History of Sportscards
Football and Baseball are the most popular spectator sports in the United States, and collecting football and baseball cards is a passion for many fans. The first sport cards made were of baseball players in 1869. Baseball cards ruled supreme for about 100 years or so. Cards were inserted in tobacco, candy, or chewing gum as an added incentive to buy those items. Nobody is one hundred percent sure which was the very first baseball card produced, however the hobby of collecting baseball cards dates from the second half of the 19th century, well over one hundred years ago. Goodwin & Co., maker of Old Judge and Gypsy Queen cigarette brands is believed by many to be the first company to produce baseball cards and other sports cards. The first baseball cards were small by today?s standards, 1-1/2 inches by 2-1/2 inches, and printed on thick cardboard. The Old Judge picture cards were issued from 1886 to 1890 and more than 2000 different baseball cards from that set have been cataloged, not to mention the many cards made for other sports and non sports.
Goodwin & Co. success in marketing baseball cards and other picture cards with their cigarettes lead other tobacco companies to issue sets of their own, and by 1909 to 1911 the American Tobacco Company made the T-206 set with the famous Honus Wagner card. In turn companies in other industries including candy, caramel, and gum makers used baseball cards as premiums to sell their products.
Topps started printing sports cards in 1939 during the Great Depression. After the war Bowman made baseball cards from 1948 to 1955. Topps resumed making baseball cards again in 1951. They were the first company to expand their base set to 572 cards in 1960.
Brothers Don and Russell Weiner started their Donruss company in 1954. It was sold a couple of times over the years but is still going strong at present in the sports card manufacturing. Fleer started in 1959. Upper Deck started in 1989.
Like baseball cards, football cards first appeared in the 1800's. The cards were inserted in various tobacco products as a means of advertising.
P.H. Mayo was the first company to produce a football card series in 1894. Of course there was no NFL back then, but there were several college football teams. The Mayo set consisted of 35 players from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.
Whether you are the fan of a certain team, player or college, it is always fun to track down that card that you have been looking for. One card has no specific identification of the player but it is believed to be John Dunlop from Harvard. This card is one of the most sought after cards and is rarely seen. There are less than 10 known copies of this card. It has a book value of $18,000 in Ex-Mt condition.
The 1933 multi-sport Goudy Sport Kings issue included cards of Red Grange, Knute Rockne and Jim Thorpe. It was not until 1948 that the next set of football cards hit the corner drug store. In 1948, both Bowman and Leaf issued football card sets that came with bubble gum in packs. Since then there has been at least one football card set issued per year until today