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  #1  
Old 02-10-2015, 05:00 PM
jefferyepayne jefferyepayne is offline
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Default Ode to Pre-War Football Cardboard

I know there aren't a massive amount of pre-war football collectors out there. Sometimes this is because collectors don't actually know what is available to collect! I've even had conversation with football card dealers who are not aware of all of the pre-war items that are out there and available.

I thought it would be interesting to start a thread to show pre-war sets and items. As I like the history and people stories behind the cards, I'll try to add in a few interesting tidbits about the players and sets they are included in.

Let me start off with the first football card ever produced:





Harry Beecher is the only football card in the 1888 Goodwin Champions set. He was the captain of the undefeated Yale Bulldogs of 1887 and rushed for 66 touchdowns in his three years of college ball.

Beecher was the grandson of Rev. Harry Ward Beecher who was a popular pastor, lecturer, and anti-slavery activist during the 1800s. Rev. Beecher's sister was author Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin.

The football playing Beecher went on to become a sports writer, insurance agent, and retail company executive until he retired and became a farmer at 60 years of age. He lived to be 81 and died in Chicago near where his daughter lived.

Please jump in and add your own pre-war items when you can!

jeff
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2015, 08:55 PM
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Great idea for a thread. I currently don't have anything to add, but I hope others will jump in with some real gems like that Beecher!
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  #3  
Old 02-10-2015, 09:28 PM
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awesome card. and neat piece of history.
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  #4  
Old 02-10-2015, 10:11 PM
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1928 Star Player Candy

Includes many interesting cards including Paddy Driscoll HOF rookie,
Red Grange, and Joe Sternamann cofounder of the Bears. A challenge to find and complete.



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  #5  
Old 02-13-2015, 10:51 PM
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Jesus Carl, this is a drop the microphone kind of picture! Simply incredible, one of my favorite, hardest to find sets

Quote:
Originally Posted by clamendo View Post
1928 Star Player Candy

Includes many interesting cards including Paddy Driscoll HOF rookie,
Red Grange, and Joe Sternamann cofounder of the Bears. A challenge to find and complete.



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  #6  
Old 02-13-2015, 11:31 PM
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Default Some more Packers stuff.....

1930 Stiller and 1936 Wheaties - both with several HOFers!

Angyale
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  #7  
Old 02-14-2015, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Publius View Post
Jesus Carl, this is a drop the microphone kind of picture! Simply incredible, one of my favorite, hardest to find sets
+1000 Joe.

I love this set and Carl is DA MAN.

jeff
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  #8  
Old 02-14-2015, 02:26 PM
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Jeff, great showing on those Packers stars! Did you wind up picking it up as a set since the singles don't come up much? I'm pretty sure I read the theory that they were actually distributed as entire sets in Gridiron Greats as well.

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  #9  
Old 02-14-2015, 09:59 PM
jefferyepayne jefferyepayne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DezHood View Post
Jeff, great showing on those Packers stars! Did you wind up picking it up as a set since the singles don't come up much? I'm pretty sure I read the theory that they were actually distributed as entire sets in Gridiron Greats as well.
I picked up a lot that appears to have come from two separate collectors. I'm still missing a few from the set.

jeff
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  #10  
Old 02-10-2015, 10:15 PM
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1931 Walker's Cleaners Packers

Celebrates the three time Packer champions. Local Green Bay regional issue

Includes many HOFers none more famous than Curly Lambeau


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  #11  
Old 02-11-2015, 07:03 AM
jefferyepayne jefferyepayne is offline
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I've always loved your Star Player Candy set, Carl! For those not familiar with the set, these cards are EXTREMELY hard to find. Known total population for each card is less than five. They were originally called "Anonymous Candy" because nobody knew who made them. There is a baseball set of these as well that you will see more often. A while back there was a find of a complete box of these with cards still in the wrappers. I believe they were all baseball but the box promoted them as Star Player Candy and was from Dockman, Inc. out of Baltimore. Dockman, of course, is known for other baseball card sets as well.

Here are a few of the stars that I have but Carl has the motherlode!


George "Wildcat" Wilson was an All-American halfback at the University of Washington. After graduation, he was enticed by Red Grange to play in Grange's new AFL league Grange was starting with his manager, CC Pyle. Wilson was the star of the Los Angeles Wildcats until the league folded. Wilson then played for three years with the Providence Steam Roller, helping them win the NFL Championship in 1928.

