New Vintage Nonsports Only Auction

I am starting a Vintage Nonsports Only auction to target a late January / early February 2019 timeframe for the first auction.  The auction will be on the simpleauctionsite platform that many other auction houses currently use.  I’m hoping to have somewhere in the 500-600 lots in the first auction.  To my knowledge, this will be the only Vintage Nonsports Only auction site out there.

In the next 2-4 weeks, the site will be live for registering.  In the meantime, you can contact me if you have anything you’d like to include in the auction.  Items that are always popular include:

  • Complete “N”, “T”, “E” and “R” sets
  • Wrappers
  • Unopened packs
  • PSA/SGC graded single cards and sets
  • Advertising pieces – Cabinets, Posters, etc
  • Tough Typecards

I’ve gotten a number of items consigned already from 3-4 different consignors with many more expected.  Items already in hand for the first auction include the following:

  • Featured items
    • N224 Kinney Military Near Complete set of 589 cards
    • R73 Indian Gum (1933) complete numerical set of 216 cards
    • R69 Horrors of War complete set of 288 cards
    • X-Ray Round-Up complete set of 200 cards, album and unopened pack
  • Numerous “R” near and complete sets
    • True Spy Stories complete set
    • Superman low series 1-48 complete set
    • Lone Ranger near set with highs
    • R773 Indian Gum (1947) complete set
    • War News Bulletin NRMT complete set
    • Civil War News near complete set
    • Topps Wings complete set
  • Numerous “T” and “E” near and complete sets
    • E47 Jockey Colors complete set
    • T85-2 Strollers tobacco near set (92/100)
  • Numerous “N” near and complete sets including
    • N1 Allen & Ginter American Editors Complete
    • N3 Allen & Ginter Arms Complete
    • N15 Allen & Ginter Generals Complete
    • N28 Allen & Ginter Champions – Series 1 complete with all (10) baseball
    • N76 Duke Famous Americans complete
    • N78 Duke Generals booklets near set
    • N79 Duke History of Poor Boys booklets complete
    • N83 Duke River and Ocean Steamers complete
    • N85 Duke Postage Stamps complete
    • N88 Duke Terrors of America complete
    • N124 Duke Presidential Possibilities complete
    • N127 Duke Sea Captains complete
    • N189 Kimball Savage and Semi-Barberous near set (40/50)
    • N554 Finzer Inventors complete
  • Advertising pieces
    • Allen Ginter advertising cabinet photos
    • Kinney Military Die Cut Pieces
    • Goodwin / Old Judge Die Cut Pieces
  • Over 20 Allen & Ginter, Duke, Kinney and Kimball albums—
    some with original mailers
  • Good groups of cards sold as singles and/or lots
    • N99 Battle Scenes
    • N184 Kimball Sports
    • N284 Buchner Jockeys
    • Topps Look ‘N See with Ruth
  • TONS more

I’m offering ZERO commission on consignments through 2019.  The buyer’s commission will be 19% for PayPal/Credit and a 3% discount for cashier’s check/money orders.  As always, you can reach me via email at  I’ve created a twitter account for the auction at  I will tweet photos of new arrivals there and will update it soon with photos of some of the above sets so you can see what’s on the way.

The auction will be reached off of by clicking on the ‘auction’ link.

Stay tuned and check out this thread for updates as they become available……………….

Thanks for your support on this board since 2006 and hoping to offer quality items to quality people into the future………!



2018 National Update

The 2018 version of the National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC) was held in Cleveland from Wednesday, August 1st through Sunday, August 5th.  Setup for the show is on Monday and Tuesday prior to these dates.  This was lucky number 7 as far as Nationals in Cleveland.  Previous Cleveland Nationals were held in 1997, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2014 and this year’s show.  The past few years has seen consolidation of the National into the Chicago/Cleveland markets to be more centralized to the participants.  And, largely because it makes more money for the promoters in those cities.

The 2019 National will be in Chicago followed by 2020 in Atlantic City and no future dates beyond that have been announced although rumors persist that Chicago may become a 3 year home for the National beginning in 2021.  The East and West coast sites seem to be being squeezed out of any possible rotations.

This year’s National proved to me that the hobby is pretty strong.  Although the show is the NSCC, there are some Non-Sports dealers in attendance and some sports dealers who bring nonsports as well.  While there were some in attendance again this year, the number seems to be dwindling recently.  There were probably less than 4-5 dealers who had any real density in nonsports cards and another dozen or so that had a good amount of nonsports.  Much of these dealers tended to have 1950’s-1970’s Topps type of nonsports with few T cards and even fewer N cards.

