(More) Expansion Coming to Pre-War Cards

After creating PreWarCards.com, my first go at expansion saw the site go from producing set reviews for the four major sports (baseball, basketball, football, and hockey) to adding four additional sports — boxing, golf, tennis, and wrestling. The next big expansion included the listing of sets from 1940 through 1947, which basically takes us up to the start of the modern era of cards in the post-war era.

Since then, I’ve thought about other opportunities for expansion. While popular, I can’t ever imagine considering all of the soccer and cricket cards, simply because the vast majority of them are international (where finding good information is often tricky) and simply because I don’t know enough about them. But another logical attempt seemed to be try to include sports cards that are listed in the American Card Catalog.

The great majority of these, of course, are already on the site through one of the other eight sports. But other sports sets do exist where one of those sports are not represented. I’ve written about some of these in the past. Most recently, I covered one of the earliest auto racing card sets in the American Tobacco Company’s T36 Auto Drivers release.

Here’s a brief rundown of what to expect with the expansion.

Yeah, so why? Who gives a bleep about track and field or cycling? MOAR TY COBB T206 DISCUSSION, PLEASE.

Mostly because I’m obsessed. I’m not a true completist but I am a set collector so, kind of?

No, honestly, it’s because I want the site to be as complete as possible. The idea, really, is to include as many sets of pre-war sports cards that I can and this, ultimately will make it more complete.

It’s also clear that there is an appetite for the more minor American sports. I’ve seen good reaction to the one-off articles I’ve done for sets featuring some of those and, while most of the traffic here is domestic, the site has so many international sets that it has gained a large following in all sorts of countries. It not only makes sense to try to include more sports but it’s somewhat of a responsibility. At least that is the way I view it.

Baseball cards are my focus but I collect so much more than that. And I know I’m not alone and I want to spread the word about some of these sets before they drift completely out of the consciousness.

What type of sets will be added?

If you’re wondering what type of cards are being added, it’s stuff like the aforementioned T36 set. Stuff that is not already on the site in the set reviews and that is listed in the American Card Catalog.

Why only ACC stuff? The simple fact is that if I tried to include every single soccer, track and field, and cricket set out there, I’d never have time for anything else. There are so many of those sets on an international basis that there are sites specifically geared at just one of those sports.

There is one other disclaimer here. Currently, the site includes a set if it includes even a single card of one of the eight aforementioned sports in it. In other words, it could be a completely non-sports set with a random card of a golfer. Those sets are cataloged here, which is one of the many things that sort of makes this such a large hub and a unique site. However, that rule is changing for the ‘Other Sports’ section. I don’t have the resources to track down every set with a random track and field guy. Or every set with a random cricketer. The sets that will be added will be only sets consisting of all or mostly sports cards.

How many sets will be added?

I flipped through my American Card Catalog recently, page by page, and took a cursory look. Thus far, I saw about 60 sets that are not already listed on the site.

The problem with the ACC, however, is that the descriptions are quite short. So it isn’t always possible to determine if a set is a sports set or not. So I imagine that more exist that will be added as time goes by. For now, I’d say something like 50-75 sets should be added.

What sports will be included?

So, where do you draw the line, right? What’s a sport?

If you go strictly by the ACC, sometimes you’ll see hunting sets or bullfighting sets listed as sports issues. I’ve taken a pass on those. But some sports you will see are things like track and field, auto racing, soccer, lacrosse, cricket, horse racing, yachting, swimming, aviation, cycling, skating, and more. And no, I’m not necessarily in the mood to discuss the nuances of yachting cards vs. the qualifications of bullfighting — a legitimate sport in many parts of the world.

There will be a few more lines drawn. While I’m including jockeys and horse racing, I’m not including things like sets focusing just on breeds of horses, etc. And while I will include some sets on aviation, there aren’t going to be sets of cards that merely include pictures of airplanes. I really want to keep this focused on the actual sports.

What types of cards will be added?

Similar to the rest of the site, the set will include an assortment of cards. Basically, anything that I can find. This not only includes the more popular tobacco and candy/gum cards, but the obscure stuff, too. Bakery cards, Canadian cards, Trade cards, Pins, Publications Cards, etc. If it fits in any ACC designation, the goal is to have it there.

When will these upgrades be completed?

Well, the process has already begun. But like the last two, I’m willing to concede that the upgrades may take some time.

I really had hoped to get the earlier upgrades done soon but they both dragged on. I want to avoid that here but am not going to hold myself to any pointless timeframe. If everything goes well, though, I hope to have them completed by this summer.

Keep in mind, this is more than merely listing a site. When I add a new set to the database here, I research it. I read what I can find about it. I confirm checklists. I list things like dimensions. I check for shortprints. I … you get the point. This is a one-man operation and it’s all done around my regular life, which includes a quite regular job, writing on the side, and trying to keep my wife from attacking me with cocktail forks for buying more cards. Sort of an ‘as I have time for it’ type of deal.

These aren’t often quick and easy exercises and finding sets on some of these more obscure sets can be quite difficult. But I really do hope to get them done at a reasonable pace.

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