Here is a photo of the Steam Roller championship team:





Eddie Tryon was an All-American halfback at Colgate before playing in the NFL for the New York Football Yankees for one year. He was named 2nd team All-Pro that year before moving on to other endeavors.

SGC designates the year 1925 for Star Player Candy cards but this is believed to be incorrect based upon the fact that some of the players in the set did not play for the organization mentioned on their card until later years. PSA designates the year 1928 which is more likely when these cards were distributed but nobody is certain of this.

As Carl mentions, the Grange and Driscoll are highlights of the set. So are Sternamann and Benny Friedman. The Grange is probably the rarest of all of the Grange cards that exist.

jeff

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  #12  
Old 02-11-2015, 09:31 AM
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Default Great Thread!!

Here is my modest entry, 1935 National Chicle, Bronislau "Bronko" Nagurski!

I know its legend, but I love this story!!



Nagurski was discovered and signed by University of Minnesota head coach Clarence Spears, who drove up to International Falls and arriving watched Nagurski out plowing a field. According to legend Spears asked directions to the nearest town, and Bronko lifted his plow and used it to point in the direction of town. He was signed on the spot to play for the Golden Gophers. Spears admitted he concocted the story on his long drive back to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
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  #13  
Old 02-11-2015, 12:25 PM
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Jeff, were you thinking WWI or WWII?
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  #14  
Old 02-11-2015, 12:53 PM
jefferyepayne jefferyepayne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DezHood View Post
Jeff, were you thinking WWI or WWII?
Good point. Should have been more specific. Usually in cards when people say "Pre-war" and don't specify, they are talking about Pre-WWII.

jeff
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  #15  
Old 02-17-2015, 10:20 PM
clamendo clamendo is offline
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Jeff - There are 13 different Shotwell Ad. Backs


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  #16  
Old 02-17-2015, 10:31 PM
jefferyepayne jefferyepayne is offline
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Quote:
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Jeff - There are 13 different Shotwell Ad. Backs


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Oops, my bad. Thanks for reminding me, Carl.

There ARE 12 Shotwell's but one of them has a variation. The original image on #9 showed Grange in his Bears uniform and it is believed that the Bears and/or the NFL objected to this so the image was changed. Is that your understanding of what happened, Carl?

jeff
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  #17  
Old 02-17-2015, 10:44 PM
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Yes, but time to give the post more umps[
IMG]http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/02/17/5bf525a6606f06413b9fe64cd98df3f0.jpg[/IMG]

Have you seen BOTH Spanish Granges. ...


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  #18  
Old 02-17-2015, 10:46 PM
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  #19  
Old 05-11-2016, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
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Have you seen all THREE Grange's, Carl?





jeff
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  #20  
Old 05-12-2016, 09:47 AM
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Hey guys,

When I acquired the Gelbert estate last year there was an old hairbrush included in the lot. I knew it was some sort of football award based on the center emblem ("UofP 1896"). However it was so nasty I just tossed it aside and thought nothing of it. It sat in my desk drawer for at least a month or so when my wife saw it one day and said the metal looked liked tarnished silver. Knowing absolutely nothing about jewelry, I spent the following weekend polishing it with a cotton ball and Goddard's Silver polish cream. Needless to say the brush is now proudly displayed with my other treasures.

Posted are before and after pics. The inscription along the top are Charles Gelbert's initials (CSGJr.) and along the bottom is his position that year (Left Half Back).

Mark






Last edited by cfhofer; 05-12-2016 at 10:13 AM.
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  #21  
Old 05-12-2016, 10:56 AM
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Nice item! I just googled him - an early pro player as well - he should have been in the Mayo set.
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  #22  
Old 05-12-2016, 11:23 AM
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Thanks John. Penn was not yet at the same caliber of play as Harvard, Yale and Princeton in 1894 - hence their likely omission from the Mayo set. However from 1894-98 they were dominant (arguably second to only Yale).

Gelbert's grandson and I wrote an article regarding Charles Gelbert in the Fall 2015 issue of Gridiron Greats, if interested in learning more about him.
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  #23  
Old 05-14-2016, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfhofer View Post
Hey guys,



When I acquired the Gelbert estate last year there was an old hairbrush included in the lot. I knew it was some sort of football award based on the center emblem ("UofP 1896"). However it was so nasty I just tossed it aside and thought nothing of it. It sat in my desk drawer for at least a month or so when my wife saw it one day and said the metal looked liked tarnished silver. Knowing absolutely nothing about jewelry, I spent the following weekend polishing it with a cotton ball and Goddard's Silver polish cream. Needless to say the brush is now proudly displayed with my other treasures.



