In the Mail (July 2021)

In the Mail is a regular feature on the site — generally bi-monthly. Here, I’ll take a look at a handful of my most recent pickups. I won’t be showing everything here, obviously, and the focus is really on showing some of the more unique stuff. I will on occasion show more common cards (i.e. T206, etc.) but really want to focus on some of the more unique or obscure cards that collectors are not as familiar with.

I had a really big last couple of months of pickups leading up to last month’s update, but slowed down a bit last month. That was less planned and more about being on vacation for nearly two weeks. As a result, this version of In the Mail won’t be as exciting as the last few have been. But I still managed to pick up a few cards in June that I wanted to touch on.

This first one isn’t a big one. But it was significant in that it was the final one needed for my E47 American Caramel Jockeys set. I started this quest early this year and it was a relatively light lift.

The set only contains 20 cards and most are affordable, especially in lower grade. I picked up 15 of them all at once and then added the remaining five in individual pickups. This final one represents the stable of Sir J. Astley in England and it was nice to finish this set with relative ease. I really wanted to point this set out again since I’m always being asked for affordable tobacco and caramel card sets. This one qualifies and fits that bill nicely.

Another very small pickup was this soccer card from the 1912 Gallaher Sports set. And while this one didn’t finish a set, it got me very close.

The set includes 100 total cards from a variety of sports. Issued out of the UK, the cards aren’t all that easy to find here in the U.S. in large quantities. But two years ago, I found half of a set and I’ve been chipping away at it ever since. I didn’t anticipate it would ever get complete but, lo and behold, this card finished the soccer card subset and I’m down to needing only four cards in all.

Three of the remaining cards are of Hall of Fame golfer James Braid. Braid’s cards are the most desirable in the set and he’s got a total of ten. The other lone card I need is a cricketer and I’ll be glad to put this set to bed when I can.

Another pickup was also geared towards setbuilding.

I’m casually working on the 1888 N162 Goodwin Champions set. Really, I’m working on all four of the major 19th century champions issues — N162, N28/N29 Allen & Ginter, and N184 Kimball Champions.

The N184s are the hardest to find but the N162s are generally the most expensive. And because there are several baseball stars in it, they’re pursued a good bit. I often am not willing to pay what I need to for these cards but when they are in low-grade condition, they’re pretty affordable.

Such was the case with these three that I picked up — two of the bicyclists and one of the pool players. Always nice when I can add a few of these at a time because I don’t often find affordable ones that I need. These got me to 19/50 for the set, so I’m practically 40% of the way there.

I’ve been picking up a bit more boxing in the past year or so and was thrilled to add this nice, early trade card of the legendary Joe Louis.

While the majority of trade cards date back to the late 1800s or early 1900s, a few were printed beyond that. Such is the case with this one for a product called Wittone tonic. This one has been dated differently by some but is generally believed to have been distributed around 1940.

It pictures a younger Louis and, based on the subtitle, it was printed when he was the world champion. That run lasted from 1937 when he won the title to 1948.

The card is typically not an easy one to find, though if you dig enough, you can sometimes find them on eBay or otherwise.

Non-sports is also something I’ve gotten more into since the pandemic. I don’t have much of a focus in that area — and my only main rule is to buy things I like when I see them.

Often, I’ve gravitated towards historical cards, cards featuring presidents, or American-themed cards. But I’ve often sought out cards of famous people, too.

Graded ones are not necessary but are desirable, in that case. But I found this fantastic PSA 4.5 graded card of the legendary showman P.T. Barnum from the 1911 T68 Men of History set. Barnum has few tobacco and candy cards, and this is one of his more popular issues.

It’s gotten tough, too. You rarely see them offered, though others in the set are not quite as hard to come by. And when you do, sellers are beginning to ask through the moon for them.

Speaking of graded cards, I picked up another one in this 1915 Obsequio de Susini baseball card.

The card is part of a 50-card subset of athletes and is one of three baseball cards. One features Tris Speaker and a second features Red Murray. This one here is a bit unique in that it is not known which players are pictured.

All three of the cards are very tough to find with few graded examples. This is a Cuban set and, thus, not all that easy to find here in the U.S.

A final card I wanted to point out was this 1903 Joseph Tetlow Photo Card.

This card depicts the sport of golf. Featured are two women playing the sport with their representation being from the University of Pennsylvania.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, this is a rare set of only four cards. It is most well known for a Princeton basketball card, also depicting women playing the sport. All of the cards in the set, in fact, picture women. The card is sometimes cited as one that is the first basketball card, though the T51 Williams Murad card typically gets that distinction.

The reason? Well, part of it is that the Tetlow cards aren’t nearly as well known as the Murads. But another reason is that these cards are oversized, measuring about 4″ X 6″. They are often viewed more as small photos instead of traditional sports cards. Still, the cards are all quite desirable. The basketball card is easily the most expensive, selling for a few hundred dollars, typically. The golf card is the next most desirable, ahead of cards representing rowing and fencing.

The cards all look great. And I had no thought of pursuing these until this one popped up on my radar. But having it in hand, it’s only increased my desire to find more and to complete this small set.

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