1937-39 PC786 Orcajo Cincinnati Reds Postcards Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title PC786 Orcajo Cincinnati Reds Postcards
Year 1937-39
Size 3 1/2″ x 5 1/2″
Images Black and White
Type Postcards
Number in Set

PC786 Orcajo Cincinnati Reds Postcards Overview

PC786 Davis.jpg

The PC786 Orcajo Cincinnati Reds postcards set includes various baseball players. Black and white photos are on the fronts along with identifying player names and the backs include the area for the sender to write his/her message and the recipient address.

Three different advertisers used these images that were produced by Orcajo, a photography company of some sort. The companies using these with their name on them included the Metropolitan Clothing Company, Val Decker Packing, and WHIO radio station. They were also printed without any of those sponsor names as well. On most of those, small font on the back identifies the maker as “Orcajo Photo Art, Dayton, Ohio.” A select few have been found without the Orcajo printing, making for five theoretical types:

  1. No Sponsor (only Orcajo on back)
  2. No Sponsor (no Orcajo on back)
  3. Metropolitan Clothing
  4. Val Decker Packing
  5. WHIO Radio Station

Like T206 baseball cards and other popular sets, not all advertisers printed all postcards. Some of the postcards are exclusive to only one of the three sponsors.

The postcards are relatively rare and you don’t see many large groups of them up for sale. REA had one with 28 of the 39 cards in the set, though.

The set checklist for this issue is still growing. It was once classified as having 37 cards but two more discoveries a few years ago pushed it to 39. Accounting for pose and letter variations, there are 46. And, of course, if you count all of the sponsor variations, there are many more.

Joe DiMaggio and Others

The postcards feature only members of the Cincinnati Reds along with, interestingly, Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees. DiMaggio, born in California, played for the Yankees his entire career so his link to the set isn’t known.

The only real connection to the issue is that DiMaggio played against the Reds in the 1939 World Series. He played well, hitting .313, and was also named the 1939 Most Valuable Player award. Perhaps the company simply wanted to include what was one of the biggest stars in the game. More on a possible link to DiMaggio’s inclusion can be found here.

Finally, one additional thing of note is that Orcajo created other postcards as well. Sports collectors are also in pursuit of boxing issues published by the company. Boxing figures include both Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis.

American Card Catalog Classification Issues

The postcards are classified as PC786 in Jefferson Burdick’s American Card Catalog. One interesting note that has escaped most collectors, however, is that the set actually may have a second classification.

Burdick also notes an issue called H802 in his advertising card section. He called these cards Val Decker Packing Company cards. Putting two and two together, the Decker cards Burdick mentioned could have been these postcards with the Val Decker imprint on them.

Deepening the mystery is that Burdick says there are 16 cards in this set, which is about how many we know of for that issue. Therefore, it might be possible to call the Val Decker cards H802s.

That isn’t a given, though. For one thing, Burdick called those cards a recent issue, which he did for other cards that came out in the 1950s. In addition, it is interesting that Burdick didn’t note that these cards were similar to the Orcajo issues as he did for other sets. Finally, if that was really the designation for these, it seems odd that he wouldn’t have called them a Cincinnati Reds set since all of the postcards featured Reds players. The DiMaggio postcard wasn’t a factor since that is only found without a sponsor imprint on the fronts.

My general sense is that these are not H802 cards but perhaps they are.

PC786 Orcajo Cincinnati Reds Postcards Checklist

Below is a checklist for the Orcajo postcards showing the different sponsor variations known for each. Ones with an ‘X’ in black font are ones I have verified. Those in red are ones believed to exist but are ones I have not verified.

It should be noted that the Standard Catalog of Vintage cards has a few differences to my list. First, the Lombardi postcard is listed there as having variations for Orcajo, Metropolitan, and Val Decker for both types of lettering. In my experience, I have only seen plain-lettered ones with a Val Decker printing and the fancy-lettered ones with Orcajo and Metropolitan.

In addition, that publication lists the Herschberger as having a white-lettered Val Decker version and a black-lettered Orcajo version. However, I have only seen the white-lettered postcards with the Orcajo printing and the black-lettered ones with the Val Decker printing.

I also cannot confirm their listing of the Frey postcards. To date, I have only seen the right foot version with Val Decker and the non-right foot version with Orcajo.

I believe that some of their listings may be incorrect. That is certainly true in the case of Herschberger where the publication only lists a black-lettered Orcajo version and I have seen multiple copies of the Herschberger black-lettered version, all with the Val Decker imprint.

Name Orcajo Metropolitan Val Decker WHIO
Wally Berger X
Nino Bongiovanni X
Frenchy Bordagaray X
Joe Cascarella X
1939 Cincinnati Reds Team X
Allen Cooke X
Harry Craft X X
Kiki Cuyler X
George Davis X
Ray Davis X
Virgil Davis X
Paul Derringer X
Joe DiMaggio X
Linus Frey (right foot in photo) X
Linus Frey (no right foot) X
Lee Gamble X
Ivan Goodman X X
Hank Gowdy X
Lee Grissom X
Willard Herschberger (black letters) X
Willard Herschberger (white letters) X
Al Hollingsworth X X
Al Hollingsworth (portrait looking to side) X
Hank Johnson X
Eddie Joost X
Alex Kampouris X
Ernie Lombardi (letters plain) X
Ernie Lombardi (letters with outline / ‘fancy’) X X
Frank McCormick X X X
Bill McKechnie X
Billy Meyers X X
Whitey Moore (correct image) X
Whitey Moore (Bucky Walters image) X
Lew Riggs X
Edd Roush X
Leo Scarsella (close up) X
Les Scarsella
(half body)
Gene Schott X
Milburn Shoffner X
Junior Thompson X
Johnny Vander Meer (horizontal throwing) X X
Johnny Vander Meer (vertical jumping) X
Bucky Walters X
Bill Werber X
Dick West X
Jimmie Wilson X

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