old cards are still hiding in old stored collections, the recent rate of turn-up is not liable to continue, and the general trend, we believe, will be for supplies to gradually decrease in the coming years….We cannot emphasize too strongly that present rates are real opportunities for collectors."


A few months later Burdick writes: "In these days we hear about a 30 cent dollar and while the actual purchasing power of a dollar may not have shrunk by 70%, it is quite evident that there is a material shrinkage. Government price controls on most of the necessities of life have kept their prices from rocketing. (Remember the high prices of World War I)…There is the probability that decreasing (card) supplies will be coupled with greater demand from at least two types: soldiers returning to civil life and resuming their collecting, and the increase in foreign demand when the present financial restrictions are removed and normal free trade is resumed…Card collecting is an international hobby."


Readers in Service

War news on hobbyists: Lionel Carter checks in from Fort Clark, Texas and is packing up for overseas duty. He writes: "Whether it be Australia, Panama, or Alaska; Private Carter is on his way to make the world safe for card collecting." "Two Connecticut collectors, Edward Golden and Samuel Tanenbaum, are now with the Army Air Corps in training at Miami Beach, Florida. Hugh Johnson of Bowling Green has received a commission in the Navy and expects an early call to service….Lt. Lawrence Kuzrock is now on the Navy Medical staff. Pvt Steve Vanco of Chicago is at Fort Knox, Ky….Sgt. John Wagner finds time in a busy recruiting and induction life to add several more names to the American Caramel Baseball Series…Mr. Warshaw of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana has stored his vast collection and is at an Army training camp in Georgia"…English collector William Brooks "will be pleased to meet and entertain any Bulletin reader who may be serving with American forces in England…The Medicos say Ye Editor is 4F and we trust it is due to physical reasons rather than mental although there may be complications." This is about the only reference that I found about Burdick’s crippling arthritis.


Hobby Recollections of the 1880s

In the December 1943 issue subscriber C.G. Sturtevant recalls his card collecting days as a youth in the 1880s. "I clearly remember my enthusiasm in collecting picture cards of all kinds. Many were the advertising giveaways, and for those we used to worry the drug and drygood stores about crazy. Thread companies and patent medicine firms had a big variety. Unground coffee had many series. Many were the sources of cards gotten free….By the summer of 1888 I had accumulated a couple of thousand which I kept more or less assorted in shoe boxes. Constant handling caused wear but was preferred to pasting in albums. During the summer of 1888 a collector showed me several of the small tobacco or cigarette cards of flags and rulers. Ours was a small town where cigarettes were not sold, which accounts for my not seeing them until about two years after they had appeared in other places." Moving to a cigarette-using town, Sturtevant quickly gathered the tobacco inserts left behind in stores even arranging with store owners to give him all the cards left behind in the store. "I cannot begin to tell you what a fine lot of cards I received here during the winter of 1888-1889." The cards multiplied, were put in cigar boxes with rubber bands, but eventually were completely soaked by a driving rainstorm. He turned to stamps but then swapped them all with a boy from the East who had a great box of mostly Allen & Ginter cards. But quickly they stopped inserting cards, Sturtevant entered the Army and returned home to find "relatives and other kids had left little of my collections. Throughout the years since I had often thought of the cards and became much interested when the Card Catalog was published. I cannot again recover my losses and so must confine myself to mostly recollections and reminiscences."


Auctions, etc.

Partial checklists of certain tobacco sets are provided thanks to the joint efforts of readers Bray, Wagner, Van Brakle, Gammon, Ross and Wise….Burdick also writes about advertising cards, the various Allen & Ginter sets,  and foreign cards, particularly Canadian and English cards in that Burdick subscribes to some of their publications (Cigarette Card News and Cartophilic World) and has a number of English subscribers to the Bulletin.


The first of what will be many obituaries of long-time collectors appears in August 1943, that of James N. Colkitt of Los Angeles. He had the 1891 want list. Lionel Carter wrote an article for the Bulletin in 1969 shedding light on Colkitt’s collection: "It was the death of Mr. Colkitt that prompted the first Card Mail Sale in October 1943. Mr. Colkitt collected only small 19th century cards, and the sale of his collection was handled by Jeff Burdick who broke the collection into 71 lots. The entire collection was purchased by one collector for slightly over $400, but the name of the collector was never made known as Mr. Burdick noted: ‘No publicity is desired at this time.’ (Most of the complete sets went at $4 or $5.) Due to ill health, Mr. Alfred O. Phillipp then offered his collection for sale in February 1944 and this sale was (the first) handled by Charles R. Bray." Burdick was disappointed himself that the Colkitt collection went to one bidder. He received a bit of heat from his subscribers and was probably delighted that Bray took over any future mail bid sales that Burdick described as "more work and a bigger headache." With a flurry of bidding activity and considerable interest among collectors the Andrew Phillipp collection went to 21 different bidders. Bray reported: "All of the baseball cards were in great demand and brought good prices." (like up to $15 for 19th century tobacco sets.) Another "enthusiastic and colorful card collector" who offered to help on the first catalog, B.K. Edwards died September 1943.