Posted are before and after pics. The inscription along the top are Charles Gelbert's initials (CSGJr.) and along the bottom is his position that year (Left Half Back).



Mark













Well many years ago I picked up this lineup card that were inserted in the Philadelphia Inqurer from Ron Barksdale. The closest thing to a championship game was the Thanksgiving day game. In 1895, you are correct Penn was a powerhouse
Out scoring opponents 480-24, they were 14-0 and crushed Cornell in this game 46-2! Interestingly enough Wharton (I assume related to the Wharton School of Business) and your buddy Gelbert are pictured on the Penn side of the ball. I wonder why they didn't play Yale.


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Old 05-14-2016, 01:40 PM
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Carl,

That is a great lineup card. Charles "Buck" Wharton was another Penn All-American in 1895 and 1896. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1963. Below is an 1894 Penn team photo, with Wharton in the back far right.

"I wonder why they didn't play Yale"....Likely because of graduate students playing for Penn.

In 1893 Yale commented after a tightly fought contest that Penn players were "mature married men, age twenty-two to thirty, one with a child eight years old". The Intercollegiate Football Association (where Yale had a heavy influence) made attempts to restrict the use of graduate students at the end of that season, therefore Penn withdrew from the league. In 1894 only six of the eleven Penn starters were students of the College (undergraduates).

Yale didn't play Penn for over thirty years after that 1893 game.


Mark

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  #25  
Old 02-17-2015, 10:46 PM
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Default Ode to Pre-War Football Cardboard

Speaking of Pottsville

I can't get a SGC 96 on a 50s card, Randy Stuckemeyer had a great eye


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  #26  
Old 05-04-2015, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
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Speaking of Pottsville

I can't get a SGC 96 on a 50s card, Randy Stuckemeyer had a great eye


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Thanks Carl - I definitely have an appreciation for the Berry and Ernst cards now. I'm about halfway through the book: http://www.amazon.com/Breaker-Boys-G.../dp/1933060352

Interestingly, Berry's wikipedia page shows a Goudey baseball card: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Berry

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  #27  
Old 07-10-2015, 11:02 PM
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Default Benny Friedman & 1926 Spalding Champion set

I was looking for something new to read and stumbled on Benny Friedman’s biography written by Murray Greenberg. It was great - I highly recommend it. I thought Sammy Baugh was the first great forward passer, so this was definitely an eyeopener for me. The book had lots of great Big Ten and NFL history in there too. Of course, it was from the perspective of Friedman’s career, but you definitely got a feel for who the other great teams and players were at the time. Heck, even the Ironton Tanks were mentioned. From the Chicle set alone, I recall the following players mentioned: Molenda (Friedman's Michigan teammate), Clark, Kenneally, Presnell, Strong, Rockne (coached famous 1930 game against Giants to raise money for unemployment relief during the depression (Giants won 22-0!)), Battles, Edwards, Kelly, Hinkle, Burnett, Nagurski, Masterson (maybe), Hap Moran (matchbooks).

And from a trivia perspective - who knew Red Grange had a brother who played for the Bears? Not me.

Back in post #43, Jeff did a great write up on the Spalding set, but I think it’s really interesting that most (all?) of the population of cards can be traced to relatively recent finds (90 and 96?)

Here is a circa 2005 net54 thread where at least one collector was a little skeptical because the finds were so recent. Are collectors mostly ok with that now?

http://www.net54baseball.com/showthr...t=78201&page=2

I'm guessing I may not be alone, but when I looked over the checklist, I didn't recognize many names. College football was way more popular than the fledgling NFL so it wasn't surprising that for:

PEGGY FLOURNOY, ED GARBISCH, HOMER HAZEL, and SWEDE OBERLANDER

I didn't find any NFL record.

Similarly:

WALTER KOPPISCH, ED MCGINLEY, BO MCMILLAN, HARRY STUHLDREHER, BRICK MULLER, and EDDIE TYRON

had short NFL careers.

Two players contributed to NFL championship teams:

ED WEIR, 3 seasons in NFL incl. the 26 champion Yellow Jacket team

GEORGE “Wildcat” WILSON, 4 seasons in NFL incl. the 28 champion Steam Roller team; For more info on Wilson, see Jeff’s post #6 (different set)

And of course Grange, Nevers, and Friedman (better late than never) went on to the HOF.

