A Rare Mascot Card is One of the T210 Old Mill Set’s Most Interesting
While not discussed much, the Kelly Mascot card is one of the keys to the T210 Old Mill set
When most collectors think of individual cards in the vast sea of barely known minor league players found in the T210 Old Mill set, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the famous card of Shoeless Joe Jackson. After that is probably the valuable card of Casey Stengel.
Beyond that? Most collectors would be left shaking their head trying to identify other cards that stand out above the rest. Truth be told, other than the variances in values for the different series’ (in general, the higher series cards are worth more), there’s little separation for specific cards beyond Jackson and Stengel. Some cards with unique poses or names can sell for a bit more but many of the cards are valued roughly the same.
However, there’s at least one additional card that stands out — a team mascot card.
Now, mascots in the pre-war era were not really the same way we view them today. Today, team mascots are often animals or humans dressed in unique uniforms to represent a particular team. But mascots used to often be young children.
Mascots are rarely seen on actual cards. One of the more well-known ones in a baseball set is probably the one found in the 1910 Tip Top Pittsburgh Pirates set. But even that card wasn’t a team mascot — rather it was a mascot for Tip Top Bread, the company that created the set of Pirates cards honoring their 1909 World Series championship.
But the T210 Old Mill set includes a mascot card for a boy named Kelly (his last name). Kelly was the mascot for the Goldsboro Giants. Kelly is shown wielding a baseball bat and looks to be a young boy of maybe the age of ten or so (eh, my wife always tells me I’m bad at guessing how old children are so maybe not).
According to Baseball Reference, the Giants had three players that reached the majors but only one, Ray Morgan (eight years with the Washington Senators) lasted beyond a cup of coffee.
Kelly did not go on to become some great baseball star. But his card is valuable because it is unique — he is the only mascot featured in the T210 Old Mill release.
Typically, low-grade Series 7 cards where Kelly resides would start in the $50-$100 range. But good luck getting a Kelly card at that price. Even in low-grade condition, it is hard to find for less than $900-$1,000. A modest SGC 3 (though, admittedly, one of the higher grades for the card) sold in a 2015 Heritage Auction for just over $2,150.
And while we know little about this child, a bit more information was discovered in an REA auction. A postcard with the original image for this card was found and it tells us that the child’s initials were H.M. Kelly. That postcard sold in 2018 fetched $8,400, by the way.