Making a pitch for uncataloged Old Judge cards

Standard Catalog Update

A New Jersey collectibles dealer has sent for verification of four “oversize” 19th-century baseball cabinet cards.

   He thought the hobby should be aware of what he believes are two new poses of Old Judge cabinets. Each of the cards measures about 67/8-by-91/8 inches (give or take a 1/16 of an inch), on rather generic gray cardboard backing consistent with many cabinets of the era.

   Glued to the center of each is what I believe to be three Old Judge cabinets and a Newsboy that were cut down to about 41/4-by-6 inches, and had the advertising top layers removed.

   I can confirm that the odd card of the group was, indeed, once a Newsboy cabinet of John Ward – the pose with his arms folded. That’s verifiable by the appearance twice on the remaining photo of the number “586.”

   One of the putative Old Judge remnants is the popular “Ewing. & Mascot.” card.

   What appears to be a pair of previously uncataloged N173 poses are “Weyhing, P. Athletic’s” and “L. Cross, C. Athletic’s.”

   The Weyhing is Gus Weyhing, who is pictured with his right hand cap-high. The only other cataloged Gus Weyhing Old Judge cabinet has his pitching hand chest-high.

   Lave Cross was previously known in N173 only with Louisville, in a “hands on thighs” pose. The new discovery shows him with his right arm extended head-high. While the card’s caption shows his team as “Athletic’s,” he’s wearing a dark Louisville uniform under that chest protector.

   It’s possible, of course, that the Weyhing and Cross cabinets never actually wore Old Judge advertising, but were originally on a more generic cabinet, but like they tell medical students, “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.” Both the Weyhing and Cross discoveries have the Goodwin & Co. 1888 copyright on the photo.
   There is an interesting pencilled notation on the back of the Ward card that says:

“100 For Ruebler 200 “Store Stock Made June 11, 1894”

   Horrors! Does this indicate that 300 other baseball cabinet were similarly mutilated a century back?

   The cards were shared with you courtesy of Doug Keefe, who operates Beachcomber Collectibles in the Shore Mall in Egg Harbor, N.J. He indicated that given the current state of the baseball collectibles market, he’s not going to offer them for sale at this time, but rather use them as decoration in a new shop he’s furnishing.

*  *  *  *  *

A new version of the 1948 Cleveland Indians team-issued picture pack has been reported by East Coast collector and long-time Standard Catalog contributor Bill Atkinson.

   At the 2008 Greater Boston Sports Collectors Club show, he bought a post-season 4-in-1 set.

The set of 5-by-7-inch cards was issued in a manila envelope that identifies the team as “World Champs.”

   Each card in the set has four downsized versions of the photo pack pictures that had been issued earlier that season. There were 33 pictures in the full-size set; the 4-in-1 set contains eight cards. Missing from the 4-in-1 version is the picture of Hank Greenberg in civvies, and Al Lopez. The difference is made up by having Bob Feller’s picture on two of the 4-in-1s.

   Lopez is missing from the World Champs set because he played his last game for the Indians, his only season with the Tribe, in mid-September. He was released in early October and signed on with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, for whom he had played 1940-46, as a playing manager with the Indianapolis Indians, one of the Bucs’ top farm clubs. After three seasons with Indianapolis, Lopez returned to the Cleveland Indians as manager and took them to the World Series in 1951.

   I won’t print the checklist of the 4-in-1s here. The set will be added to the Standard Catalog database and will be published in the 2011 edition . . . if we continue to include team-issued photo packs in the vintage section of the printed catalog.

   Bill also sent along a report of a baseball collectible that probably won’t seen print in the catalog, but is nonetheless worth preserving in the historical record.

It’s a paper insert that was included, reportedly only in the Boston area, in boxes of Between the Acts Little Cigars around the time of the World Series between the Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs.

   The approximately 21/2-by-31/2-inch card is a reproduction of the cover of the “Official Score Card” for the Series. It pictures Red Sox owner Harry Frazee.

Bill says the identification of this item as a true tobacco insert was made by renowned vintage dealer and tobacco-era specialist Terry Knouse.

   Bill estimates the value of the insert at $800.

   Please excuse the quality of the images in this section, which were made from photocopies

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