We have spent the last 20 years traveling the country, searching through millions of sports cards and hoards of nostalgia, in order to find the extraordinary—those fantastically preserved gems that both defy the passage of time and speak to the rarest, most fantastic moments in sports. Over the next several months we will be offering many of these items for sale on this site, ultimately listing 100 of the very best of what we have discovered. All of the sports cards we offer for sale are accompanied by a “vintage rating,” or synthesis of that item’s popularity, relative scarcity, and population. We also make available a variety of payment options including the acceptance of PayPal and all major credit cards through our merchant account. On most items we also offer flexible payment plans with a modest down payment.
According to most cartephilia experts, the Carl Lundgren (Chicago Cubs variety) is the 8th most difficult card to locate in the T206 series, ranking just behind Demmitt and O’Hara and being nearly equal in scarcity to Elberfeld (Portrait). The reason for the card’s scarcity is that Lundgren was sent down to the minors early in 1909, thus relegating the rest of the print run to the Kansas City variety. This is the hobby’s one and only Mint example. High-grade examples (better than EM) are rarely encountered. A genuine scarcity in the world’s most famous and most collected cigarette card series.
Great mystery and a fair amount of conjecture surround this card—one of only four known specimens. For nearly a century it was thought that the 1910-11 C56 Imperial Tobacco series was complete at 36 cards. Now, it is known that #37 was the last addition. Although some believe #37 Newsy Lalonde was merely a “sample card” shown to prospective vendors it is more likely, by virtue of its imprint on the original lithographic stone, that it was pulled early from production—similar to the T206 Honus Wagner.
The last card from the first nationally distributed hockey series. High grade cards of Edouard “Newsy” Lalonde are quite scarce with only a handful from all period issues grading better than Near Mint. This particular card is the finest of its kind with four sharp corners, bold brilliant color, untoned borders, and tight registration. A genuine pre-war scarcity that has no equal.
The only known “Mint” example from the elusive 1936 World Wide Gum baseball series. This card captures “Dizzy” Dean at the height of his pitching prowess. Dean had just completed a 28-win season, while holding the opposition to a paltry 2.47 runs per game—good enough for a second place finish in the MVP balloting. This is the one and only 1936 World Wide Gum card to be graded “Mint.” The next highest graded example of #19 Dean among all major grading companies is a “Near Mint 7.”
Few 1936-37 World Wide hockey cards of any player could hope to compare with this, the hobby’s #1 specimen. Eddie Shore was one of the all-time greats of the game, winning the Hart Trophy four times, the most for any defenseman. Shore is considered by many to be the best player from the pre-war era.
1950 Bowman Football Uncut Panel Featuring Four Hall of Famers
This amazing 8-card panel has a factory cut along all four edges and the interior cards are all Mint except for #18 Val Jasante. The corners on this 8-card sheet grade a solid NM+ to NM/MT. Included are the following players: #35 Joe Perry (HOF, Rookie), #26 Johnny Lujack, #17 Bob Waterfield (HOF), #8 Mac Speedie (Rookie), #36 Frank Albert (Rookie), #27 Sid Luckman (HOF), #18 Val Jansante, #8 Tony Canadeo (HOF, Rookie). The 1950 Bowman football series employed the use of colored line drawings, produced from a series of original player photographs.
The hobby’s #1 graded example and one of the most difficult post-war football cards to find in pristine condition. This example, bearing an advertisement for “Twin Blony” gum on the reverse side, possesses sharp corners, outstanding color, and fantastic print quality. One of the premier football scarcities from the post-war era. This is the tougher of the two varieties (Twin Blony, Bazooka) with high-grade examples among the scarcest of all football cards ever produced.
The second highest graded example of its kind and one of only several dozen known specimens. The scarce Babe Ruth card was issued as a promotion for Blue Bird grape drink and features advertising for two different company redemptions on its reverse side. Conservatively graded—could have easily been an 8.5.
