Baseball Cards - A VALUABLE HOBBY

John Clarkson, of the Boston Beaneaters, was included in Allen & Ginter's 1887 "World's Champions" set of baseball cards. The Library of Congress maintains this rare object as part of the Benjamin K. Edwards Collection of Baseball Cards. Click on the image for a better view.


Duke Cigarette inserts depicted many different subjects, but they were not the first to include baseball scenes and players. That designation—according to the Library of Congress and other sources—goes to Allen & Ginter.  Their "World’s Champions"—of 1887—"is generally acknowledged as the first significant tobacco set issued."

Collecting baseball cards soon became a passion—and ultimately a big business—not just for children but for adults. Honus Wagner—a Hall of Fame shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates—was upset, however, when his picture was used, without his permission, to sell cigarettes.

He unwittingly created the most sought-after card in the world today because of his concerns about marketing cigarettes to children.

Wagner, it is said, demanded that cards with his image—which cost less than a penny to buy—be pulled from production in 1909. As a result, very few of the T206 White Border #366 Honus Wagner cards were ever issued. One of them—which formerly belonged to Wayne Gretzky—reportedly sold for $2.35 million in February, 2007.

Whoever thought that the origins of baseball, and baseball cards, could be so interesting?

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2005

Updated Last Revision: Mar 11, 2018

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"A VALUABLE HOBBY" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2005. Jan 25, 2020.
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