Other notes of interest in the "war" Bulletins:

  • "In these days it is common to hear ‘I haven’t had time’ and everyone should bear in mind that this is true of most card hobbyists. Many Bulletin readers we know are working in war industries, some even seven days a week and without vacations." (Most likely Burdick himself)
  • Complete past issues of the Bulletin are now entirely gone. "No reprints are possible." (No copy machines either.)
  • A March 12, 1944 article in the Philadelphia Record covers the Wagner card. "We (Burdick) are still looking for the Wagner card but would hate to pay the amount which the writer says it is worth. Mention of our name in the article has resulted in our receiving about a dozen letters…More articles in the press like this are needed. Why not arrange for one in your local paper?"
  • "As far as we know there are no cards being issued anywhere at present, except possibly a very few in Canada."
  • Burdick vacations in New York City and meets with three leading dealers: Burton, Rothschild and Warshaw, and collectors: Mrs. Hills, Mrs. Landauer, Lt. Kurzrok, and Charles Bray. He is unsuccessful in finding two collections supposedly at the New York Public Library or in getting assistance from them on research. 


Looking for Cards in 1944

In August 1944 The Bulletin returns to 6 pages that are 8 ½ by 11 rather than 10 half-sized pages. Gum cards in the last auction brought only about 1/3rd of catalog. Burdick predicts that they will increase in value and popularity in coming years. He suggests buying in lots rather than just going after want list items in that you can upgrade sets and get something for your duplicates, perhaps putting them back in the next auction. Readers have noted the difficulty in finding that final card or two for a set. Burdick describes similar experiences and logically attributes it to the last cards issued in a long series (high numbers), errors and corrections (the initial error is usually scarcer), and advises to never give up the search – it is what makes collecting interesting. He also says that you undoubtedly will be taking chances in buying certain lots, but that the pleasant surprises outweigh the unpleasant ones. He surmised that despite the interest in cards that many are still going the way of "the current scrap paper drives." Bray organizes the 4th Mail Card Sale with 131 lots from various owners. A set of 12 bidding rules is added.


The War Draws to a Close

Catalogs are out of print and Burdick advises that there won’t be another until after the war because of paper and printing shortages. He also feels that the numbering system will have to be redone. (T206s are still known as the #521 Series.) Burdick updates the status of certain subscribers in service or returning from service, including Lionel Carter. "After three long years fighting in the South Pacific, PFC Carter was home in November (1944) and we enjoyed a fine letter from him just before he left for reassignment."  Wirt Gammon has an article on baseball cards in the Sporting News. Walt Corson has a detailed article on Baseball Blankets and the years of issue. Charles Barker’s name appears for the first time in August 1945 reporting the existence of ballpark souvenir sets.


As the war is about to end Burdick describes his trip by train to see "the Charles Brays, whose beautiful home has become a rendezvous for Eastern collectors for more reasons than a mutual interest in cards….We recommend this trip down the Lackawanna Trail of Eastern Pennsylvania for its beauty and pleasure, either way by train or auto. The mining sections, the mountains, and at the end, the Delaware Water Gap, are things that all should see. Pulling over the high Poconos, the smooth gliding train, the changing scenic panorama, with an undertone of rhythmic puffing of two powerful locomotives make a touching combination." I drove through this area of Pennsylvania for the first time a few days before finishing this article and could easily see what inspired Burdick to take time and to enjoy the moment.


The Bulletin made it through World War II without missing an issue, still at 30 cents per year, still with Burdick writing nearly every word. There is yet to be a photo, drawing or anything other than typed pages duplicated onto whatever paper was available; but it was all great stuff.



                     1945 to 1953 – Burdick to Bray


World War II ends and The Card Collector’s Bulletin keeps rolling. The December 1945 issue includes the recollections of Harry Lepman as a boy in the 1910s: flipping, matching, 20 cigar boxes full of cards. Other subscribers remember blowing, twirling and other ways of winning cards. Burdick recalls cards that came with chewing tobacco got sandwiched while in the bag and frequently came "mint" but bent. The Bulletin has grown to 14 pages and Burdick returns money to a number of advertisers that he didn’t have room for in the publication. Lionel Carter is just back from the Pacific and runs a full-page want list ad offering to pay 5 cents per card. Paul Masser offers $25 for a Wagner.


