Saturday, February 23, 2019

1905 John Player Riders of the World

It's been two weeks since I hinted at this post, so I supposed I really need to get it out of the way. I have a number of other acquisitions to share, so I need to knock this one off.

The set is the 1905 UK release from John Player & Sons tobacco company called Riders of the World. It is a 50 card celebrating riders from all over the world, from the UK to America and the Caucasus and Sri Lanka.  That last sentence may seem poorly written with it's awkward reference to 'riders', but there is a reason for that.

I acquired this set as part of my horse themed tobacco card collection, but not all of the cards feature horses, as you will see below.

And here they are:

The two cards in the set that don't feature horses.  They should present me something of a dilemma in that they don't really fit into a horse themed collection. But, I am first, and foremost, a set collector. So, they stay in the binder, with their set mates.

The set itself does present the completist in me with another challenge.  There are, at least 6 other versions of this set.  There are three versions issued by John Player: the brown backs seen above, along with a white back and plain back variations.  W.D. &  H.O. Wills issued this set in Australia in 1913 and across the Tasmanian Sea in New Zealand in 1926.  And, finally (as far as I know), United Tobacco issued two versions of this set in South Africa in 1931.  

I really can't see myself trying to acquire a copy of every variation, though I could get one version from each unique country, or perhaps just one English version and one copy of the South African version, which I assume is in Afrikaaner.  For right now, I'll just stick with the one and only expand the number of versions in my collection if I an do so affordably.

What I am listening to: The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore by Billy Bragg and Joe Henry

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Surprise! Baseball!

I was planning on posting about another tobacco card set I got, but it is a 50 card set and I haven't decided yet which cards to scan, so I am going to divert back into something that might actually interest readers: baseball!

I haven't paid much attention to my 1960s Fleer autograph project for over 7 months. The last card I added to my collection was the 1961 Joe Sewell and I posted about it on June 23.  Recently, on a lark, I looked at the eBay store for one of the key autographed card sellers, Mill Creek Sports.  I found two cards on sale for 50% off, making them around $25 each.  Quite coincidentally, one of them was Joe Sewell's brother, Luke:

Sewell enjoyed a 20 year career as a major league player and managed in 10 different seasons. Sewell was a catcher by trade and, if Baseball Reference is to be believed he was about replacement level, totaling 3.8 WAR over his career. Even if you discount is 1939 and 1942 seasons where he played a total of 22 games and hit .125, he still averaged about 0.23 WAR per season. He did catch three no hitters: Wes Ferrell on 4/29/1931, Vern Kennedy on 8/31/1935 and Bill Dietrich on 6/1/1937.

 During that 1942 season with the St Louis Browns he was actually in his second season as manager.  He led them that year to their first winning record since 1929. Two years later, he led the Browns to the AL pennant, only to loose to their Sportsman's Park co-tenant, the St Louis Cardinals.  Since both the Browns and Cards played at the same ballpark, they were never home at the same time.  So, Sewell shared an apartment with Cardinals manager Billy Southworth.  Since they were both in town for the Series, they flipped a coin to see who got the apartment.  Sewell won the toss.

By 1946, the Browns were basement dwellers again and Luke was fired prior to season end.  He faired no better at a second managerial stop in Cincinnati. He took over the helm with 3 games left in 1949 and continued through the 98th game of 1952. He managed a few years in the minors before leaving the game and going into business as owner of Seville Centrifugal Bronze in Akron, Ohio. He retired from business in 1970 and passed away 17 years later at the age of 86.

The other card I picked up was Johnny Mize.

I wrote about Mize when I got a signed version of his 1960 Fleer card. You can find that post here.

So, where am I on adding autographed 1960 Fleer cards?  Here is a chart:

Year Total Cards Possible Have Percentage
1960 79 40 7 17.5%
1961 154 95 19 20.0%
1963 66 66 63 95.5%
Total 299 201 89 44.3%

What I am listening to: Fisherman's Blues by The Waterboys

Monday, February 4, 2019

A Familiar Name

If the baseball card blogosphere is to be believed, one of the most anticipated Topps releases each year is the quirky Allen & Ginter set.  As most of you know Allen and Ginter was a 19th Century American tobacco company that issued a large number of trading card sets during it's short life from 1872 until 1890, when it was part of the multi-company merger that formed the American Tobacco Company.

According to the American Tobacco Cards Price Guide and Checklist book,  A&G produced card series N1 through N68, with 5 designations in that series unused.  What follows are cards from the N32 series, The World's Racers, that was issued in 1888.

These cards are on a nice heavy stock and are all in good shape considering that they are 131 years old.  The backs show a checklist of the subjects of the 50 card series.  Each of the 5 cards above show some level of minor paper loss indicating that they may have been mounted at one time.

Up next: A slightly younger (only 114 years old!) British issue

What I am listening to: Sailing to Philadelphia by Mark Knopfler