Sunday, March 13, 2011

Recommended Reading

This card, issued by Tristar in the 2010 Obak issue, pays homage to one of the most important figures in early card
collecting in the U.S. His large collection now resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
with a very small percentage on exhibit that is rotated every few years.

When I'm not adding new cards to my collection, I like to read about the hobby. One of my favorite subjects is the early history of collecting cards. From tobacco issues, to caramel and gum, children of these eras collected and traded small picture cards of actresses, boxers, track stars, Indians and of course baseball players to name a few subjects. By the early 1930's many of the children had returned to collecting the cards from their childhood (This may sound familiar, how many collectors today have returned to the hobby for nostalgic reasons and the rediscovery of their childhood collections). These adults, lead by the work of Jefferson Burdick, formed the building blocks of the organized hobby we know today.

I became interested in finding new information on Jefferson Burdick and one day stumbled upon a web site that has great articles on Jefferson Burdick and other collectors I was not aware of such as, Lionel Carter, Buck Barker and Charles Bray. The site OBC, is a community of collectors that collect and trade vintage sports cards, and has a library page full of historical hobby articles written by George Vrechek. George is a OBC member who also writes for Sports Collectors Digest. His articles are excellent and thoroughly cover the early days of the hobby. During the inception of an organized card collecting hobby most T206 cards sold for a few cents, the famed Honus Wagner booked for $25.00 in the hobby's first price guide, The American Card Catalog.

Other Articles George has written explore letters from collectors discussing trades and hobby news.(Blogging has become the modern equilvalent to the letters Burdick and his contemperaries wrote when working out a trade or to discuss a new Bowman issue). He is also a wealth of information on rare issues such as the Al Demaree Die cuts. This is a site worth checking out and new articles are added every so often.

Another site is a blog that covers rare issues produced by the Topps Co. The Topps Archive is an inexhaustive source of information on rare Topps issues, sports cards and non sports cards. The site juggles various topics, including the early history of the Topps Co. itself. The author examines Topp's first products, such as Topps Play Coins of the World and Topps Magic Photos as well as rare basbeball test issues from the 60's and 70's. This site has introduced me to new issues I was unaware existed. Every post is well written and takes an almost academic approach to how the  subject matter is researched, many times bringing new or unknown information to light. This site is a great resource for collectors of non sports cards, and rare baseball issues produced by Topps.

If you haven't done so, and are interested in the history of the hobby, I recommend checking out these two sites.

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