1946 Catalog

A new catalog is now possible and is scheduled for release in 1946, 7 years after the first catalog. Seven years becomes the schedule for future catalogs: 1953 and 1960. In typical fashion, Burdick shares all financial information about the catalog with his readers: 128 pages, 1,250 copies, cost around $1,000. A catalog will sell for 75 cents but they will throw in a year subscription to the Bulletin. Advertising revenue gets the catalog to a breakeven, eventually, in that it will take awhile to sell 1,250 copies. Burdick introduces the T,E,C nomenclature and the American Card Catalog comes out as Burdick predicted albeit with a few errors and omissions which are reported. The October 1946 issue mentions: "Resumption of card issues is said to depend only on the availability of paper stock and collectors are trying to clear their decks in preparation for these first post war issues."


Variations, etc.

The December 1946 Bulletin has an article on "varieties and errors." Burdick’s observations include:

·        Variations can be caused by printer’s waste that erroneously reaches the public, the correction of errors, or intentional changes in design during the process

·        Reprints include A&G plates reused in 1912 for early candy cards

·        Counterfeits – "If new plates are made and exact copies of originals attempted, we have imitations, facsimiles, counterfeits and other bogus productions. These can usually be detected by careful examination but so far nothing has occurred in this line as far as known. The high cost of such work, plus risk of detection, make it a hazardous undertaking."


Burdick reports his trip to Chicago where he tried to visit every subscriber and hobbyist… Insert cards for tobacco products have been delayed because of the post war paper shortages both in the U.S. and England…A collector sent a deposit to a "Mrs. Brooks of Minneapolis for a big card collection she was going to send. Nothing arrived, and an inquiry came back marked ‘moved, no address.’ This is an old racket, but its first trial in cards, as far as we know." (It did not prove to be the last.)….Each issue now includes an auction of cards by Charles Bray. There might be 250 lots with 40 to 80 cards typically in each lot. Sports cards are a relatively modest portion of the cards auctioned, but Bray reports that "the boys are bidding up those pretty good."


Early Tobacco Inserts

C.G. Sturtevant returns with his scholarly findings on the early tobacco cards based on a "Cigarette Photo" article in an 1887 amusement journal. Considerable fuss is made over the revealing "leg-art" pictures of "ballet girls" on A&G insert cards. If you’ve seen some of these cards, you noticed that the legs were quite ample. Large sized photos were originally used to help market the cigarettes and evolved into smaller versions inserted into packs. Anthony Comstock was on his high horse to protect "small boys" from such leg-art lewdness. The net effect was to put pressure on the manufacturers to eliminate the "revealing photos." The photos did "their job of popularizing cigarettes and manufacturers could carry on (in 1886) with designs which would break no laws" – like baseball players.


Burdick chips in again with his research on this continuously pursued interest in the earliest tobacco inserts. He finds a Frank Leslie Illustrated Magazine of 1883 that covers a visit to the Allen & Ginter factory in Richmond, Virginia. In 1874 they produced "2.5 million cigarettes, while in 1882 it was 550 million (compare with today’s 430 billion). The Industry was second only to cotton in the South." Cigarette roller girls packed the boxes for wages of $4.50 per week. "The earliest known Virginia Bright cardboard boxes of 10 bear the inscription ‘Crop of 1884’ and so must have come into use about 2 years afterward…Insert cards are not mentioned, although a few may have been used (in 1883), such as photos of Cigarette Making Girls and some Little Beauties issues."


Burdick Decides to Donate His Collection

In December 1947 Burdick announces in the Bulletin that he has decided to donate his collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City citing: uncertain physical condition, no immediate survivors, and a desire to see his collection preserved and expanded as a research tool for the hobby. The Met is chosen because of its location and the enthusiasm of the curator of the Print Department, A. Hyatt Mayor. Burdick guesses that it will take him 3 or 4 years to organize and deliver the collection to the museum. It took over 15 years. Also Mayor’s enthusiasm is not infectious with his successors. Mayor writes Burdick that "As far as I can see, your collection, once it is mounted, will always be open to anyone." That is certainly not the experience collectors have had in recent years in many unsuccessful efforts to see the collection.


