Saturday, January 7, 2012

More Christmas Loot, Tobacco Style

So, my last post chronicled my awesome cardboard Christmas presents from others, including the 1955 Bowman Al Kaline card my little sister picked up for me. This post will go over the Christmas cards Santa told me to get for myself.

I stopped by an LCS in Grand Rapids on my way to pick up sis from the airport. The place is called All-Star Sports Cards, and if you're ever around GR be sure to stop in. Lots of great deals on singles, and lots of variety due to about a dozen glass cases leased out for various consignment.

The price was right on this Ryne rookie, and it was one I'd been needing for a while. The corners are pretty rough, but I don't mind.

I picked up these singles randomly because they're cool. Archive Nolan and Shiny Mantle, hell, who could pass those up? The Kaline is a TCMA card, which I had a ton of at some point but never this one. When I was about ten, and a die-hard junk wax collector, my trading friend gave me a whole box of random TCMA cards. If you've traded with me, chances are you've received a few. My friend who gave me these thought they were worthless oddities. I dug them, though. And, really, these were probably the best cards I acquired through my years of busting '91 Fleer and '93 Studio.

Now we're getting to the really good stuff. One of the consignment cases had a stack of various tobacco cards. None featuring baseball players, but very cool nonetheless. I know almost nothing about Wills's Cigarettes, and the internets aren't helping much, but from what I gather Wills's put out a few train sets. I think this one came from somewhere in the '30s. I find this picture especially cool. I've always been more interested in the details of the work itself than in, say, cool pictures of trains. Here we have a dapper engineer pulling the dead man's handle. What's that, you say?

Crap, my scanner censored a side of the card. You should be able to read it still. Basically, if the dapper engineer chokes on his egg salad sandwich, dies, and stops holding this break, it will release and engage the break. Pretty neat.

You might have been thinking boxer here, but, no, Montague Holbein was a famous cyclist and swimmer. But just look at that fine mustache. He could be a turn-of-the-century pugilist with facial hair like that. I haven't seen too many tobacco cards with black borders, so that initially drew me in. But, yeah, Holbein is just too perfect of a feature for a tobacco card to pass up.

The back gives a very concise lesson on Montague. But it didn't really help me track down much info about this card. I know Ogden's made some cinema cards and such, but I can't find any info out there about this set. I found a picture on Wiki's tobacco card page that looks like it's from the same set, but it doesn't say when that set was made. Any help out there would be appreciated. Regardless, a pretty sweet pick up, and I have a hunch that this might now be the oldest card in my collection.

Here's the cream of the crop, for me. I know this probably doesn't seem like the most exciting subject or one that anyone would jump on right away. But I spent ten years as a house painter before starting grad school and becoming a teacher, so this one is perfect for me. I just love the practical absurdity of cards that would give you useful hints. Imagine Montague pulling this out of his cigarettes and then telling his wife, "You'll never postulate what I gleaned about painting from my cigarettes, see."

Pay attention. That there is a good painting tip. I used that when I used to paint, though I didn't really need a shield. I was known for being one of the best cutters around. I didn't use shields or blue tape--all freehand, baby, and my lines were the cleanest. Enough bragging about something I don't even do any more. This card was taped into a top loader that had the date listed: 1927. So I at least know that. I didn't see any other cards from this set, but I'd be interested to learn some more useful tips.

Next time I'm at this shop, you can bet I'll be picking up a few more of these.


  1. I am so addicted to tobacco cards right now and the above cards are absolutely the reason for my addiction. Awesome subjects. Great art. A piece of history from a bygone era. Great finds!

  2. Those are some great cards. I don't know what's cooler, that moustache or that first name, 'Montague'. I like the household hints idea as an insert, it would beat the hell out of some of the subsets in A&G.

  3. I gave my father-in-law a complete set of the Railway Equipment cards a few years ago. The Ogden's card appears to be from 1902.