Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
  eNews Issue #118 (February 2014)

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Welcome to Old Cardboard, the most complete reference resource for information about collecting vintage baseball cards and related memorabilia.  More information about this eNewsletter and its companion website and magazine are found at the bottom of this page.

1. Updated Auction and Show Calendar
2. 1929 W553 Baseball Checklist Downsized
3. Latest Additions to the Website
4. News Briefs (A Digest of Recent Hobby Happenings)

1. Updated Auction and Show Calendar

The following is a summary of vintage card events coming up in the next 30-45 days. For the most current listings on additional vintage card shows and auctions, see the Key Events Calendar on the Old Cardboard website.

Have an event that needs to be on the OC Calendar?

OC eNewsletter Sponsor

February 2014

20Internet Sirius Sportscards (see website for details).
22Phone/Internet RMY Auctions (see website for details).
22-23NY, NY Heritage Sports Platinum Night Auction (see website for details).
25Internet JVSC Auctions (see website for details).
26Phone/Internet Clean Sweep Auctions (see website for details).
26-27Phone/Internet Legendary Auctions (see website for details).

March 2014

1Phone/Internet Small Traditions Auctions (see website for details).
1Phone/Internet Small Traditions Auctions (see website for details).
6Internet Sirius Sportscards (see website for details).
7-9King of Prussia, PA Philly Sports Card & Memorabilia Show (see website for details).
8Internet Brockelman & Luckey Auctions (see website for details).
13Phone/Internet Sterling Sports Auctions (see website for details).
20Phone/Internet Bussineau Sports Rarities (see website for details).
21-23Rosemont, Il Chicago Sun Times Sports Collectibles Convention (see website for details).
27Phone/Internet Mile High Catalog Auction (see website for details).
28-30Strongsville, OH Strongsville Show (see website for details).

2. 1929 W553 Baseball Checklist Downsized

Several details about the obscure W553 strip card set have surfaced in the past several years. The result is a downsizing of the set checklist by 33 percent (from 15 cards to 10 cards) and new insight about the sponsor of the cards and how they were distributed.

As recently as 2008, key hobby checklists showed fifteen cards in the set although five of the players in the checklist have not been confirmed by today's collectors. Recent discoveries and analysis of uncut strips of W553 cards by collector Iggy Gonzales, however, show beyond reasonable doubt that the set contains only ten players.

The five players previously listed in error were Lu Blue, Jimmy Fox, Rabbit Maranville, Bing Miller and Pie Traynor.

An updated Checklist and Set Gallery of the ten currently confirmed players has been added to the Old Cardboard website. The widely used Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards does not currently list the W553 set.

Another 21st-century discovery related to this 85-year-old set surfaced in the Robert Edward Auctions Spring 2009 sale of fifteen unopened packages of "Marble Gum" cards. While the auctioned cards all focus on silent movie stars of the period (see Gloria Swanson example at right), the card designs are all identical to those in the W553 baseball issue.

The auction revealed for the first time the sponsor (or at least the sponsor of the movie star cards) of the set. It also indicated for the first time that at least some of the set were distributed as individually cut cards wrapped by Marble Gum along with slabs of gum in "tempting flavors." The address of Marble Gum is printed on the folded back of each wrapper as "3411 N. 2nd St., Phila., PA." As can be seen in the image, the translucent wrapper allowed the gum buyer to see the subject featured on the card without opening the wrapper.

A bit more ornate than most strip issues, the cards in this set have a simulated frame printed around the player image. The set is among the last of the strip card series, and is also one of the most obscure. It is designated W553 in the American Card Catalog.

Produced in 1929, these unnumbered blank-backed cards provide full-length action poses of the subject players. A facsimile autograph is printed (in black ink) across the bottom portion of the image, along with the player's team and league affiliation printed on two lines using white lettering over a dark background. Remarkably, all ten players in the set except Phillies outfielder Frank "Lefty" O'Doul are now in the baseball Hall of Fame.

Cream (no tint)

Blue Tint

Green Tint

Salmon Tint

Red Tint

The W553 cards are found printed on stock with one of several color tints. Examples of five known tint variations are shown above. Occasionally, two tints are found on the same card, as shown in the Al Simmons card above.

This W553 baseball set is closely related to the larger R316 Kashin Publications series. In fact, most (but not all) of the W553 cards use the same player poses found in the R316 set. All cards in both sets are based on the artwork of baseball photographer Charles Conlon.