An unusual, sepia-toned issue from the early 20s and one of Ty Cobb’s most elusive, nationally-distributed baseball cards. This example possesses four sharp corners and could have easily been graded higher. Presently, it represents the highest graded 1923 Willard’s Chocolate card of ANY player. Precipitously scarce in high grade.
One of the key cards in a 56-subject multi-sport series manufactured in Toronto. Due to the poor quality of the cardboard and the relatively thin cardstock, high-grade specimens from this set are quite scarce. This example, graded NM-MT+, is the highest quality V122 encapsulated by any of the major grading companies. Ty Cobb, featured in an unusual fielding pose, batted .338 in 1924 in a dual role as manager and center fielder for the Detroit Tigers.
The hobby’s #1 graded example and the rookie card of Hall of Famer, Yale Lary (pictured here playing for the Texas A&M Aggies). Among all regularly issued and nationally distributed football cards, 1952 Bowman small-sized series is the most difficult set to complete from the last 55 years. In addition to being uncommonly condition sensitive, the second series (numbers 73-144) are in very short supply.
This stunning example possesses four sharp corners, bold brilliant color, a perfect surface, and a Red Cycle reverse. The hobby’s #1 graded T207 featuring popular Cuban player, Rafael Almeida. Almedia was the first Cuban to play in the Major Leagues (he debuted in 1911) and was one of the first ten players to be elected to the Cuban Hall of Fame in 1939.
This yearbook, which may very well be the Athletics’ first, represents their 1902 Championship season. Though there is some minor wear along the spine, the pages are a supple antique white, the staple are tight, and there are no significant defects of any kind. Hall of Fame pitcher, Rube Waddell, is featured on the cover and inside are additional pictures and biographies of Topsy Hartsel, “Socks” Seybold, Lave Cross, Rube Waddell (HOF), Eddie Plank (HOF), Charles Bender (HOF), William Henley, A.J. Coakley, Osee Schreck, Mike Powers, Harry Davis, Daniel Murphy, Monte Cross, Oliver Pickering and Daniel Hoffman. Also featured are Athletics President Benjamin Shibe and Manager Connie Mack.
This unique bread-end label has miraculously withstood not only the test of time but the precarious work that once removed it from the end of a loaf of bread in 1950. It represents Otto Grahams “rookie year” and may very well be the finest known example. Otto Graham led Cleveland to a 10-2 record in 1950 and the NFL Championship game in which the Browns defeated the Rams, 30-28.
1911 M101-2 Sporting News Supplement “Shoeless” Joe Jackson
Though there is some minor wear near the corners and edges, this striking newspaper insert has superb contrast and registration and is among the highest-grade examples known. One of the finest and most popular of all early 20th century large-format baseball pictures. Joe Jackson is shown with the Cleveland Indians of the American League. In 1915, Jackson was traded to the Chicago White Sox and become one of the infamous “eight men out” after his alleged part in fixing the 1919 World Series.
1949 Jimmy Fund Boston Braves Die-cut – Warren Spahn
A rare, die-cut baseball figure distributed on a limited basis during June of 1949. The entire series features 24 different players, among which Warren Spahn is the most valued. Each of the die-cut cards has a fold-out easel on its reverse side that allows it to stand. Each player was distributed in his own envelope with his name and either a red or blue company logo in the upper left corner. Previously uncatalogued subjects include Eddie Stanky (batting pose), Phil Masi (catching), and Bob Hall (pitching).
Comes with the original mailing envelope from the Goudey Gum Company. Pristine condition. Three other cards round out the set: the 1933 Giants team and the 1933 American and National League All-Stars. A popular “premium” baseball card featuring the game’s greatest slugger. Only a handful of truly high-grade examples are known. The back portion of the card (with the stand-up easel) has never been detached or folded.