Burdick regularly updates Bulletin readers on the status of the transfer of the collection. Long-time subscribers such as John Wagner, Howard Paul, Fanny Traynor, Harry Kenworthy, Paul Masser, Howard Myers and Samuel Tanenbaum begin assisting Burdick in his efforts to complete various sets prior to sending them to the museum. Burdick seeks additional help because he is "too busy to keep up with collectors in the baseball field." He is looking to add 2 Fatima team cards, a host of Obaks, Old Mills, Red Suns, Contentnea, Ramly and similar issues. He then finds that another brand has popped up on the T206s – Ty Cobb Tobacco, unknown to the hobby until nearly 1950. He runs want list ads in the Bulletin offering to buy cards that he needs. He is not expecting too much in that his "wants are pretty tough propositions" with many obscure or perhaps non-existent cards on the list.


In October 1948 Burdick reports that John Wagner has given him an extra Hans Wagner card in order to complete his T206 collection to be sent to the Met. Burdick is thrilled in that he had sought this card for many years. "This is the original ‘discovery’ card which Mr. Wagner first spotted among his duplicates. Early lists of the set did not mention this title and it came near being traded off without being noticed. Since then one or two others have been found but the card remains in such demand that several copies could easily be sold at the catalog value of $25 or more." In the same paragraph Burdick is also enthused to be back organizing the actress cards into 2,037 varieties.


Concurrently Burdick works on the next Catalog and updates, trying to get copies of sets such as Sport Kings extra large R340. He also begins work on a small pamphlet as an index of cards at the museum. It isn’t fully developed for another 13 years, but as with most of his initiatives it is finally printed and is used at the museum’s print room to this day.


Actresses Slow Down Burdick

The vast numbers of photo actresses in the tobacco cards slow Burdick down in his efforts to ship early tobacco inserts. He sends 13,590 actress cards to the Met. Mayor and Burdick also find that it is going to be complex to properly mount the collection in albums. Burdick later reports that they (Theodore Starr of the print department) would be pasting the cards into the albums if there were no descriptions on the back even though he wouldn’t recommend this for a private collection. The "museum cards, of course, will never be sold or removed from the albums." The pasting job apparently is hard to staff in that a few years later "Mr. Starr could not continue and Mr. Mayor has been unable to find anyone to take his place….No cellophane has yet been employed but this can be added later if desired, and a suitable type can be found." A few years later Burdick rationalizes in the Bulletin that "The mounting, unfortunately was begun years ago before the cellophane era and consists of merely pasting on blank album pages. This will seem ruinous to some collectors, but all can be saved if at some future time it is necessary to remount. A moment’s dip in water and all will come free and undamaged. To show the better way, one album uses cellophane. I found genuine acetate very expensive and too thick, and regular moisture-proof cellophane is now off the market."


On March 10, 1948, Harry Lilien of New York City announces the formation of the "Card Collectors Society." Meetings are to be held monthly at the home of Dr. Lawrence Kurzrok. Dues are $1 for 6 months. Most of the long-time subscribers like Carter, Lilien, Corson, Lancaster, and Van Brakle are still running large ads looking for cards on their wantlists. In August 1948 Corson advertises the sale of his Collector’s Haven store in Philadelphia and his 30,000 cards. "I do not like indoor work and wish to get back in the auction business," he explains. Auctions must have been outdoors in those days…Burdick reports that the 1949 Bowmans "are said to be available from certain dealers and printers in sheet form at low prices….only time will disclose the real situation and values."


Charles Bray Becomes Bulletin Editor

The big news in the June 1949 issue is that Burdick is turning over the Bulletin to Charles Bray who had taken over the auction portion of the Bulletin several years earlier. "Mentally I have enjoyed it (putting out 60 issues over the past 10 years). Physically, however, it has been a bit different and many issues have been gotten out under somewhat distressful conditions. I have been bothered considerably (the master of understatement) by chronic arthritis, and in recent years it has precluded any unnecessary activities….all in all, I am not in proper condition to continue magazine publication." He will contribute articles in the future and asks others to do so as well to help Charles Bray, a "square shooter." Burdick later confided that in the 1950s the new drug of cortisone helped delay what he imagined would be a crippling disability. In the last 20-page issue of the 1940s, Burdick uses one page to update readers on the 40,000 cards he has sent so far to the Metropolitan Museum, Bray lists 378 items in the 35th mail auction on 8 pages, advertising for cards covers 7 pages, and Bray writes one page.


The Early 1950s

In the early 1950s a few writers other than Burdick start to contribute to the Bulletin. Walt Corson writes about the minor leaguers in the T206 set with finally some references to the players themselves. Charles Bray describes his visit to the hobby museum of O.C. Lightner, the late editor of Hobbies Magazine. Bray also reports on the 1951 Topps Connie Mack All Stars being the result of substituting Connie Mack for Ty Cobb, "because Cobb would not allow his picture to be used." Also 1951 Bowmans omit most of the big stars of the day. Burdick announces the publication of the Tobacco War Booklet by Wharton-Tigar, a superb job of research on cards from around the world. 


