Baseball card collecting has been around since the 1800’s, and millions of young and old enthusiasts collect baseball cards. Serious involvement shown by some enthusiasts who invest a lot of money and some even pursue a career in baseball cards. Baseball cards are sold for as little as 10 cents while a few cards are traded for as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Baseball became an increasingly popular sport in the USA after the Civil War. In those days when there were no modern printing techniques, a type of baseball card was made out of photos of baseball players or teams pasted on a small piece of square cardboard.
Peck & Snyder, a sporting good company, first printed baseball cards in the late 1860’s. These baseball cards carried advertisements of their products and were given away like flyers for free. The popular hobby of the 1870’s and 1880’s was to collect trade cards that had various themes including baseball and pasting those into a scrapbook.
The mass production of baseball cards started in the 1880’s. Goodwin & Co. a tobacco company in New York produced these cards as cigarette pack stiffeners and to boost sales, as this became popular, others joined the competition. Allen & Ginter, Buchner & Co., Mayo and Co. and Kimball produced quality baseball cards and inserted them into the cigarette packs.
After a brief lull, baseball cards again became a rage from the early 1900’s. In fact, the period from 1909-1915 is regarded as the golden period in baseball card collecting. T206 Honus Wagner is one of the most famous cards that belonged to this era. The T206 Honus Wagner card is currently valued at around $ 500,000 and there are only 50 of them available in good condition. Some of the popular players who adorn the earlier cards include Ty Cobb, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, Honus Wagner and Napolean Lajoie.
Slowly tobacco slipped away from the baseball card scenario, and candy and gum companies filled the void. The cards produced by Goudey Gum Company of Boston are among the most popular baseball cards ever produced. The cards included pictures of famous baseball stars like: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx. Gum Inc produced cards that include the photo and stats of such greats as Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio.
Bowman Gum Co. started the baseball card industry as it currently is. Bowman sold baseball cards with a stick of bubble gum. Topps Chewing Gum company joined the process in the 1950’s, and the 1952 Topps # 311 Mickey Mantle is one of their most expensive cards.
At present, other than Topps companies like Fleer, Donruss/Playoff, and Upper Deck are producing baseball cards. Every year baseball cards hit the market featuring the top performers. A ‘rookie card’ is a first card of a player and generally costs more than other cards of the same player. However, the tobacco baseball cards are still considered the best of all baseball cards. In addition, the Honus Wagner card is considered the ‘Mona Lisa’ of baseball cards. A Honus Wagner card that was previously owned by Wayne Gretzky was auctioned off on eBay for $ 1.27 million.
When the number of cards collected really grows big, it will not be easy to manage them. Retrieving cards at will and replacing them would require the proficiency of a library science degree holder. To solve this problem there is software available that will manage baseball card collections efficiently. There is a variety of software to choose from depending on the complexity of the collection details that needs to be stored. One program that stand’s out is ‘ Baseball Card Collector Professional ‘, it is made for any baseball card collector, from novices to professionals, and it cost under $ 15. ‘ Baseball Card Collector Professional ‘ may be downloaded for free at this website address:
By Robert W. Benjamin
Copyright © 2006
You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter or on your web site as long as it is reprinted in its entirety and without modification except for formatting needs or grammar corrections.