Jeff/Carl and everyone have already done a tremendous job posting images, but is there any way I could see the bio backs for Friedman and Wilson? I'd love to read those. Thanks.

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  #28  
Old 07-17-2015, 02:15 PM
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Garbish married daughter of Walter P. Chrysler so he was a man about town after his military service. Ed Weir returned to Nebraska and was a coach and athletic director at the University - I believe there is a stadium named in his honor. Oberlander coached at Ohio State, Dartmouth, and Wesleyan and then became a physician. Muller became an orthopedic surgeon; in 1956 he served as the Head Team Physician for the United States Olympic Team.

Jerry Ford followed a similar path, turning down a pro offer and then coaching at Yale while he got his law degree. Here is Wilson's 26 card and back



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  #29  
Old 07-17-2015, 10:13 PM
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Unfortunately some paper loss makes it hard to read but here is the Friedman Spalding back.



jeff

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  #30  
Old 02-17-2015, 10:53 PM
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GG notebook ... Win one for the Gipper



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  #31  
Old 02-18-2015, 06:52 AM
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Great stuff as always, Carl! I have seen both Spanish Grange's but haven't yet been able to snag the Vidal one. I took a run at one a while back but came up short.

Your Lafayette set is a killer! Have you every seen another one of these cards anywhere?

I forgot about the GG notebooks. Is this the larger size that I mentioned or another size completely? I can't recall.

Saw a GG Nagurski calendar about 3-4 years ago at a show and for whatever reason, didn't snag it. Will probably never see another one.

jeff
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  #32  
Old 02-18-2015, 07:49 AM
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AJ Firestone told me he has seen a few over the years being from that area. They are really tough. It seems anything that is blank-backed or not readily identified on the front or back is a real treasure hunt.


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  #33  
Old 02-18-2015, 07:51 AM
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The notebooks page is larger than the calendar. I paid full price when I bought them but happy now that I did.


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  #34  
Old 02-19-2015, 02:01 PM
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You can't talk about 1920s football cards without covering the iconic Spalding/Sports Co. of America set.

The football set is actually a subset of a much larger multi-sport set produced by the AG Spalding company to promote their products. I believe these cards were distributed along with a scrip that could be used as $$$ to buy Spalding products and equipment. There is a lot more info on this set in Carl's iconic football card book: "Collecting Vintage Football Cards". Anybody collecting vintage football NEEDS this book by the way as it's very comprehensive.

If you go out to ebay you will see a BUNCH of cards from this set available but not many of the football ones. In general they are very difficult to find and some are virtually impossible. There are 14 football cards in the set plus a promotional Red Grange card that was only distributed in an uncut salesman's sample so it is very rare. The cards come with three different backs: blank back, ad back, and bio/stats back with ad backs being the rarest. Besides being distributed in 1926, there are versions that have a 1927 copyright on them as well. This is considered a separate set even though the cards are all the same. The 1927 copyright cards are even more difficult to find.









For many of the stars in this set, their cards pre-date their official rookie cards by years if not decades. I've personally never understood the reasoning behind not designating someone's first card as their rookie card but I suspect it was done through a combination of ignorance about earlier sets, the belief that a rookie card must be nationally distributed by a major set producer, and the TPGs wanting to drive demand for rookie and HOF registry sets by choosing cards with higher populations.

Pre-rookies of note in this set include: Red Grange, Ernie Nevers, Benny Friedman, Harry Stuldreher. All are the first cards ever produced for these players except Grange as it is likely his Shotwell cards and his W590 strip card came earlier.





jeff
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  #35  
Old 02-20-2015, 09:35 AM
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Default Whole Strip

Jeff do you have or have you seen a salesman sample in a full strip, with the grange?? Awesome cards, thanks for the history lesson I had no idea about all the prewar football out there!! I am going to order the book as well.

Thanks Tucker
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  #36  
Old 02-20-2015, 10:24 AM
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I'm enjoying the cards, but I feel like the kid who wasn't picked for the kickball game. I've got nothing!
Larry
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  #37  
Old 02-20-2015, 10:49 AM
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I believe a few uncut sheets have come up for sale during the past 10 years but haven't seen one in a looooong time. I know several of these were cut up and the individual cards were sold which is something I'm not a big fan of doing.