A refreshing ad is run by subscriber Lowrance Swayze looking to trade 1950 and 1951 Bowman baseball and football: "I am just a poor collector who’s trying to keep from buying any more bubble gum than he has to." Buck Barker runs an ad apologizing to all his friends "if I have any left. If I don’t then the apology is directed to my former friends. I am not dead. I have not been actively collecting for several years. In fact my collection is in storage. However, I will be back someday, and I hope that I will be forgiven. Charles ‘Buck’ Barker, Baseball Collector." The collection of the late W.J. Christie is auctioned by Bray with suggested prices of $14.63 for a T205 set, Mecca double folder set for $3.50, a 1948 Bowman baseball set for $1.34, a 1950 Bowman baseball set for $5.52, and a 1941 Playball set for $2.02 – just typical junk cards at extravagant prices.


The 1953 Catalog

Burdick announces plans for a 168-page 1953 Catalog that will be priced at $2 with 1,400 copies printed. The staff consists of Burdick as Managing Editor, Bray as Associate Editor in charge of Prices, Gene DeNardo as Associate Editor in charge of Copy Revisions, and Woody Gelman the Associate Editor in charge of Advertising and Publication. John Wagner contributes artwork including drawings for the Catalog Stationery. The staff meets on May 12, 1952 and takes the classic photo of the foursome, only the second photo to ever appear in the Bulletin. In August 1952 Burdick attends the Hobby Club Convention at the Morrison Hotel run by Hobbies Magazine with "extensive card exhibits and hundreds of collectors from Maine to California." While in Chicago he meets Lionel Carter for the first time after 15 years of corresponding. Carter recalls it today as a memorable collecting experience in that he had long been an admirer of Burdick. Carter drives Burdick around Chicago to various appointments in that Burdick did not drive. He also meets with Larry Brandt, Ralph Decker, Windy City Post Card Club folks, and calls on the Exhibit Supply Co. This trip is typical for Burdick. In 1952 he "traveled over 3,000 miles to interview leading collectors and dealers from all parts of the country." Burdick makes progress adding many cards to the collection with thanks to: Wharton-Tigar, Bray, Gelman, John Dowling, Larry Brant, L.W. Ball, Harrold Ross, Bob and Dick Jones among others.


Bray takes the opportunity in the October 1952 issue to discuss pricing in the Catalog. "A lot of people think that because a card is seventy years old it is, ipso facto, a valuable item. It is a valuable item, only if the quantity of surviving copies is considerably less than the collectors who want them and are willing to pay a good price to obtain them….Every group, set and card has to be considered individually in the light of the particular factors which most influence its value." Sets will continue to be priced at a significant (50%) premium over the price of the individual cards. Of course, all the individual cards are priced the same with no particularly distinction for high numbers or stars.


In a 1953 issue Lionel Carter returns with an article on the front page thanking Burdick ("Thanks to a Grand Guy") for his great work in putting out the 1953 Catalog and his past efforts. Carter writes: "When I started collecting baseball cards in 1933, I thought I was alone in the hobby until I was introduced by Edward Golden to Mr. Burdick’s ‘Card Collectors Bulletin’ in the spring of 1938. From that moment, my interest zoomed, my collection flourished. The first catalog proved an inspiration, the second saving my interest in the backwash of the war service. Moving to Chicago in 1946, The American Card Catalog brought me for the first time into personal contact with other cards collectors; fine fellows with whom I can share my elation over a rare find, fellows who share my thrills at sporting events. It is highly unlikely that your own fortunes in the card collecting field have varied greatly from own; your prosperity in friends and cards is due to the efforts of Mr. Burdick."



The Rest of the Story

Other Early Hobby Publications and

The Card Collector’s Bulletin from 1953 to 1984


This series started as the history of hobby publications. Until the early 1950s the history of the hobby publications and the history of The Card Collector’s Bulletin were pretty much the same. However in January 1951 Bob Jasperson’s Sport Fan appeared. The publishers were Helen and Bob Jasperson of St. Paul, Minnesota. Most issues were nicely typeset, well written and targeted to sports fans and collectibles although not necessarily cards. Wirt Gammon wrote a monthly article and Lionel Carter later contributed as well. Jasperson tried to organize a national convention in Chicago in 1956. without a mention by the Bulletin. It wasn’t until 1955 that Lionel Carter reported in the Bulletin that he had discovered Sport Fan. How had Sport Fan escaped previous recognition by Bulletin readers? Bob’s son Mike has remained active in the hobby and would do a much better job than I can of telling the rest of the Sport Fan story.