To me, it seemed like one of the hottest things at the show were unopened wax packs, boxes and cases.  Steve Sabow had a phenomenal case full of nonsports packs and another with even more eye-opening sports packs.

BBCE, the undisputed heavyweight of unopened material and arbiter of the majority of grading packs and boxes and certifying unopened boxes had some incredible boxes and cases with even more incredible prices.  While they were mostly sports boxes and cases, the numbers were just staggering for wax that would have been significantly less even 3-4 years ago.

$110K?  WOW.  Just. WOW.

BBCE always has beautiful graded packs, cellos and boxes.

That 1979/1980 OPC Hockey box was just shy of the $58,900 I paid for my first house.  Let’s see……36 packs or a 1200 square foot house?

The price of mid-1970’s baseball wax packs, boxes and cases is just totally out of control!

Grading was again center stage in Cleveland.  PSA, Beckett and SGC were the primary companies yet again and PSA’s operation dwarfs all the others as usual.  Prices for grading have gone up significantly at the shows over the last 2-3 years and it seems to have done nothing with demand.  The lines at PSA are consistently into the hours to get through while Beckett and SGC  are significantly less.  PSA’s customer service and turnaround times are abysmal and they still continue to be the market leader.  If you can get a batch of cards in through the PSA boondoggle in 3-4 months, you are ahead of most.  SGC has recently completely revamped their website and grading standards to align more closely to the other two in terms of the 1-10 grading scale with half point increments.  The previous world of SGC40, 50, 60, etc is now gone.  Lots of opinions on the new SGC flip have been negative but I’m okay with the revision.  It’s gone from a green flip to a black one with the largest grading number of any of the companies out there.  We will see how it plays out long-term.

Talking with dealers, it seemed like Thursday was a banner day and the overall week was very successful.  There was a lot of money in the room and it seemed to be exchanged pretty frequently.

One of my favorite items in the show was the early 20th century folk art piece that contained a huge amount of Canadian nonsport and sport issues meticulously sewn together to make the beautiful piece illustrated below:

The piece contained baseball, hockey and lacrosse players from early Canadian sports sets and even contained the C55 Georges Vezina hockey card which has always been the most sought after hockey card.

The piece was 15 cards high by 23 cards wide for a total of 345 cards.  A price tag of $1000 was high but probably really fair on it given it’s importance and just the overall craftsmanship of the piece.  Not sure what it ultimately sold for but it went on the first or second day.

I collect both sports and nonsports but this year I’d say I spent about 80% on sportscards.  I just couldn’t find enough N cards to really inch that total up more.  I should have looked more closely at Rhett Yeakley’s assortment of T and N cards but couldn’t get my phone to connect to pull up my Allen Ginter checklist when I was at his booth.  The wifi/cell reception in the IX center is absolutely ridiculous.  You’d think by 2018, these venues would understand the need for connectivity and would boost their services but many arenas and convention centers just do not.

As usual, the food in Cleveland continues to be subpar.  The IX center is an island on one corner of the airport and there’s nothing anywhere really near it.  So you are relegated to either bringing your food or eating the stuff they call food.  In Chicago and Baltimore, you can walk out of the convention centers and get great food in walking distance, so that’s so much better.

I got to see Marty Krim, his always lovely wife Debby, Bill Cornell, Richard Masson, Rhett Yeakley, Tom Ryan, Eric Beachley, Gary May from the U.K., Daniel Hollandbeck, Bill Miller, Lee Behrens, Steve Lucas, Bryan Dwyer and Mark Finn among other folks from the board.  Was able to have a beer with Daniel and Mark one day and Eric the other.  Really the only consistently good thing about the food and beverages in Cleveland.   Saw advertisers from Goldin, REA and Sterling Sports Auctions.  Always good seeing board members and long-time friends at the show.  It’s always one of the highlights.

Looking forward to the 2019 National in Chicago.  Hope to see more board members there next year!  Below is an album with photos from the National.  Some were just pilfered from other’s posts and some I took.  I know some were Todd Riley’s that are on the forum.  There are a number of other National accounts that are very detailed and more specific to nonsports as well.  Check them out!

