1913 Voskamp’s Coffee Set

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Voskamp’s Coffee and Tea
Year 1913
Size 2 1/4″ x 3 5/8″
Images Black and White
Type Coffee
Number in Set

Voskamp’s Coffee and Tea Overview

1913 Voskamp Back13VC Wagner.jpgIn 1913, Voskamp’s coffee and tea products included one of 20 different baseball players as part of a local promotion in Pittsburgh. The company was Pittsburgh-based and the set included only members of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Voskamp’s is mentioned on the back of being a wholesale grocer in Pittsburgh’s downtown area.

That area is still very much one for wholesalers. Today, it is located on the edge of Pittsburgh’s downtown and cultural district and the strip district, which is a large area of vendors and food wholesalers. While Voskamp’s no longer exists, that part of Pittsburgh is still a home for similar businesses.

The cards from the set are very plain with a black and white picture of the various players with their name on the front. Backs include a complete checklist. The cards also state that one card was included in each package of Voskamp’s fancy blend coffee or drawing room tea.

As with other pre-war food issues, if a collector assembled a complete set, he/she could trade it in. Unlike others, however, that usually offered a food item or other type of tangible product, collectors could exchange a set for one reserved seat at a Pirates game in the grand stand of Forbes Field, two general admission seats, or four bleacher seats.

The cards were extremely rare and as recently as 2008, a complete set was not even known to REA when they auctioned off a partial set of nine cards that sold for more than $26,000.

Hall of Famer Honus Wagner is the key to this rare issue. One notable omission is that of Fred Clarke. Clarke, a Hall of Famer, was still very much a member of the Pirates, even though he was barely playing. He remained with the team through 1915 and his absence in this set is kind of weird given that he was a key player for the team for so many years.

Baseball cards were hardly the only promotion offered by Voskamp’s. And interestingly enough, several of their promotions were centered around children. In exchange for purchases of its coffee and tea products, Voskamp’s offered things such as large balloons (greater than three feet tall), manicure kits, and Halloween masks.

Voskamp’s Coffee and Tea Checklist

Here is the complete checklist for the set as presented in order of the card backs (cards are not numbered)

  • Honus Wagner
  • George Gibson
  • Mike Simon
  • Bill Kelly
  • Marty O’Toole
  • Howie Camnitz
  • Claude Hendrix
  • Joe Conzelman
  • Babe Adams
  • Hank Robinson
  • Jack Ferry
  • Dots Miller
  • Jim Viox
  • Bobby Byrne
  • Max Carey
  • Solly Hofman
  • Owen Wilson
  • Ed Mensor
  • Everett Booe
  • Ham Hyatt

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