Known as both a spy and occasional secretive OSS operative, Moe Berg also enjoyed a career as a journeyman catcher for a number of different major league teams during baseball’s golden age. With his Ivy League education, his impressive command of many areas of academia, as well his reputation as a polyglot, Berg was, without a doubt, both the brainiest and strangest man in professional baseball. It should be no surprise then, that one of his hobbies was collecting baseball cards. With the help of his brother Sam, a small collection was amassed and today, 59 cards remain, each of them picturing Moe Berg. This personal baseball card collection, spanning the years 1933-1940, was obtained in August of 2006 from the trustee of Berg’s estate. Each card has been pedigreed and specially numbered and holographically labeled according to year.
A simple fantastic card that maintains four sharp corners, perfect centering, white borders, and superb contrast. We could not imagine a finer example. One of the key cards from American Caramel’s “series of 80 leading baseball stars.” One of only two examples to be awarded a grade of “NM-MT” among all major grading companies.
Lou Gehrig enjoyed one of his finest seasons in 1936, garnering his second MVP award—and the first from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. This fantastic card captures Gehrig at perhaps the zenith of his career and only three years before he would develop ALS and would be forced to retire. The 1936 World Wide Gum issue can probably be most closed associated with the 1936 Goudey in its general appearance although it employees the thicker, clay-based stock that is more common in the U.S. and Canadian Goudey issues from 1933-34. Well centered with four sharp corners and representing perhaps the finest 1936 Gehrig known. Quite limited in its distribution.
The 17 known 1911-12 C55 Imperial Tobacco Hockey Card Proofs
In 1911, Imperial Tobacco turned out its most ingenious artistic undertaking, the C55 series of hockey cards, which is primarily known outside of hobby circles for the inclusion of iconic Hall of Fame goalie, Georges Vezina. Line drawings for the C55s were sourced from the same photographs that were used to create the 1911 Sweet Caporal postcards, although the cards themselves were created through a process called chromolithography.
Seventeen different C55 Proofs have recently been discovered and are now encapsulated by SGC (Sportscard Guaranty, LLC.) and PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator). These distinct cards were created by Imperial Tobacco in Toronto in 1911 to test both the printing process as well as to further refine each card before production. To date, they are the only C55 proof cards known.
They include: #4 Joe Malone (RC, HOF), #6 Tom Dunderdale (HOF), #13 Alex Currie, #17 Jack Darragh (HOF), #19 Don Smith, #22 Larry Gilmour, #26 Skein Ronan, #28 Ernie Johnson (HOF), #29 Jack Marshall (HOF), #30 Harry Hyland (HOF), #31 Arthur Ross (HOF), #33 Gordon Roberts (HOF), #35 Ernest Russell (HOF), #37 James Gardiner (HOF), #38 Georges Vezina (RC, HOF), #40 Rocket Power, and #45 Jack Laviolette (HOF).
Most of the C55 Proof cards have red and black crop marks near one or more corners, although some have printing guides that include blue and yellow. There is also a noted difference in the clarity of each card since proofs were run on a clean lithographic stone, allowing for the proper application of each color with greater precision and registration. The resulting images are much sharper and more vivid than those on a regular card pulled from a pack of cigarettes.
Other distinctions between the proofs and regular-issue C55s include textual differences on the obverse and reverse. In particular, the proof cards of Joe Malone and Tom Dunderdale are missing the line of text on back that indicates where they were born. Other oddities include Art Ross’s proof which has no period after the number on front, Alex Currie’s proof which has no period after his first name on both the front and back, and Jack Laviolette’s proof in which the text is divided differently on the reverse side. There are also a few letters that are shaped differently or have varying widths, such as the “C” and “E” on the back of the proofs of Malone and Dunderdale.
Two of the proofs possess small staple holes near their top borders: #4 Joe Malone and #6 Tom Dunderdale. We can only speculate that these two proofs were among a small group of cards at the beginning of the set that were at one time attached to a display board. Surviving pre-production test boards from Topps perhaps shed some light on this mystery—the test boards usually contained a number of proof or test cards that were presented at company meetings, typically to introduce a new product. Dunderdale and Malone may have been two such test subjects as executives at Imperial Tobacco were getting ready to print the first group of hockey cards in 1911.