Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
  eNews Issue #136 (August 2015)

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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. Researcher Traces Exact Date for K-Bats Image
3. Latest Additions to the Website
4. Reader Feedback: "Love Old Cardboard newsletters, but ..."

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

August 2015

26Phone/Internet Hunt Auctions (see website for details).
29Phone/Internet Small Traditions Summer Premium Auction (see website for details).

September 2015

2Phone/Internet Clean Sweep Auctions (see website for details).
10Phone/Internet Sterling Sports Auctions (see website for details).
11Internet Bagger's Auctions (see website for details).
17Phone/Internet Goodwin & Co. Auction (see website for details).
25-27King of Prussia, PA Philly Sports Card & Memorabilia Show (see website for details).
29Phone/Internet Clean Sweep Auctions (see website for details).

2. Researcher Traces Exact Date for K-Bats Image

In a recent blog posting, baseball researcher Tom Shieber takes a detailed look at some photographs used to create the always elusive 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats tobacco cards. Tom's main focus was on several dual-player cards from the K-Bats set.

N690 #27 Irwin/Maul

One of these cards was the [Arthur] Irwin/[Al] Maul card (card #27 in the N690 Checklist on the Old Cardboard website). The card is compared at right with a vintage photo. The two images are slightly different but clearly taken moments apart in the same photo shoot.

In his well documented study, Shieber was able to narrow the dates (to either August 22 or August 23, 1887) that several of the photographs used in the N690 set were taken.

Further, as part of his research on the K-Bats set, Shieber:

  • identified one of the players in the background of the Irwin/Maul photo (curiously, the players in the background do not appear in the N690 card).
  • confirmed that "Lyons" in the Bastian/Lyons card (card #2 in the Checklist) is Harry, not Denny, as indicated in some hobby checklists, and
  • provided full identifications for the "Lyons/Taylor" card (card #33 in the Checklist). "We've known for a while it was Jim Devlin, not Harry Lyons," Shieber told Old Cardboard, "but now we know that the name of the trainer is Tom Taylor, not Billy Taylor, as previously identified."

N690 #2 Bastian/Lyons

N690 #33 "Lyons/Taylor"
(image courtesy
Baseball Rarities)

All of the above discoveries are reflected in the N690 Kalamazoo Bats Checklist on the Old Cardboard website.

In his blog post, Shieber also diverts to a short but interesting biographical profile of Arthur Irwin--one of the most colorful of 19th century players. In addition to his several contributions to early baseball, Irwin is perhaps best known for his mysterious demise just weeks following revelations of his secret and concurrent marriages to two different women.

A full discussion of Shieber's research, along with details about Irvin's colorful life can be found on his Baseball Researcher blog.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Kalamazoo Bats, a cigarette brand manufactured by Charles Gross and Company of Philadelphia, produced several closely related baseball card sets in 1887. All are very rare and much sought-after by advanced collectors.

The Kalamazoo Bats sets are identified in the American Card Catalog as N690 and N693 (team cards). The N690 cards discussed above feature player or multiplayer (but not team) photographs attached to cardboard backing. The unnumbered set now totals 62 cards, although additional players are likely to be found. All cards measure 2-1/2 by 4 inches, a popular size in the nineteenth century known as Carte de Vista, or CDV, for mounting photographs smaller than cabinet size.

The player's name, position and team are placed inside a white panel inside the lower portion of the image. A copyright notice, "Copyright 1887 by Chas. Gross & Co." is found on most (but not all) cards in small lettering just below the image. At the bottom of the card in much larger letters is the promotion "Smoke Kalamazoo Bats."

K-Bats Ad Back (click to enlarge)
Most N690 card backs carry a redemption promotion (see example at right). As seen, the ad-back cards list prizes that were available in return for the cards themselves.

The offer required the redemption of from 15 to 400 cards in exchange for prizes ranging in value from 25 cents to five dollars. This redemption of the cards themselves (rather than coupons) may explain, at least in part, the very small number of surviving cards from the set.

Only four teams are represented on the known N690 cards. The teams include two from New York (the Giants and the Mets) and two from Philadelphia (the Athletics and the Phillies).

A large portion of the N690 cards were produced in vertical format although several use horizontal poses.. The poses include both action and portraits. Of the 62 known cards in the set, 53 are of individual players; 9 cards were produced with two players featured in the photograph.

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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:

A Group (Type-Card) Gallery has been added for cards distributed by publications (M-Cards). Such Group Galleries are listed at the beginning of each Group Index accessible on the navigation bar at the top of each page on the website. They function as "type card" galleries within each major card group. They are intended to help streamline the identification of various card sets and provide a visual path to the Profile pages on the Old Cardboard website for each set. Each card image in the group represents a vintage baseball card set and includes a link to more detailed information about the issue.

Set Checklists have been added for:
1887   N690   Kalamazoo Bats (player cards)
1887   N693   Kalamazoo Bats (team cards)

Set Galleries have been added for:
1887   N693   Kalamazoo Bats (team cards)

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.

R-Cards (Goudey)
1933 Sport Kings
1934/39 Premiums
R314 "Wide Pens"
1933 Goudey
1934 Goudey
1935 Goudey 4-in-1
1936 Goudey
1938 "Heads Up"
1941 Goudey
1941 Play Ball

R-Cards (Bowman)
1948 Bowman
1949 Bowman
1950 Bowman
1951 Bowman
1952 Bowman
1953 Bowman (B&W)
1953 Bowman (Color)
1954 Bowman
1955 Bowman (TV)

(more custom searches
by major card group)

4. Reader Feedback: "Love Old Cardboard newsletters, but ..."

From time to time, we receive inquiries from readers similar to the one quoted below.


Under the email Subject line "Love Old Cardboard newsletters, but not the advertisement emails," one reader wrote:

Is it possible for me to stop receiving the email blasts for auction closings etc., and still receive the monthly eNews? I already get auction reminders from all the auctions; but I don't want to miss the Newsletter.

[name withheld]

[name withheld], thanks for your email.

Constant Contact, our eNews distributor, works from only one address list. Removal requests can be achieved by selecting the appropriate link at the bottom of every email. However, once removed, Constant Contact will not allow us to re-add an address that the recipient has requested to be removed.

Also, we work many hours each month to bring you the best and most current vintage baseball card information available, including the monthly eNewsletter and continuous expansion of the Old Cardboard website. If you are not interested in a specific eBlast, please just take a few seconds and a couple of mouse clicks to delete the unwanted information.

It is the modest revenue from these advertisers that allow us to continue producing the Old Cardboard eNewsletters (which we have provided each month, uninterrupted, for more than eleven years). Please do what you can to support them.

Please also keep in mind that we never distribute more than one email per day (generally only 1 or 2 per week), and that most of our readers find them to be helpful reminders of auctions and other hobby events.

We sincerely appreciate your interest in Old Cardboard and hope that you continue to support our advertisers.

Happy collecting,

We welcome and appreciate questions and suggestions from all readers.

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.