Typecard Update #3

Well, member_15875 just closed out another group of “N” typecards on ebay with some continued good results.  I think it speaks well of the 19th Century tobacco market right now and a really good tactic of listing a number of tough issues right alongside a number of more common, but clean issues.  The common issues seemed to get some tagalong price increases.

Most of the cards in the nine below couldn’t really be considered ‘scarce’ typecards but would be considered tougher ‘regular’ type issues I guess.  The Duke, Buchner, Kinney, American Eagle and S.F. Hess are arguably the most common of  the (9) cards.  N103 Duke Burlesque Scenes have been getting a lot of love (no pun intended) lately it seems.  When I sold a half dozen or more off last summer/fall, I got in the $60-$100 range.  This seller has been getting those numbers consistently but also into the $130-$150 range.  And his N221 Kinney Jocular Ocular went for $56.  That’s a fair price it seems when the N221 has the tab on it which often seems to have been cut or torn off.  The N282 Buchner Butterfly ($127) and N288 Buchner Police ($219) were in the market of where they generally trade to a little higher for the Police card.  The N324 SF Hess card brought strong money for a really clean copy at $202 and the other three cards (N532 Hard a Port $80, N564 Gravely $77 and N577 George Young Sports card $192) were at or above recent copy sales.

One consistent thing with most of the cards in member_15875’s collection has been good, clean condition on most all the cards.  Few with creases, few with back issues and just generally a good look to all of them.  They have been well-scanned on a flatbed scanner with dark background and both front and back pictures.  It seems as though he’s listed 30-50 at a time.  Typically,  about half of them are ‘common’ type cards for set builders and the rest are cards from sets that aren’t run-of-the-mill.

It’s good to see these prices and see someone bring some of these fantastic cards out of the woodwork.  Word on the street is that the “N’s” are done and he’s moving on to the “T’s”.  Stay tuned for typecard update #4………

Allen & Ginter N1-N44 Population Update

Joe Gonsowski theorized that with 34 small Allen & Ginter sets, 24 of which don’t have a corresponding large format set, the 10x number on graded small cards to large was somewhat skewed.  When looking at small sets with corresponding large format sets, the smaller ratio was, of course, correct. The number wound up at 3.4 to 1 on those 10 small sets v. 10 large corresponding sets. You can see below.

The individual sets are interesting though…..there are 8x more N2’s graded than N36’s which I figured would be lower. On the other hand, there are more N44 World’s Decoration large format graded than N30 small format for a ratio of 0.7 to 1; the only one with a sub-1 ratio.

I also did a ranking by total PSA population by issue, so you can see the most popular issues or most graded issues (in all grades total). No surprise but N28 is far and away the winner in that race with N2 a distant second. And then only three other issues with more than 1000 graded for N11, N20 and N29.

Sorry the above chart is so tough to see.  I have attempted to review the SGC population report but it is WAY tougher to work with than the PSA pop report.  SGC is in the process of updating their website and I’ll revisit the population report when that update is complete.  When I can get good data from SGC, I will present than and then a combined report for both PSA and SGC.


Allen & Ginter PSA Population Analysis

I was curious about the Allen & Ginter N1-N44 sets and the population reports for both PSA and SGC.  I took a little time and analyzed the PSA pop reports for all the sets and looked at them in terms of small format cards (N1-N34) and large format cards (N35-N44).  

There is almost exactly 10-1 small format to large format Allen & Ginter cards graded by PSA. Not sure what the SGC or the combined look will yield, but I’d assume something similar. The large format cards are super tough to find. If you assume that submissions are rational, then the small sized cards are 10x more plentiful. As a collector of all the A&G sets, my totals are about 10x small to large as well (1140/133).

Interestingly, looking at the pop reports, on the small-sized A&G’s, 5’s and 6’s are approximately half of the cards graded. For the larger-sized A&G’s that census drops a notch to 4’s and 5’s. Anyone who’s graded some can probably attest to the difficulty of the oversized cards.

The PSA census of graded N1-N44 cards is outlined in the picture below…….

In addition to the census of graded cards for Allen & Ginter, I also looked at the dates of issuance that PSA claims for the 44 sets.  They are as follows:

1886…..N16, N17
1887…..N1, N3, N9, N35
1888…..N2, N4, N6, N11, N15, N18, N19, N20, N22, N25, N26, N27, N28,
N29, N31, N32, N33, N36
1889…..N5, N7, N8, N13, N14, N24, N34, N38, N39, N42, N43
1890…..N10, N21, N23, N30, N37, N40, N41, N44

Type Card Update #2

Another batch of beautiful cards from (member_15875) just closed out on ebay bringing strong prices for tough material.  Some rarely seen cards continue to leak out of his collection with more to come.  Pictures and prices realized on the cards are outlined below…..