Other Hobby Publications

A want ad in a 1969 Bulletin gave me many names of other early hobby publications. Subscriber O.A.Alley, Jr. was looking for The American Card Collector, Association of Sports Collectors – Bulletin, The Autograph Hobbyists, Baseball Card Hobbiest, Card Comments, The Card Hobbyists, Card News and Comments, Diamond Dust, The Foul Tip, Grandstand Manager, Hobbys to Enjoy, Sport Collector, Hobby Enthusiast, Sport Fan Who’s Who, Autograph News, Sport Fan, Sport Hobbyist, The Sports Exchange, The Sports Exchange Trading Post, The Sports Journal, The Sports Line, The Trader Speaks, Treasure Magazine, The Trading Card Gazette, and Western Hobby News. Everyone seemed to have their own preference for the plurals of Hobby and Hobbyist. As you can see from O.A. Alley’s list there were many enthusiastic and sometimes short-lived publications by collectors and dealers starting in the 1940s. Many of them were undoubtedly superior to the Bulletin in its later years.


Collector Dave Hornish provided me information on the Sports Exchange Trading Post from a 1987 SCD article by Richard Miller. John Seifert of Youngstown, Ohio published the Trading Post beginning in 1945. It had photos (!) and covered collecting scorecards, autographs, books and cards. They even issued their own set of cards listed in the SCD Standard Catalog as "1946-49 Sports Exchange All-Star Picture Files" and the "1947 Sports Exchange Baseball Miniatures." Vintage hobby publication collector Richard Rubin provided me a copy of the September 1945 issue. This issue was professionally printed, included cartoons, ads and a drawing of Chuck Workman of the Boston Braves – a "Drake’s Sports Pin-Up." They advertised they were "looking for regular contributors…and will pay $2.50 in war stamps for each story accepted." They also wanted "all copy to be original!" Presumably they would also take copies of original copy.


Uncle Bob and other Editors

Richard Rubin also provided copies of several other publications from the 1940s and 1950s. Most publications tended to be more like baseball team fan club newsletters geared to a young audience. Issues were a few typed pages, probably mimeographed. There were limited references to collectibles such as programs and guides. For example, Diamond Dust began in 1945 with articles on major league baseball players and teams. Ned Catrone was the "club" president. The ad section included subscribers looking for autographs, scorecards, books, pictures, pennants but not too many cards since none had been issued since 1941. Baseball Parade also started in 1945. It was edited semi-monthly by Russell Weston of LaCanada, California and had at least six contributors who seemed to be aspiring sportswriters. A few issues were missed "because of a serious illness in the editorial offices" (an apparent early case of a sick office) and they "would like any ideas, improvements and criticism that the reader has." Some of these publications from the early 1940s I would describe as embarrassing (Baseball Data); others were atrocious (The Double Play). It didn’t take much to get into the sports publication business. A high school junior, Dave Webb, edited World of Sports from 1949. The problem was staying in business. I didn’t find any names of Bulletin subscribers or serious old-time collectors in these publications. Their subscribers seemed to be in different circles. One of the better-looking publications I found was Issue Number 1 from 1949 of The Collector published by Bowman Gum, Inc., Philadelphia. The editor was "Uncle Bob in care of Bowman Gum" and the purpose of the publication was clearly to promote Bowman products to young collectors but it was pretty good stuff. You could join the Picture Card Collectors Club that was "dedicated to the advancement of child, church, home, school, and community through the fellowship and interest of cartophily" not to mention selling Bowman gum.  It would be interesting to trace the history of many of these publications. However, in order to finish this series in our lifetimes I am forced to restrict this article to continuing the story of The Card Collector’s Bulletin after 1953.


Back to the Bulletins of 1953

In 1953 legendary English collector E.C. Wharton-Tigar provided a two-page article. He had met with Burdick, Bray and Canadian S.C. Hall. He considered Burdick’s 1953 catalog to be "a land mark in world cartophilic progress." He noted that in the U.S. he observed "a strong contingent of collectors of cards dealing with baseball subjects." (Pretty observant.) In April 1953 Walt Corson wrote there were probably thousands of cards that had never been seen and in some cases there were known sets where not a single card had been found. He wondered whether there weren’t some other unknown scarce cards out there in the T206 set in addition to Wagner, Plank, and Magie. Howard Myers compiled the original checklist in May 1938 and there had been no additions to the list since. Corson found that while some minor league teams had 2 players each in the set, others in the same or comparable leagues had none. Corson felt that there might have been as many as 28 cards issued for these "missing" teams. Corson counted 523 cards at the time. The Sports Collectors Digest 2004 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards lists 524. The extra card appears to be the Cobb with the Ty Cobb brand back that I don’t think Corson counted although Burdick reported its existence in a 1948 Bulletin. Myers did quite a job in check listing this set 66 years ago.


