I am relatively new to the vintage card world, and I am trying to identify a medium priced set to begin collecting. Right now, I don't have the financial means to undertake collecting the full T206 set (although I have considered collecting subsets), but I need help identifying a set meeting the following criteria: 1) of moderate price 2)could appreciate in value over time 3)contains some HOFers/notable players, and most importantly 4) would be a good introduction to the world of pre-war baseball cards. Also, I am looking for a set that would be possible to finish, unlike the daunting task that would be faced with trying to collect a full set of T206.
Any ideas would be welcome. Thanks to all for making this one of my favorite sites to visit on the net.
You may want to start with one of the smaller sets like E93, E94 or E98 they all have 30 cards to complete. They are very doable in completing and you see them sell on ebay fairly frequently. They all have some HOF's and of course you will be spending some larger dollars on the Cobb, Wagner and Matty. A little more challenging would be the E90-1 set that has 120 cards and some harder to get non HOF's.
Good luck in your new hobby and just be smart and deal with reputable dealers. Being new and not knowing what is happening can sometimes get you burned. But you have found the right place to get any help you could possible need in your endeavor.
medium priced, good representation of prewar cards, notable hofs...1915 cracker jack. from memory set has about 176 cards so it's not monster-sized but still not too easy. good mix of hofs from wagner, cobb, to bresnahan/maranville...with a joe jackson mixed in. no real toughie, the most expensive card will be jax...and u can find a lowgrade/altered for around 3.5k. a VG set (with the most expensive cards in P/F) will take about 5-6 years if you do piece by piece on a librarian's salary. i can't guarantee it'll appreciate in value but the set is a classic.
most collectors are not very well focused to just one set. so why collect just one set? collect pre war era players from different sets. buy portraits or poses you like. in so far as an investment,no one can really say,so just collect what you like and not worry about $$$.
The T201 or T205 base set are other options that would get you a foothold in pre-war. The sets are a little larger then the E sets mentioned above by Bobby, but you won't have to shell out $1k+ for any of the cards and they are more commonly found.
Assuming Pre war means pre WWII, I would recommend the National Chicle fine pen (R313) and Goudey wide pen sets (R314). The base sets are readily available on Ebay and pretty darn cheap. For the more advanced collector there are variations, such as the Gold Medal Flour which are tougher to find. Tim Newcomb wrote an excellent two part article on the sets two or three years ago or so in Old Cardboard.
How about Exhibits from the 1920`s or the 4 on 1`s?Check the old cardboard site for a checklist and a card gallery.Trying to figure out Exhibits by year can be difficult.Or as a subset just the HOF`s from a certain year.
If you wanted to go down the 1930's period; I would suggest the Diamond Stars set. Affordable and very colorful cards with a little over 100 in the total set. Set can even be done cheaper if you chose not to collect the several tough SP's in the back of the set, which are players who are already in the set. The set is loaded with HOFers of the era, but missing Ruth and Gehrig. That can be good in a way because you won't have to pay an extra thousand or so for a Ruth and Gehrig though.
I started my vintage collection trying to complete several sets, but realized I would lose interest when I would have to pay good money for a player or card I didn't really care for. I found that my true collecting passion is Boston National players. So now I buy just cards of players and poses that I like. Working on subsets of some issues of just Boston National players gives me the sense of accomplishment that comes with set building without buyijng cards I don't really want to spend the money on.
Find what you like whether it's a particular set, HOF'ers, a team, etc. Everyone collects for a different reason, in a different way, and on different budgets, the key is finding what you enjoy.
What if you backed up and reconsidered your approach. My thinking is that if you're goal is completing a set, then you'll have missed a significant aspect of the charm of the old cards. With set completing as a goal, you may well end up hunting down a few cards at the end that are elusive, a bit expensive, and ones that you don't really care that much about.
Read a bit about the old game. Get an affordable used copy of the fine book by Mr. Bill James, The Historical Baseball Abstract. Look for one of the original editions, not the newer one... you can find them on ABEbooks or Alibris. Or read Fleming's book, The Unforgetable Season. That would be 1908, and it really gets you grounded into what was in the heads of whoever was contemplating who to include in the white border tobacco cards, T206, or those nice American Caramel cards, E90-1.
Then, with that in mind, figure out some players or a team you're interested in... The Cubs are popular. Same for the Giants. Modern day Yankee fans gravitate toward the then Yankees or Highlanders. Even if you were chasing Cubs in T206, settle for one card of each player, that way you don't have to chase all of the Tinker cards, one will do.
I think that approach is quite satisfying, you put a team together, not a set. But then that is collecting, instead of merely pouring money onto the amassing of a bunch of slabs and slips.
One possible consideration would be a bit of a type collection... 8 or 10 T cards, 8 or 10 more E cards... It is neat to have one of each of the E145s, the 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jacks. Then, when you're sharing your collecting interests with someone who wants to see the old cards, you can hand them both, they can feel how paper thin the 1914 cards were, they can see how the backs of the 1915 cards were inverted.
