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Baseball Cards and Collectables

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History of Collectable Baseball Cards

The hobby of collecting baseball cards dates from the second half of the 19th century, well over one hundred years ago. Baseball players began to pose for group and individual pictures, much like members of other clubs and associations. Some of these photographs were printed onto small cards similar to modern wallet photos. As baseball increased in popularity and became a professional sport during the late 1860s, a sporting goods store named Peck and Snyder began producing trading cards featuring baseball teams. Peck and Snyder sold baseball equipment, and the cards were a natural advertising vehicle. The Peck and Snyder cards are sometimes considered the first baseball cards. Others consider Goodwin & Co., maker of Old Judge and Gypsy Queen cigarette brands to be the first company to produce baseball cards and other sports cards. The first baseball cards were small by todayís standards, 1-1/2 inches by 2-1/2 inches, and printed on thick cardboard. The Old Judge picture cards were issued from 1886 to 1890 and more than 2000 different baseball cards from that set have been cataloged, not to mention the many cards made for other sports and non sports.

Goodwin & Co. success in marketing baseball cards and other picture cards with their cigarettes lead other tobacco companies to issue sets of their own, and by 1909 to 1911 the American Tobacco Company made the T-206 set with the famous Honus Wagner card. In turn companies in other industries including candy, caramel, and gum makers used baseball cards as premiums to sell their products.

The Topps Company dominated the chewing gum/baseball card industry for years until it lost an anti-monopoly lawsuit in 1980, and in 1981 Fleer and Donruss produced major sets of baseball cards. Not long after that baseball cards became more important than the gum in the packs and sports cards became an industry of itís own. New companies like Score, Upper Deck, and Pacific started making cards and the competition led to the high-tech sports cards we have today with the many different brands of baseball cards being made.

Baseball Cards


Mint Baseball Cards
Derek Jeter Rookie graded by PSA. For more Jeter cards


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