Leading off the group was a clean mid-grade copy of the N9 Belgium Fancy card.  A tough card in any grade but $860.00 was a HUGE price for this card.  I think the last one went for $300-$400, so some strong appreciation on that card and more love lately for the N9 Allen & Ginter flag set with all its variations and back combinations.

A group of three tougher N500 flags went for strong prices as well.  The toughest was the N500 My Sweetheart type that eclipsed $75 with the H. Schwabacher bring near $70 and the Summit Cigarettes bringing $45.

A complete set of (8) N562 Wilson & McCallay “Art Gems” brought a good $293 price tag.  Rarely seen as a set and even rarer to see the envelope they came in.  The singles are seen occasionally on ebay and often with the offer tab cut off.

Tough Types N563, N517, N498 all brought near or over $150 each as well.  And strong prices on tougher, clean,  mainstream cards from Kimball, Lorillard and others.

Looks like the 19th century nonsports arena is heating up.  Stay tuned for Update #3 from the large batch of this seller’s cards up on eBay right now….

Some Cool Things…..Batch #1

Sometimes, the main stream stuff gets a little pedantic, so here are some really cool items that I’ve pulled pictures of from ebay or gotten in other ways.  These items are NOT in my collection, so don’t ask if I want to sell them…would love to have any of them though……

Super African-American Advertising card for Cable & El Padre Cigars from Canada…..these sold on ebay 5-6-8 years ago in the $600-$700 range for the pair.

Premium Card for The Philadelphia Confections set E31 – Game Fowls.  This card was about 12″ by 10″ and was previously in my collection.  It is the only premium card I have ever seen for any of the Philadelphia Confections/Caramels animals sets.

This was a play program that someone had used to glue 6 of the N510 Globe Tobacco celebrities onto.  These cards are super tough to begin with and seeing 6 of them in a single shot was pretty exhilarating.  Unfortunately, being the underbidder was not.  They sold for about $400-$500 on ebay 8-10 years ago.

Stay Tuned……….I’ll have another batch of these down the road!

Victorian Album #1 – Actresses

Maybe 8-10 years ago, I was perusing Abebooks searching for “Tobacco Album” when I came across a homemade album of actresses that had been skinned and pasted ever so neatly into album pages which were lined off by pencil.  The album was in Stockholm, Sweden, for sale by a book shop.  I corresponded with the proprietor and we settled on a price a hair below what he was asking for them.  Within the book of albumen actress cards was also a few pages of Duke, Kinney and Goodwin cards.  My hope was that those cards could be rescued from the pages and I could sell them or use them for trade bait.

The payment was sent and couple weeks later the package showed up at my box.  Inside the album was 57 pages, most of which had 20 skinned actress cards pasted neatly onto the page.  With no backs to speak of, looking through the cards, I think it’s safe to assume that the lion’s share of the cards were Sweet Caporal actress cards with some Duke cards and the occasional Kimball.  In addition to the actress cards and the other cards, five of the skinned cards were political subjects from the 1892 U.S. Presidential election as outlined below:

One page of the chromolithographed cards were Occupations of Women cards from Goodwin/Old Judge.  Cataloged N166A, these 11 cards soaked off the album pages with little to no back damage and looked fantastic.  They were all alone on the 20 quadrant page as shown below:

Maybe they left spaces hoping they could fill up the page with more of these cards.  The backs of them turned out so great and were jet black.  Wish I had some of those pictures to show.  The 57 pages contained over 1000 individual actress photos from cards and was a great reference work.  I ultimately sold the 54 pages or so of the album that weren’t chromolithographed cards to an advanced collector of actress cards to use as a reference book for poses that he might still need.

The album pages, in order as found in the album, can be viewed in a Google Photos Album located HERE

The album was very organized.  In addition to the lined 20-section pages, the first half or so of the book was for titled subjects and they were loosely organized in alphabetical order.   In the center of the book was three pages of the chromolithographed cards.  The back half of the book was for uncaptioned subjects and it also seemed to be organized loosely into head shots, full body shots and any time there were multiple examples of similar subjects such as dresses or multiple subjects or other similarities.  I always wonder who put books like these together when and how they accumulated the cards.

