Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Put Up Your Dukes!

John L. sure did!

I got this card last night, a steal at any price, much less $15, even with the glue damage on the back:
You see, there's a great story behind that glue damage. This card was part of a pretty amazing collection that walked into my local card shop a few weeks ago. A man of about 70 brought in a leather-bound scrapbook he'd put together when he was about 9 or 10. In it, he had pasted newspaper clippings of some sports stories of the time, and further into the book, he'd also pasted a collection of probably about 100 sports cards (baseball, football and boxing), from the '48 and '49 Leaf sets and the '49 Bowman set. We're not talking lightweights here, either, as Ruth, DiMaggio and Teddy Ballgame were all represented on the baseball end of things, Doak Walker was in the football collection, and among the boxers, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson and the great John L. Sullivan (a criminally undervalued card even for its relatively late vintage, considering that "The Boston Strong Boy" was essentially the first American superstar athlete), pictured above, were just a few of the many names I saw.

The cards, aside from the paste jobs on the backs (which, all things considered, weren't the worst I've seen by a long shot) were all pretty well-preserved and meticulously organized (including stencilled team names at the tops of the pages; the stencil was still in the scrapbook, too), especially considering that a kid of 10 or so, in the late '40s did this. It's actually a damn shame that the scrapbook was sold and disassembled after all this time, as it was a gorgeous time capsule and had to be full of memories for the owner, but from a business perspective, the collection would've been near-impossible to sell except by auction, which could've been dicey and a world of hassle.

I'm going to see if I can grab some pictures of the scrapbook later today, or at least encourage them to photograph or scan it for their own site, just because it's the kind of thing that really needs to be seen and preserved to the degree that it can be at this point (obviously, the cards aren't in it anymore, but the book itself is pretty awesome even without them).

(Edit: Behold! The scrapbook can be seen here!)

For those who are curious, I found an intact scan of the Sullivan card back at Dave's Vintage Cards (Anyone ever dealt with them? They have some staggeringly good stuff in inventory according to their site, priced reasonably for the most part...) for those who want to get out the magnifying glass and read what it says. Hopefully Dave won't mind me ganking his scan in exchange for the link.


  1. I love it. I have the smae card only mine has a pin hole in it. I started putting together the whole set but gave up when it got to pricey.

  2. Pinhole, glue or whatever, this is just way too cool of a card not to own.

    How far along did you get on the set?

  3. That's proof that it doesn't have to be baseball to be good.

  4. Indeed it is. I've got plenty of non-baseball stuff (relatively speaking) on tap for the next week or two, but this is kind of a hard act to follow. Stay tuned, regardless. =)


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