1907 A.C. Dietsche Postcards Envelope Sheds Some Light on the Series

The 1907 A.C. Dietsche Postcards were a set believed to have been issued for the World Series between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs. That year, the Cubs swept the Tigers with an interesting distinction. Chicago won the series 4-0 but five games were actually played. Game 1 resulted in a tie after 12 innings, called to darkness. Instead of continuing the game later, the teams simply went on to Game 2.

Two sets of postcards were made — one with Cubs players and the other with the hometown Tigers. They were produced by the A.C. Dietsche company, a Detroit-based printer. These are standard 3 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ black and white postcards featuring real pictures of the players. The set is most well known for the two Ty Cobb cards included, which are sometimes viewed as rookie cards by collectors. But a recent listing on eBay helped shed a bit more light on the series that was issued more than a century ago.

I’m constantly on the lookout for all kinds of stuff on eBay. Not only cards themselves but also supplementary pieces that help us learn more about sets. So when I saw a rare envelope for these postcards, I was immediately intrigued.

The envelope ended up selling for $100 and the seller, Amazing-Adventures, was kind enough to allow me to use the picture here.

In rough shape, the envelope had clearly seen better days. But it included some important print on the front, which was mostly undisturbed — and that was the important thing.

It should be pointed out that the envelope is not one-of-a-kind and it is not a ‘new discovery’. I had never seen one before but they had surfaced in past auctions. Still, I wanted to call attention to it as it is a collectible not often seen.

While a few sets of Dietsche postcards were produced, this one is clearly for the inaugural 1907 set as it touts, “Hughie Jennings and his Great 1907 Tigers.” Whether the later Dietsche postcards had similar envelopes or not, I am not certain.

The envelope adds that 15 postcards were featured in the set and that included Jennings, the manager. That turns out to be essentially confirmatory. The 1907 Dietsche Postcards set technically includes 16 cards. However, two different cards are of the legendary Ty Cobb and one is often believed to have replaced the other. Another possibility that I broached here is that the second could have merely been a standalone issue.

Whatever the case, the set was to contain only 15 cards and a second Cobb card was added later. With the envelope’s help, we can confirm that this was never intended to be a 16-card set, even though that many are technically in it.

Another important fact is that the envelope gives us the price for the postcards. The front states that they were sold for twenty-five cents for the set of 15. That’s somewhat interesting as we can see how much the price increased from that time. Not only to our time today (low-grade commons in the set typically start around $25-30) but also in much earlier times. Jefferson Burdick, author of the American Card Catalog, listed prices in his book. He lists the cards at .25 each at the time of his 1960 publication. The set, which was sold for .25 initially, was worth about $3.75 (perhaps a bit more if he valued the stars at more than the listed prices) a little more than 50 years later.

A less important note gives us Dietsche’s address of 83 Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Of course, I had to look up the address. Nothing great, though. Just an area that has been mostly redeveloped into residential property.

Frankly, I love stuff like this. Not a ton of revolutionary info here but items like these that help shed light on pre-war sets is still great to see.

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