If you’ve collected these cards or the similar Goodwin Old Judge baseball cards from the N172 set, right away you’ll notice that a number of the cards in this collection had the pink hue that a number of the baseball cards have as well.  There were full pages of the cards like this and others just interspersed within individual pages.  The Whitelaw Reid, Benjamin Harrison and Adlai Stevenson shown above were also from this pink subset of cards.  I’ve always heard that there must have been a different chemical used on the albumen processing of the photos to create this type of finish.  In most cases, the pink finish causes the actual photo clarity to be much less clear and significantly lighter than other cards as shown below:

In addition to the US cards, there were other cards from a different set I believed to be of Swedish origin.  The cards from this set were numbered, on a white type, glossy stock and mainly comprised European subjects.  The majority of the scenes were of Stockholm, Sweden with the individual subject cards being of European Leaders and a few actresses.  A selection of these cards is illustrated below:

The only part of the album I have left are the five political cards shown in the initial part of the post.  I’m glad I saved the photos, however, so I could document how the album was constructed.  I love the old victorian scrapbooks–particularly those that have some type of insert cards in them that I collect!

Stay tuned down the road for Victorian Album #2 – Caramel Cards

Advertising Subjects on Common Stock

I always find it interesting when there are tobacco or other cards that have been used to advertise other products in other fields.  Case in point was a recent card I was told about by current 2017 Vintage Nonsportsman of the Year Marty Krim.

The N427 American Eagle actress set is a sepia colored lithographed set likely issued in the late 1880’s to 1890’s.  A subject card is illustrated below:


Similar photography and stock was used for the Purity Cough Drop product and Purity Chewing Gum from the J. Falke company of St. Louis, Missouri.  Some quick research put J. Falke gum production in the 1890 time frame, so the cards were likely issued in a similar time frame as the N427 American Eagle Cards.  Lithographers created these base stock cards to use for multiple manufacturers of goods in many categories and sold them whenever and wherever they could.  The similar-looking J. Falke Purity Chewing Gum card is pictured below:

The one difference I can note is that the stock number “C-729” is on the front of these cards in the lower left.  In many cases, these numbers were used to Identify the stock number for this particular type of cards.  It is not, however, used on the N427 American Eagle Cards.  The checklist for the N427 set numbers some 23 cards as outlined in American Tobacco Cards by Mitchell and Forbes.  They note a dozen cards are captioned with the actress name and eleven are uncaptioned.  The captioned cards include both the Purity example above of Lily Elton and the N427 American Eagle example of Maud Stafford.  In addition to those two subjects, the set also includes Lena Campbell, Mollie Fuller, Sophie Hummel, Lillian Russell, Van Oastan, Flora Walch, Carrie Wallace, Mlle, Weber Lizzie Winner and another subject that was in too poor of condition to name the subject although it was captioned.

If you have any of these cards from either set that aren’t noted above, please let me know or if you have cards from another manufacturer, also let me know.

Stay tuned for other examples from other well-known sets that fall into this “often used” category….

Type Card Update #1

I’m going to attempt to keep up with some type card pricing when good groups come up more for reference than anything else.  It’s always good to know how much items are selling for when you go to buy or sell some of these super tough N500-up type cards.  They so rarely come up for sale, sometimes past pricing isn’t indicative of what they will bring but it’s the only reference we have.

An eBay user (member_15875) recently sold a good deal of 19th century actress cards.  Some were lots of mundane stuff like Sweet Caporal or single lots of Admiral, Virginia Brights and Old Judge.  Others were much tougher cards that are typically what I’d call BOB or Back OBook (borrowing stamp collector’s jargon) cards.  I pulled photos and pricing from a handful to post here for future reference.  Hopefully it helps you out in some capacity.  I think any/all of my posts on this blog are searchable, so if, in the future, you’re curious about what an N665 Our Knocker tobacco card sold for you can search that term on the blog and see previous posts.  I’ll try to remember to title them all “Type Card Update” and whatever number it is.

Some of these cards are super scarce and some are traded more often.  The N427 American Eagle, N611 Queen’s Cup and N657 Kalamazoo Bats cards are more common.  The Kalamazoo Bats, in particular, are also collected because there are Baseball Cards from the same manufacturer and there are a number in the set.  I know of at least a couple collectors actually working on the set of these cards.  Anyway, here are the results for those recent sales in early January of 2018.