1907-09 Dietsche PostcardS SetS Highlight Tigers, Cubs

‘It’s In The Details’

Title PC765 Dietsche Postcards
Year 1907-09
Size 3 1/2″ x 5 1/2″
Images Black and White
Type Postcards
Number in Set
59

Overview

001-2Produced from 1907-09, the PC765 Dietsche Postcard set is one of the earliest postcard issues around.

Technically, there are four of these sets. They are classified by Jefferson Burdick in the American Card Catalog as PC765, but it should be noted that Burdick only listed a 1907 set. He either believed all of the postcards were issued in that year (unlikely, since copyright dates on the back extend beyond that) or was simply not aware of the later postcards. While that seems odd, it certainly would have been possible because the 1908 and 1909 postcards are significantly rarer than the initial 1907 offerings.

1907 sets include players from the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs, while the 1908 and 1909 postcards featured only the Tigers. The vertical postcards are all black and white, measuring about 3 1/2″ wide x 5 1/2″ tall.

Cards were issued by A.C. Dietsche, a Detroit-based printer. That would explain the focus on the Detroit Tigers. The Cubs’ inclusion into the 1907 set was likely due to the World Series as those two teams faced off in the postseason that year.

1907 cards are black and white on the front and have a 1907 copyright on the back. One of the distinguishing characteristics of these sets is that no player names are on the fronts to go along with the player image. Backs have a standard postcard backing and include a short player biography. The biographies were unique in that most cards from that era did not include such a biography.

The 1908 cards are Detroit Tigers postcards. Some of the cards have the player’s name on the front, but not all. The easiest way to tell these apart from the 1907 set is to view the copyright date on the back, though that is hardly a full-proof method.

Finally, the 1909 postcards are perhaps the scarcest of all of the Tigers sets. Only a handful of known cards are in this set. For example, several cards in the 1909 set actually have 1908 copyright dates, according to Old Cardboard.

Distribution

For a long time, it was unknown exactly how these cards were distributed. But while we don’t know all of the answers, envelopes have been discovered that give some clues.

The envelope was an original one in which the 1907 cards were distributed. The back was blank but the front advertised these as “Hughie Jennings and his Great 1907 Tigers.”

The envelope stated that there were 15 ‘choice post cards showing members of the Detroit Base Ball Club in action including their aggressive manager.’ It also confirmed the publisher as A.C. Dietsche and produced their address of 83 Woodward Avenue in Detroit Michigan. The envelope also tells us how much these cards were — the entire 15-card set was available for .25.

You might note that 16 cards are usually listed in the 1907 set but that the envelope only advertised 15. The checklist includes two Ty Cobb cards and it is not believed that both were produced as part of the original set. See below for more information.

Ty Cobb Rookie Cards?

1907 Dietsche Postcard Cobb Fielding1907 Dietsche Postcard Cobb BattingThe key cards in the Dietsche Postcard series are unquestionably those of Hall of Famer Ty Cobb. Cobb’s 1907 Dietsche Postcards (he has both a batting and fielding version) are considered by some collectors to be his rookie issues.

One argument against that is that the Dietsche Postcard set was only a regional issue and that such issues confined to such a small geographic area shouldn’t be considered true rookie cards. Another question is if postcards can even be considered rookie cards. But wherever you stand on the issue, there’s no doubt that Cobb’s cards are the most desired in the series and many collectors do count the 1907 cards among Cobb’s rookies.

There are two of them in the set but the two are not equals by any means.

One is probably the one you’ve seen the most — it’s a batting pose. The other is much rarer, featuring Cobb as a fielder instead. While we don’t have exact surviving populations, of course, PSA’s population report makes it pretty clear that the fielding card is a much tougher find. While PSA has graded more than 60 of the batting cards, they’ve graded only 12 fielding cards at the time of this article. Both have identical backs, using the same layout and even the same biography.

That difference is seen in the prices, too. Low-grade batting postcards of Cobb have, like most Cobb cards, shot up in value in the last couple of years. Today, those low-grade cards start around $2,500-$3,000 as a floor. But the fielding card is harder to price, simply because it is not sold nearly as much. One does pop up every now and then for sale. Love of the Game Auctions, for example, sold a modest PSA 2 for 18,000 in 2019.

Cobb is the only player duplicated in the 1907 set. Because the fielding card is much more difficult to find, it is sometimes believed that this card was replaced early in production with the more common batting card. However, I’ve always wondered if one was intended to be a standalone issue. I take a deeper look at that subject here.

1907-09 Dietsche Postcards (PC765) Checklists

As mentioned above, there are four sets of checklists with these cards – three for the Tigers and one for the Cubs. Judging by the PSA pop reports, which have the cards separated by year, the 1909 issue appears to be the scarcest.

1907 Cubs

  1. Mordecai Brown
  2. Frank Chance
  3. Johnny Evers
  4. Art Hoffman
  5. Johnny Kling
  6. Carl Lundgren
  7. Pat Moran
  8. Orval Overall
  9. John Pfiester
  10. Ed Reulbach
  11. Frank Schulte
  12. Jim Sheckard
  13. James Slagle
  14. Harry Steinfeldt
  15. Joe Tinker

1907 Tigers

  1. Ty Cobb (batting)
  2. Ty Cobb (fielding)
  3. William Coughlin
  4. Sam Crawford
  5. Bill Donovan
  6. Jerry Downs
  7. Hughie Jennings
  8. David Jones
  9. Ed Killian
  10. George Mullin
  11. Charley O’Leary
  12. Fred Payne
  13. Claude Rossman
  14. Germany Schaefer
  15. Boss Schmidt
  16. Ed Siever

1908 Tigers

  1. Owen Bush
  2. Ty Cobb (name inside of his shadow)
  3. Ty Cobb (name outside of his shadow)
  4. William Coughlin
  5. Sam Crawford
  6. Bill Donovan
  7. Jerry Downs
  8. Hughie Jennings
  9. David Jones
  10. Ed Killian
  11. Matty McIntyre
  12. George Mullin
  13. Charley O’Leary
  14. Fred Payne
  15. Claude Rossman
  16. Germany Schaefer
  17. Boss Schmidt
  18. Edgar Summers
  19. Ira Thomas
  20. Edgar Willett
  21. George Winter

1909 Tigers

  1. Harry Beckendorf
  2. James Delahanty
  3. Detroit Tigers Team
  4. Tom Jones
  5. George Moriarty
  6. Oscar Stanage
  7. Ralph Works

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