Need any Recent Topps for Double Last Year’s Price?

In 1953 Sam Rosen of New York City ran the first ad I saw offering 1952 Topps at 2 cents each, except the high numbers were 5 cents. 1951 Red and Blue backs were both $1 a set. Rosen was Woody Gelman’s stepfather and passed away 5 years later. In January 1955 Lionel Carter returned with a nice article on recent baseball cards. Buck Barker discovered Walt Dropo as a 7th card in the 1951 Topps All Stars set. Kiner was still to be discovered as well as the 3 unissued (with gum) cards of National Leaguers Konstanty, Roberts and Stanky. There were only 2 outfielders in Connie Mack’s 1951 All Stars in that Cobb refused to allow his name to be used. Carter reported on the Sports Illustrated insert cards that added 12 more of the 1954 Yankees to bring the total to 27 players. The Carters visited Burdick in Syracuse that year, remembering Burdick living in a modest apartment and having great difficulty getting around due to the arthritis. Carter was entirely up to date on the "explosion" of regional sets in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s and encouraged collectors to pick up the Johnston Cookies, Glendales, Wilsons, Remars, Red Hearts, etc. while they lasted. Carter wrote an article "Baseball Cards" for Hobbies Magazine – a good 20 years after Burdick’s first article for Hobbies.


Buck Barker contributed a fact-packed, breathless article continuing the baseball theme. He recalled the Goudey Fine and Wide Pens were given out by storekeepers with the Batter-Ups and Puzzle cards. You got a card, gum, and a large card thrown in all for 1 cent. He followed with another "breathless" article on baseball card errors and variations and yet another recalling the early days of the Bulletin, noting many of the things I did in the initial article in this series.


Woody Gelman added a short note in April 1956 that, by the way, Topps had purchased Bowman and "plans to issue long series of baseball gum cards continuing with Bowman novelty gum production. Their plans are to produce more issues of cards in their expanding business." In June 1956 APBA Game Company ran a full-page ad announcing their new card game. Write for details and a free card of Duke Snider. The Catalog was sold out, required updating, and a 1956 revision to the 1953 Catalog was announced.


The Late 1950s

In February 1957 Walt Corson recalled collecting strip cards "beginning in 1921 until the supply became exhausted several years ago." They were given away with candy purchases. Most strip cards were issued by Underwood and Underwood or International Feature Service. Corson had the foresight to collect and retain them despite their relative unpopularity. By December 1957 Corson reported that he has had an operation for cancer and was selling his collection of over 300,000 cards in which there were 616 different complete sets. He had already sold $2,400 worth of baseball cards….In June 1957 Charles Brooks advertised his monthly The Sports Hobbyist publication….In April 1958 Barker was back with comments on key players missing in baseball sets. He even wrote a letter to Stan Musial telling him that he owed the kids a chance to get his picture. Musial then appeared in the last series of 1958. Barker gave a detailed breakdown of the players included in the T205 and T206 sets. The T206 minor leaguers were issued a good year after the 150 Series backs of early 1909. He contributed many articles with an exhausting wealth of information, all focused on baseball cards over the next several years…Preston Orem contributed a three-page article on the Old Judge cards…In early 1959 Burdick reported that he intended to move to New York City to complete the mounting of the collection. Burdick had also been working on a postcard collection and catalogs the last few years….Bray’s auction was up to 640 lots….Fleer announced they were returning to the baseball card market in 1959….Burdick, Bray, Gelman, Barker and Orem will publish the upcoming 1960 Catalog. The catalog will include many newly listed cards including three of the four 1894 Honest (Duke) Cabinets (N142) discovered by dealer Sam Tanenbaum. The 4 known cards that are 6 by 9 inches book today at a total of about $60,000. The catalog will be priced at $4, include over 200 pages, and have a print run of 3,000…Barker reported that Sports Illustrated noted that 110 million Topps football cards were printed in 1958 with royalties paid of $15,000 while baseball players got merchandise in return for their consents…Barker wrote about "type card" collecting which is an English term. He also frequently kidded with fellow veteran collectors Carter, Jack Wise, and Howard Leheup….510 of the 798 lots in one auction were of postcards reflecting Burdick’s increased emphasis on this part of his collection in the 1950s and Brays collaboration….Burdick reported making photostats of the back of the cards for those he had glued down at the Met….In December 1960 Bray changed his sales commission on auction lots from 10% to 15%.


