Pre-War Bargains: John McGraw Polo Grounds Postcards
A series of postcards featuring Hall of Famer John McGraw are among the cheapest around
Pre-war Hall of Famers have always been hot. But lately, prices for some cards featuring these greats have hit all-time highs. So when you find an early card of a Hall of Famer at a bargain price, you pay attention.
Recently, I picked up a few postcards featuring Hall of Famer John McGraw. McGraw was a solid player in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but he was most known for his managing, where he won three World Series titles and several National League pennants in a long career with the New York Giants.
McGraw tends to be among the cheaper pre-war Hall of Famers by comparison. Still, if you want even one of his more common cards, like any of his four T206 issues, you can expect to pay around $75, even in lower-grade condition. But if you’re looking for something more affordable, a series of postcards might be for you.
Several postcards featuring the Polo Grounds were issued in the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s that featured McGraw, who was the team’s manager. McGraw is pictured on these postcards in a small inset at various spots, depending on the postcard.
Exactly how many variations of these there are I cannot say for sure. But there are several of them that were printed in a number of different years. And because they were issued over so many different years, they are quite plentiful and not too difficult to find.
In an effort to try to track these, I’ve listed the ones I’ve seen below. Additional variations certainly could exist.
Postcards without border
- American Art Publishing Co. with McGraw in upper right corner with blue sky, H.F. & Son on back — Polo Grounds, New York City, Home of the New York Giants left justified in upper left corner
- American Art Publishing Co. with McGraw slightly lower than upper right corner with blue sky, no H.F. & Son on back — Polo Grounds, New York City, Home of the New York Giants right justified in upper left corner
- American Art Publishing Co. with McGraw slightly lower than upper right corner with blue sky, no H.F. & Son on back — Polo Grounds, New York City, Home of the New York Giants all one one line starting in upper left
- Success Postal Card Co. with McGraw in upper right corner — National League Baseball Park, New York in black
- Success Postal Card Co. with McGraw in upper right corner — National League Baseball Park, New York in red
Postcards with white border
- American Art/Finkelstein Art Series with McGraw in upper right corner — Polo Grounds, New York City, Home of the New York Giants in upper right border
- MP Co. with McGraw in middle right — Polo Grounds, National League Baseball Park, New York centered at top in border
These are postcards and not traditional baseball cards, obviously. But that helps keep the price down, as does the fact they were printed so many times.
You can find low-grade copies of these postcards for as little as $10-$15. Ones that have not written on or postally used can be a little more but even those are not much more than $20-$25.
It is important to note that, like many cards, sellers may ask for significantly more for these. I have seen asking prices for them upwards of $40 and $50. But they can be found much cheaper with a little bit of patience.