As shown in the cards at right for Frank Frisch, the W553 cards are smaller and cropped a little narrower than those in the Kashin set.

A detailed Cross-Checklist that compares the W553 cards with those in the R316 Kashin Publications set, as well as with the W554 and the closely related Leader Novelty issue, is also provided on the Old Cardboard website. Set profiles and card galleries are also provided for the W554 and the Leader Novelty sets.

Note: all card images above are shown at approximately three quarters of their actual size.

OC eNewsletter Sponsor

3. Latest Additions to the Website

We are continually expanding the Old Cardboard website with more set profiles, checklists and card galleries. Recent (past 30-40 days) additions include:

Set Profiles have been added for:
1938   R329   Foto Fun (Clopay)

Set Checklists have been added for:
1929   Leader Novelty Candy Co.
1929   W553   Strip Card Set

Set Galleries have been added for:
1929   Leader Novelty Candy Co.
1929   W553   Strip Card Set

Updating the website with checklists and full set galleries for additional vintage sets is an ongoing project, so check back often to check out the latest additions. There are now many thousands of card images on the website and the list continues to grow every month. We welcome and encourage feedback with checklist additions, card images, error corrections and suggestions. Please send all input to

Beyond the above pages recently added to the Old Cardboard website, we continue to expand and refine our   eBay Custom Search Links to make finding vintage baseball cards on eBay easier than ever. The results of these searches are continuously changing, so check back often to find the most recent eBay listings. Samples of a few of these custom searches are provided below. Hundreds more are provided on the Set Profile pages throughout the Old Cardboard website.

T209 Contentnea
1910 T210 Old Mill
T212 Obak
T213 Coupon
T222 Fatima (Player)
T332 Helmar Stamps
1952-55 Red Man Tobacco

W-Cards (Exhibits)
1921-28 (W461)
PC-Back Exhibits
1929-38 W463 ("4-on-1s")
1939-46 W462 Salutations
1948 HOF Series
1922 "Eastern" Exhibits
1961 Wrigley Field

(more custom searches
by major card groups)

4. News Briefs (A Digest of Recent Hobby Happenings)

Frank Ceresi (1949-2014). We are saddened to learn last month of the passing of vintage baseball collector and researcher Frank Ceresi, after a difficult battle with pancreatic cancer. Frank was a charter subscriber and longtime friend of Old Cardboard magazine, having contributed articles as early as Issue #2 and as recently as Issue #29. Frank is also featured in the Collector's Dugout section of Issue #29 and happened to be the third of more than 70 vintage collectors that we interviewed and featured in a Video Summary of the 2010 National in Baltimore. Frank will me missed by all who knew him. May he rest in peace.

Leaf Flashback. Leaf Trading Cards Company has used vintage baseball cards to help promote its 2014 Legends of the Diamond card sets. While Leaf for this purpose defines "vintage" as cards produced in 1970 or before, they use examples of mostly pre-war cards in their promotions. According to Leaf, "every box contains one vintage graded card of a pre-1970 Hall of Famer or player that should have been; plus one hand-drawn or painted art card." The "chase card" in the release is a graded and signed PSA VG-EX 1952 Topps Mantle. See the Leaf website for further info.

Lyman and Brett Hardeman
Old Cardboard, LLC.

Old Cardboard, LLC. was established in December 2003, to help bring information on vintage baseball card collecting to the hobbyist.  Produced by collectors for collectors, this comprehensive resource consists of three components: (1) Old Cardboard Magazine, (2) a companion website at and (3) this eNewsletter. The Old Cardboard website contains more than 500 pages of descriptive reference information for baseball card sets produced fifty years ago or longer.  Each of these set summaries has a direct set-specific link to auctions and a similar link to 's powerful search engine for further research.  The website also includes a Show and Auction Calendar, an eBay Top 50 Vintage Sellers List, and much more.  As a result, the Old Cardboard website makes a great "Alt-tab" companion for vintage card shoppers and researchers.  Old Cardboard eNews provides current hobby news, upcoming shows and auctions, and updates to the website and the magazine.  It is published around the middle of each month.  For a FREE subscription to the eNewsletter, or for subscription information on Old Cardboard Magazine, please visit the website at  If you find this information resource helpful, please tell your friends.  We need your support and your feedback. Thank you.