Preserve history, don't destroy it!

jeff
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  #38  
Old 02-23-2015, 08:16 PM
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That Wayne Milner panel is a bear to obtain


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  #39  
Old 02-23-2015, 08:20 PM
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I have seen 1925, 1926, and 1927 Sport Company of America


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  #40  
Old 02-23-2015, 08:50 PM
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Default A break for Jeff and Carl's scanners

These items aren't from catalogued sets, but I think they still have a place in this thread. These pieces are all from the estate of Geoffrey Keyes who was a quarterback at West Point and went on to become a high-ranking commander during WWII.

The first pic is Keyes in 1909 the and the second is the kickoff of the 1910 Army-Navy game.

The third piece is a scorecard from the 1909 Army-Harvard game. Army's Eugene Byrne suffered a fatal neck injury that led to his death a day later.
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  #41  
Old 02-24-2015, 07:21 PM
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They absolutely do, Peter! There are many, many early pro and college stars that don't have cards but have super looking cabinets and vintage photos. Here are a few I have:


Edgar Allan Poe - This 1889 All-American in football was named after his grandfather's cousin ... the famous poet. His brother is in the Mayo football set.


William P. Graves - Yale football player who was an early football coach of the University of North Carolina.


Dutch Sternaman - Co-founder of the Chicago Bears along with George Halas


Willie Heston - Michigan All-American who was an early 1900s pro player. He is in the 1955 Topps AA football card set.


1912 Jim Thorpe with backfield mates Arcasas, Welch, Powell.


Thorpe making a tackle for the Canton Bulldogs.

jeff

Last edited by jefferyepayne; 02-27-2015 at 09:16 PM.
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  #42  
Old 03-04-2015, 09:12 PM
jefferyepayne jefferyepayne is offline
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One of my favorite pre-war players is Ken Strong. He was a 4x First Team All-Pro and 1x Second Team All-Pro halfback. He is most famous for scoring 17 points in the infamous "sneaker game" in 1934 when the NY Giants defeated the Chicago Bears for the NFL Championship while wearing sneakers because the field was icy. Strong is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Most football collectors know his 1955 Topps AA card but nothing more. Here are some of the others cards / items for Strong.


Ultra rare card of Strong from the multi-sport Rogers Peet set. This card is from his days with the Staten Island Stapletons, a now defunct NFL team.


1927 W560 playing card of Ken Strong while at NYU


1934 Diamond Matchbook of Ken Strong


Team photo of NYU football team. Strong second from left in top row.

jeff

Last edited by jefferyepayne; 03-04-2015 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 03-04-2015, 10:36 PM
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TanksAndSpartans TanksAndSpartans is offline
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Wow - great Ken Strong items! A Staten Island Stapletons football card - I had no idea that existed.

Last edited by TanksAndSpartans; 03-04-2015 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 03-06-2015, 10:26 PM
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Ironton Tanks! Now that's how you name a football team.
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Old 03-11-2015, 09:02 PM
clamendo clamendo is offline
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I think 23 ... Probably won't chase the blank backs. I believe there are 1925(2), 1926 Ad(14), 1926 Stat(14), 1926 Blank(14), 1927 stat(3 known), and Red Grange(3 known)


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Old 03-12-2015, 03:51 PM
jefferyepayne jefferyepayne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clamendo View Post
I think 23 ... Probably won't chase the blank backs. I believe there are 1925(2), 1926 Ad(14), 1926 Stat(14), 1926 Blank(14), 1927 stat(3 known), and Red Grange(3 known)


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Thanks Carl. What are the known 1925s and 1927s?

jeff
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Old 03-12-2015, 04:25 PM
clamendo clamendo is offline
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Not too much, I have relayed what I have actually seen. The 25s were blank backed and the 27s where a recent discovery with a copyright date difference.


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Old 03-22-2015, 10:34 PM
jefferyepayne jefferyepayne is offline
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Quote:
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Not too much, I have relayed what I have actually seen. The 25s were blank backed and the 27s where a recent discovery with a copyright date difference.


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How do you know the 25s are actually from 1925 if the backs are blank? Which players are known to have 1927 copyrights?

jeff
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Old 03-23-2015, 08:31 PM
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1927s are on the SGC card registry


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Old 03-23-2015, 08:35 PM
clamendo clamendo is offline
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There are two 25s (non-fb) without blank backs and a letter asking one of the guys for permission to use his image. The letter was dated 1925.


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