Set completion of new stuff is doable. A fellow can eventually gather in the 1967 Topps. Not quite so easy with T205s, 6s, or 7s, or with E90-1s... few folks have enough money to pour the dollars on the collection necessary to assemble all of them, and to some extent the more elusive cards aren't always readily available. A 518 set of T206s is possible for folks, especially if they're patient, and chase the Monster for a dozen years. And a 520 set is within the grasp of some folks. After 520 it is beyond me... even if I had the money to spend, I don't think I'd be comfortable spending it on each of those last 4 cards.
Patience, perseverance, stay the course.
This message has been edited by Greatwake on Feb 1, 2009 2:12 PM
I've always thought it might be fun to collect T206 this way.......
The 150 series really has 156 cards in it. However, the backs say baseball series 150 subjects.
So, just collect 150 cards, all with the 150 series backs, and presto, you have a "complete" collection. This allows you to bypass the expensive cards, but still have some nice HOFers. It's also a small set relatively speaking.
It would also be a good launching point for further T206 collecting if you chose to go that route. I'd recommend getting them all with the same back however, i.e. piedmont, sweet caporal, or sovereign instead of mixing backs.
I've thought about trying this "set" for a couple of years now, I've just never got up the initiative to start it. Maybe with 2009 being the 100th anniversary of the T206 150 series release, I'll get motivated.
I'm currently working on the T205 and T3 sets, primarily because I think the art on both of those sets is gorgeous. I'd highly recommend going for the T205 set (T3s are wicked expensive, anywhere from $50-$150 for low-grade commons and $1k+ for guys like Mathewson and Cobb). T205 isn't the easiest set in the world, it has a few variations and is ~200 cards, but it makes it slightly more challenging than a 25 or 50 card set. Also, the large quantity of HOFers makes it nice - you can pick up low grade versions of tougher cards for relatively cheap - I've gotten an ultra poor Tris Speaker for $26, and Mathewson, Johnson, and Joss for ~$100 each. If you need to have every single variation it makes it hard due to a Hoblitzell that's around $8k and an Irving Wilhelm that's like $3k, but if you are satisfied with each front it's definitely doable.
Off the top of my head set would be the 1887 Tobin lithographs trade cards. 19th century issue, relatively inexpensive, only a few in the set and this can be easily finished, bright colorful printing, filled with big time HOFers including Cap Anson.
This message has been edited by dereb12 on Feb 1, 2009 2:49 PM This message has been edited by dereb12 on Feb 1, 2009 2:47 PM
I still think the meaning of existence is somehow tied to T206s but I understand your arguments which keep you from going for the Monster at this point. But if you do go the 206 route,you will learn much about perseverance and patience, as Frank W. offers out of his own experience.
Given your qualifiers, I must agree with Jeff P. that Fan Craze may well be the way to go. I've been amazed at how reasonable the prices are and since
obtaining the Fan Craze Game from Anthony, I'm even more a lover of the Craze.
best of luck and welcome aboard,
If you want cheap, try the 1936 Goudeys. The set has just 24 players, and no one horribly expensive like Ruth, Gehrig or DiMaggio. But it still has some top notch Hall of Famers like Mickey Cochrane, Hank Greenberg, and Paul Waner. The photos are generally very nice, and the set was issued by one of the great and historic card companies.
It is hard to find a set that can be completed for a moderate price. With that criterion in mind, I would go with the Diamond Stars. If you want some bigger names, there is always the good old W-575's. As far as I'm concerned, the drawback with this relatively affordable set is not that they are "strip cards" (I think they were factory cut) but that they are seldom up for sale. Of course, you could always do what I did: just start buying old cards of famous players. After I had a number of cards, I decided which sets I wanted to pursue and how far I wanted to pursue them.
25 cards, no shortprints, 8 HOFers, major company, fit into standard-size holders.
If you're willing to put more time and $ into it, 1940 Play Ball has a great selection of retired HOFers mixed with current players, and even has manager and umpire cards. Joe Jackson, DiMaggio, and Williams are the only budget-busters, although Foxx, Ott, et al. aren't cheap.
If you have to have a Babe Ruth, 1935 Goudey is the most affordable choice of major sets. 4 players on a card cuts down its desirability for a lot of collectors. Some strip cards and premiums will be cheaper, but the Goudey name carries a certain cachet.
If you're looking for pre-WWI, consider Sweet Caporal P2 pins - even Cobb can be found at reasonable prices in lower grades, and nice specimens of less-popular HOFers are locatable for $50 or less.
For pre-WWI cards, T201 Double Folders are probably the easiest significant set to complete, and they do have a Cobb.
Current Topic - Newb interested in pre-war collecting