Your Information Resource for Vintage Baseball Cards
  eNews Issue #165 (March 2018)

To All of Our Old Cardboard Subscribers: See News Briefs (Item 4) Below.

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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: 1890s "Pigs Play Baseball" Trade Cards
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.

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March 2018

22Phone/Internet Sterling Sports Auctions (see website for details).
22Phone/Internet Mile High Auction (see website for details).
23Phone/Internet Leland's Catalog Auction (see website for details).
24Internet Love of the Game Auction (see website for details).
24Phone/Internet Goldin Auctions (see website for details).
29Phone/Internet Goodwin & Co. Auction (see website for details).

April 2018

6-8Chantilly, VA CSA Chantilly Show (see website for details).
7Phone/Internet Auction (see website for details).
11-12Phone/Internet Clean Sweep Auctions (see website for details).
13-15Strongsville, OH Ohio Sports Collector Convention (see website for details).
19-20Dallas, TX Heritage Sports Collectibles Auction (see website for details).
20-22San Francisco, CA San Francisco Collectors Show (Tristar) (see website for details).
22Internet BST Auctions (see website for details).
25Phone/Internet Mile High Extra Innings Auction (see website for details).
26Phone/Internet Sterling Sports Auctions (see website for details).
26Internet Bagger's Auctions (see website for details).
27-29Willmington, MA Rich Altman's Boston Show (see website for details).

2. Set Profile: 1890s "Pigs Play Baseball" Trade Cards

These "Pigs Play Baseball" trade cards were originally distributed in the 1890s by Nelson Morris & Company of Chicago. They feature a game in progress complete with a filled stadium in the background at left under a large sign and flag promoting the Nelson Morris meat packing company. Curiously, the products being promoted on the cards are the company's several brands of cooking lard, a key by-product of pigs.

The cards measure 3-3/8 by 6-1/4 inchs and are printed in full color. Visible fencing behind the third base line promotes one of five Nelson Morris brands of lard. A scoreboard on the right side of the card shows that after eight innings of play the home team is leading its "Competitors" by a score of 31 to 0! An example card promoting the company's Daisy Brand Lard is shown below.

The Nelson Morris cards are cataloged by veteran baseball trade card collector Frank Keetz as H804-208. The H804 reference is rooted in the trade card section of the American Card Catalog for "Baseball Comics." Keetz has expanded on this reference to include a group of "single cards without titles." The "Pigs Play Baseball" cards are #208 within that group.

Daisy Brand

The Nelson Morris cards are scarce but not too difficult to find with a little patience, as several seem to show up every year on eBay or other auctions.

Many collectors are unaware, however, of some of the more obscure variations of the cards. Altogether, five different Nelson Morris brands are known to be printed on the fence behind the third base line on the front of the cards, and some of these are very rare. The five brands include: Daisy, Supreme, Kettle Rendered, Lily Leaf and White Leaf. In addition to the "Daisy" example shown above, the additional four brands are illustrated here:

White Leaf Brand

Supreme Brand

Lily Leaf Brand

Kettle Rendered Brand

Of these variations, cards displaying the Daisy, White Leaf and Supreme brands are perhaps the most difficult to find. They are not listed in the third and final edition of Frank Keetz' definitive book "Baseball Advertising Trade Cards" published in 2011. Cards for Lily Leaf and Kettle Rendered brands are listed in Keetz book.

H804-208 Card Backs
(click to enlarge)
All of the card backs (see example at left) display the same message, which is basically a price list for various quantities of several of the Nelson Morris products.

The lard brands identified on the card backs vary a little from the five brand variations printed on the card fronts. Thus, "Old Fashion" and "Purity" brands are listed on the backs while "Daisy" brand is not.

It is also interesting to note that all lard was sold in units of "tierces," a measure of volume virtually unheard of today. One tierce is equivalent to about 42 US gallons, or about 340 pounds of lard.

A date and the prices for a tierce of lard were to be hand written on the backs of the cards (blank in this example). Pricing for smaller packages are shown as a surcharge (add on) to the price for a tierce, and are typeset and printed on the cards.

Nelson Morris

German-born Nelson Morris, the company's founder, arrived in Chicago in 1854 and began working with meatpacker John B. Sherman. Morris started packing under his own name in 1859.

During the Civil War, he sold cattle to the Union armies. Morris's company was one of the original meatpacking companies at the city's Union Stock Yard, which opened in 1865.

By 1873, the company's annual sales were about $11 million. Like other leading Chicago packers such as Swift and Armour, Morris's operations extended across the nation during the last decades of the nineteenth century. The company owned packing plants in East St. Louis and Kansas City, as well as cattle ranches in Texas and the Dakotas. The Morris-owned Fairbank Canning Co. slaughtered more than 500,000 cattle a year by the beginning of the 1890s.

At the start of the twentieth century, Nelson Morris & Co. had nearly 100 branches across the United States and employed over 3,700 people at the Union Stock Yard. By the time the founder died in 1907, annual sales had reached about $100 million. Still a leading American food company at the end of the 1910s, it was merged into Armour & Co. in 1923.

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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 Checklists have been added for:
1949   R406-2   Bowman Gum Regular Issue

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, images of cards missing from our galleries, error corrections and suggestions. Please send all feedback 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

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. News Briefs (A Digest of Recent Hobby Happenings)

Changes at Old Cardboard. Due to a recent hard drive failure and other considerations, we regret to say that we are suspending, at least for now, the distribution of Old Cardboard magazine.

What is Not Changing at Old Cardboard. We will continue to distribute the OC eNewsletter, now on a quarterly basis, during the last month of each calendar quarter (beginning with this eNewsletter, Issue #165). We will also continue to maintain and expand the already massive and very popular Old Cardboard website.

"National" Drawing Closer. With the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland less than five months away, convention hotels are beginning to fill. More information about the show and convention housing is available on the convention website. We look forward to seeing you there.

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.