Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
  eNews Issue #128 (December 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. Set Profile: T4 Obak Premiums
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

December 2014

22Phone/Internet Sterling Sports Auctions (see website for details).

January 2015

10Phone/Internet Memory Lane Winter Auction (see website for details).
14Phone/Internet Hunt Auctions (see website for details).

2. Set Profile: 1911 T4 Obak Premiums

T212 Obak Premium (1911)

1911 T212 Obak
Regular Issue (1910)

Obak cabinet cards profiled here were offered beginning in 1911 as premiums in exchange for coupons found in packs of Obak cigarettes.

Like the smaller and more colorful T212 Obak cards that were distributed as inserts in the cigarette packs, the monochrome cabinet premiums feature players from both the Pacific Coast League and the Northwest League. The premiums (see example at far right) are among the most difficult to find of all 20th century baseball issues.

The player on each premium is enclosed within a 3-1/2 x 5 inch oval frame printed on a 5 x 7 inch card of thin stock using a photographic process.

With a few exceptions, the player images used are the same as those used in the regular issue (both are compared here using an example of Oakland infielder George Cutshaw; curiously, Cutshaw's T212 card can also be found with a flag waving on the flagpole in the background).

The cards are marked with a cross-bat and baseball emblem. In most cases, these are located in the lower left corner although they are sometimes found in the lower right. There is no labeling printed on the cards, making it sometimes hard to identify the player. The card backs are blank.

At least two different Obak coupons (plus variations) are known that relate to the Obak cabinet premiums. Each coupon measures just under three inches square (see examples below, shown reduced about 15-20 percent smaller than actual size). The earlier (green) coupon states that the offer expires December 31, 1911. The offer was clearly extended, as the second coupon (yellow) states that it expires June 1, 1913.

(click on images to enlarge)
The back of the green coupons list the 175 player photos that could be ordered through the premium promotion. The player list could also be obtained on request from the company. The list groups the cards by team and assigns a number to each player.

The cards themselves were not similarly numbered, however, no doubt making it difficult for the company to properly process the cards and for collectors today to identify the names of players they may not recognize.

Because no player identification is printed on the T4 cards, a player number based on the coupon list is often found written in pencil on the T4 backs. To simplify card identification, this pencil labeling may well have been done even before the cards left the producer. Although very much the exception, cards have been reported with numbers printed on the front or with ink pen numbers on the backs. It is these numbers that are now used by collectors to help identify players and develop checklists of known cards.

According to the coupons, premium cards were offered for any of 175 players. To date, however, only about 82 players (less than half the number named in the checklist) have been verified for the T4 series.

Coupons have been found with varying dates, beginning in 1911 (green), indicating that the premiums were distributed over a span of several years. Known variations in cards for some of the players further indicate a multi-year distribution.

When initailly offered in 1911, fifty coupons were required to obtain the card for one player. However, the number of coupons required was reduced in subsequent years.

The "Base Ball Player Photograph" offered on the 1913 coupon was only one of about three dozen items offered. At that time, the baseball photos required 25 coupons.

Compared with other premiums offered on the 1913 coupon, the baseball player cards were among the premiums that required the fewest number of coupons for redemption. Other items ranged from an "Automatic Reel Tape Measure" (20 coupons) to a "Safety Razor Complete Set" (1200 coupons; equivalent to 48 cabinet cards offered in the same promotion!). A "Major League Base Ball" (300 coupons) and a "Fielder's Glove, Full Leather Lined" (400 coupons) were also offered in the 1913 promotion.

A Set Profile and Player Checklist for the T4 Obak Premium Set, updated to include the most recently discovered cards, is provided on the Old Cardboard website.

A special thanks goes to West Coast collectors Mark Macrae and Doug McWilliams for providing input for this set summary.

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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 Galleries have been added for:
1954   R714-19   Topps Scoop

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.

T-Cards (cont.)
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 group)

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

Sy Berger (1923-2014). Sy Berger, considered the "father of modern baseball cards," passed away last week at the age of 91. A longtime designer and pioneer at Topps Gum Company, Sy is said to have designed the first Topps baseball cards on the kitchen table of his home. His chief legacy is the string of baseball card sets with which he was involved over the decades that followed. Through those sets, he will be well remembered by today's collectors of cards from throughout the mid-to-late twentieth century.

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.