The Leaf Mystery

The 1948-9 Leafs are now listed as a 96 card set. When this set was first issued only 49 cards were known. Collectors assumed that the skipped-numbered set of 49 was cut short by legal action from Bowman. However in 1958 eight more cards surfaced. In August 1960 Lionel Carter reported: "It is our belief that the same dealer/collector who held back the 1949 Pacific Coast League cards for a number of years then turned them loose one set at a time, also held back the 8 cards mentioned above. This exploded the myth of a 49 card set….We were quite unprepared by the bombshell dropped by Lloyd Hendrick of Lawton, Oklahoma who reported 28 unlisted cards of this set bringing the total up to 85 known cards….Since that time ‘Detective’ Hendrick was found an additional card of Dick Sisler….Perhaps all 168 numbers were issued." It appeared that 49 cards were printed in quantity and 49 more were "single printed" and distributed regionally. It took collectors years to find them all.


End of an Era

The October 1962 issue had every color of paper in the rainbow with every page different – Bray’s attempt at high design. Jefferson Burdick had reduced the frequency of articles at this point. He wrote his last article for the Bulletin: "Collecting Notes on an Autumn Day." His subject was collecting and recalled a friend who initially limited his collection to three ferryboat pictures. "There are probably many who limit their collections much more than they should. Even the sports collectors, after a period, reach a point where little can be obtained other than new issues and those -as vast as they are - do not quite satisfy the full-blooded collector. There are but two legitimate limiting factors: available time and money." Burdick went on to describe ways of collecting within your means, expanding your horizons and buying lots. "Rather than quit in a flurry of frustration, the remedy is to expand the interest to balance the time available for collecting. The field is sufficiently large to accommodate all normal collecting needs and a bit of exploration in these untried fields will make you wonder why you passed them up for so long."


The June 1, 1963 Bulletin was printed "In Memory of Our Friend Jefferson R. Burdick" "Jeff passed away in the University Hospital N.Y.C. on March 13th and was buried in the family plot in Syracuse N.Y. He was survived by a sister. For the past 30 years he suffered terrific pains from arthritis…Previously he graduated from Syracuse University, then sold advertising until struck down with crippling arthritis. Later he was employed by Krause-Hines Co. in Syracuse working at a job he could do with his hands until his retirement. His card collecting started when a boy, but from the beginning, his must have been a single definite purpose: to cherish all kinds of paper Americana and to acquire more knowledge than anyone else on the subject, then leave his vast holdings to a museum for all of us in the future. He succeeded in all these accomplishments. Well done. Charles Bray." Tributes were also written by Fred Baum, Fanny Troyer, John Wagner, Woody Gelman, Buck Barker, Dorothy Bagnall of the London Cigarette Card Co., Lester Morris, A. Hyatt Mayer and two pages by Lionel Carter. Post card collectors added their praises as well for Burdick’s The Handbook of Detroit Publishing Co. Post Cards and Pioneer Post Cards.


The Bulletin Continues for 20 More Years

The directory that Burdick wrote for his collection at the Met was finally published in 1964. Gelman, Carter, Barker, Bray and others continued with articles, but the Bulletin increasingly became an auction publication; some 1,083 lots in one 1965 issue. In October 1968 Bob Jasperson had one-fourth-page ad advertising the sale of the collection of the late Frank Jock – three fourths of a ton of baseball memorabilia. In April 1969 Paul Masser advertised the break up of his collection.


Obituaries appeared for Preston Orem by Barker (12/73) and Howard Leheup by Carter (3/75). Now in his eighties, Charles Bray decreased the number of issues from 6 to 4. The issues started to be numbered by the auction number, reaching #204 in 1982. Incredibly Bray kept going with 400 to 500 lots but with very little in the way of articles or other ads. The commission increased to 20%. The last issue that subscriber #23 Lionel Carter has is 7 pages apparently from 1984. It had 298 auction lots and stated "The Card Collectors Bulletin is issued 2 or 4 times a year." Bray died January 5, 1988 at age 90.


The Bulletin from 1937 through much of the 1950s was the leading hobby publication with serious research, an array of information efficiently presented, and well-written articles. Writers and publishers in addition to Jefferson Burdick also showed enthusiasm for the hobby and had a greater interest in the sports themselves. Collectors could pick up 60 year-old cards for pennies and enjoy their appearance and share in their history without too many worries about values and condition. It was great fun. 



Contact George Vrechek at: vrechek@ameritech.net. George is always interested in information about the history of the sport card collecting hobby.





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