Non-Players Among the Keys in the 1910 Tip Top Bread Pirates Set
Some of the more valuable cards in the 1910 Tip Top Bread set actually don’t feature players on the team
The 1910 Tip Top Bread set was a tribute to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates ended the 1909 season by winning the World Series of Ty Cobb and his famed Detroit Tigers club. A few sets were dedicated to the Pirates’ winning of the championship and one of those was the 1910 Tip Top set.
Distributed by the bread label’s company, Ward-Mackey, cards from this 25-card set are fairly hard to find. There are usually a couple dozen or so available on eBay at any given time but asking prices are often pretty steep. And even if you find some in traditional auctions with low starting amounts, you can still expect to pay starting prices of about $60-$70 for low-grade commons. Much of that is due to the set’s rarity. The three major grading companies, PSA, SGC, and Beckett, have combined to grade only about 1,000 of these cards total.
While it might seem like the players from the set should be the focal point, cards of the few non-players in the set are actually some of the most desirable ones.
Now, the most valuable card in the set is unquestionably Honus Wagner. Wagner’s card gets top billing and in mid-grade condition, easily a five-figure card. But the only other big name player included, really, is Hall of Fame player/manager Fred Clarke. After that, the set is largely made up of relatively common players.
Those commons are typically outdone by the cards of non-players in the set.
The lone exception to that rule is card No. 2, featuring William Locke, the team’s secretary. His card features him in a suit and tie and, while it’s unique, it’s still generally priced as a common. You can expect to pay starting prices of $60-$70 for that card in low-grade condition.
However, there are two cards of executives in the set and the other is not nearly as inexpensive.
The other executive card features the team’s president Barney Dreyfuss. Cards of team presidents are often not too desirable but because Dreyfuss is a Hall of Famer, collectors are very interested in this card. Part of the reason for that is because, according to Old Cardboard, this is the only known pre-war card of Dreyfuss that exists. Thus, it is popular to Hall of Famers, collectors of Pirates cards, and even just collectors of old cards in general. Even in low-grade condition, his card is usually more than $1,000.
Two other cards of non-players are in the set. And, again, you can expect to pay above common prices for each one.
The first is card No. 24, which features a young boy. The title of this card is “The Tip-Top Boy Mascot.” Shown is a boy wearing a baking uniform with an apron and a hat that reads, ‘The Tip Top Boy.’
It is important to note that this boy was not the mascot for the Pirates. Rather, he is just supposed to be a mascot of sorts for the Tip-Top Bread label. Technically, it is the only non-sports card in the set.
That hasn’t stopped collectors from pursuing it, however. In low-grade condition, it generally starts in the neighborhood of about $250 or so – roughly the cost of about three or four low-grade commons of real players.
The other card of a non-player found in the set is one that depicts Forbes Field, the Pirates’ home stadium at the time.
Forbes Field opened on June 30, 1909 and was located in Oakland on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. With this set issued in 1910, it would have obviously been one of the first baseball cards dedicated to the stadium.
The card has a slightly different layout from other cards in the set. Like the others, it has the standard white borders. But the caption reads, ‘Forbes Field: Pittsburgh National League Base Ball Park.’
Often, cards featuring stadiums are not nearly as sought after as cards of actual players. This one, however, is an exception. In low-grade condition, you can expect to pay a starting price of somewhere around $300-$400 for one.