The Post War Cards Newsletter #1
Welcome to the first Post War Cards Newsletter! This newsletter features unique, shorter-form content (compared to the blog), and I will release them bi-weekly, every other Thursday morning. Please reach out via email or in the Substack page comments if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover, and happy collecting!
Damaged T206 Honus Wagner
That’s right, I’m starting the first Post War Cards Newsletter writing about a pre-war card. I know someone who would be proud.
There has been a lot of chatter (some negative) around the hobby about the damaged T206 Honus Wagner baseball card that sold in April 2022 for $1.5M at Robert Edward Auctions.
The T206 Wagner owns 4 of the top 10 spots on the most expensive sports trading card sales of all time; however, this $1.5M sale wasn’t even close to making the list.
The card is a classic piece of art at this point, it’s scarce, no doubt, but the demand is through the roof; it’s iconic Americana; both art, and a piece of history, the king of cards. So a high price makes sense, but that wasn’t always the case…
The Sports Collectors Bible, released in 1975, valued the T206 Wagner Pittsburgh card at “just” $1500.
PS: The only two cards that have that level of reverence to me in the post-war hobby are the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle and, to a lesser degree, the 1989 Upper Deck #1 Ken Griffey Jr.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about some hockey card hilarity when in 1971, O-Pee-Chee put two players’ faces on different bodies. In the comments that followed, a collector introduced me to the 1978 Topps #312 Greg Minton card, which is perhaps the most poorly airbrushed sports card in our hobby’s history.
I’ve read that Topps only had a black & white photo of Minton and didn’t want to release it in a color set. So they colorized the card by airbrushing it, giving it the effect of appearing entirely drawn by hand. Perhaps there is a Dutch art museum that could hang up a copy?
1981 Donruss, Rob Picciolo, and Photo Negatives
While scrolling through my Twitter feed, I noticed a collector shared a pair of 1981 Donruss Rob Picciolo cards, one with his first name as Bob and the other corrected with his first name Rob.
In the fall of 1980, I knew that a US court decision was made that Donruss and Fleer could enter the baseball card market and compete with Topps. However, the timing of that decision meant they didn’t have a lot of time to develop the set. I hadn’t realized that Donruss released one of the most error-filled sets ever made in their rush. Most of the 605-card 1981 Donruss set’s errors were corrected on subsequent print runs, and none command a premium. But in researching these cards, I came across an interesting story from a photographer.
I was browsing eBay for Picciolo cards and came across the following image of an autographed photo used for the card, the original negative, and the Rob Picciolo 1981 Donruss card.
The seller/photographer made two of each autographed photo. He gave one to each player, and the player signed one for him. He wrote that he was a photographer for Donruss from 1981 through 1991 and that he took just over 500 of the 600 photos used in the 1981 Donruss set at Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park, and Milwaukee County Stadium. He met with the VP and Art Director of Donruss in the Fall of 1980 and showed them the autographed photos, and they selected a ton of them for the upcoming set.
I wonder if the negative said Bob Picciolo on it back in 1980 (as the photo indicates), and that’s why Donruss made the mistake of putting the name “Bob” Picciolo on the front of the card in the first print run?
The photographer mentioned he went on to work for Pacific Trading Cards from 1993 through 2002, then went back to Donruss in 2003, and then to Topps until he retired in 2010. Unfortunately, Picciolo died in 2018.
Great Hobby Writing
Sports Collectors Daily: 1994 Studio Baseball Takes Collectors in Locker Room, Debuts Numbered Inserts
The Topps Archives: Flame On! And On!
Junk Wax Jay: Into the Abyss: A Collector Sifts Through the Darkness
Not Another Baseball Card Blog: Mount Rushmore - Jays Unsung Heroes
Japanese Baseball Cards: History of Calbee Part 1 - 1973 to 1977
CrazieJoe’s Card Corner: Puzzling Rookies
SABR Baseball Cards: Topps in 1972, Part 10
Wax Pack Hero: 1960 Armour Baseball Coins
And don’t forget to check out my blog, PostWarCards.Com, too
In the News
The Wichita Eagle: Wichita Baseball Card Thief Finds Redemption with Honest - 25 Years Later
DraftKings Nation: Lebron James Triple Logoman Card Pulled on Friday: How Much is it Worth?