My PC Vintage NON-sport cards subject pictorial and history series.

Mark Anthony

Bench Warmer
An introduction:

First a little background about me and why I collect. I have been a die-hard baseball card collector for over 30 years. My favorite players are Rickey Henderson and Sean Casey. As affordable, in my range, cards of these two players became less and less available (see my statistics in my signature) I wanted to put my passion and energy into another subject that would yield more new cards in my mailbox on a regular basis. I am also part wolf. No seriously, I have always claimed this LONG before it was "cool" to say so. Tattoos and legit spirit animal aside, I figured that there must be a way to connect my hobby and wolves.

I knew of non-sport animal cards but I did not know much, nor was there a great deal of information available beyond a very limited number of popular sets. Many in this hobby are familiar with the "holy grail" of cards, the T206 Honus Wagner. As monumental as that card is though, many less collectors know less about "tobacco" cards in general.

In the mid to late 1800's, arguably around the same time baseball was invented, smoking and the tobacco industry were big business. I did not care to research statistics on quantity sold or money made, but it must have seemed like there were as many cigarette companies as there were baseball card brands in 2005. You have have heard of names like Piedmont, Polar Bear and Old Mill, and even Phillip-Morris got their start in this era.

During this time, a pack of cigarettes were packed in nothing more than tissue paper. Manufactures inserted a cardboard, or at least thicker stock paper in the packs to hold them together and in shape. Advertisements were placed on the thicker card stock, then eventually pictures and presto, a tobacco card.

A "tobacco" card is a bit of a misnomer though. Much like when people say they go roller blading, but in fact do not own a pair or brand name Rollerblades. Cards with pictures and advertisements were quite often packed with coffee, tea, of course gum and candy, and even baking soda (as you will see in later posts) just as often as they were in packs of cigarettes.

A quick search on eBay will enlighten you as to the sheer number of different subjects depicted on vintage non-sport cards. of course there were sports figures, and anything and everything from birds, butterflies, fish, planes, trains, boats, foreign castles, flags of countries, actors, military medals, animals, flowers and the list goes on and on. As I went further down the rabbit hole of animal card sets looking for wolves, the sets became increasing more specialized to include wild animals, zoo animals, farm animals, specifically four legged mammals, and predators. A couple of different manufactures stated their product contained an educational piece. They wanted to depict zoo and foreign animals so their customers who live in big cities could read and learn about animals that they might not ever get to see in real life.

I learned some other interesting things about card manufacturing from this era. As many of the sets were regional or at least the manufacturer did not plan on their customers switching brands, companies would sell the images of both the card fronts and backs to a competitor as soon as two years after they were originally used. Only small changes had to be made to the cards like changing logos and the brand/company name. As cards inserted into products was gaining in popularity and everyone wanted to jump on the band wagon quickly. It was often quicker and cheaper to buy images from a competitor then commission an artist to create a whole new set. We will see multiple examples of cards that are virtually identical save for some minor details in later posts. Another interesting detail is that a lot of the early NON-sport card sets were produced overseas including countries all over Europe, Australia, and even Canada. At least early on, a lot of the bigger sports themed sets were made in the USA. This actually makes sense. In 1910 how often would people from England, let alone America, see German Castles? Or a farmhand, who never would go to a zoo in a big city, see lions and elephants? A common theme that will appear here in several cards, and is the subject material for several sets period, are Aesop's fables. This is probably partly due to the fact that not much was known about wolves then and they were seen as mean or evil that lessons and human characteristics could be learned form all animals.

This led me to decide what I would collect for my wolf card collection. I decided to collect cards that were numbered or listed as part of a set, (no postcards or lithographs) had to have at least part of the card identifying text in English, (a requirement to be graded by PSA) and be strictly about or depict wolves. I did not include cards about the Shepard boy who cried wolf. I actually have wolf cards up to and including 2015 issues. For purposes of this series, I consider (and will only post) "vintage" cards to be up to WWII, 1945.

I will start off the pictorial with a couple of my first wolf cards, before I narrowed down my collecting scope.



I do not know much about the card on the left other than it is was issued around 1890. It is roughly 3X5 and I think depicts the fable of the fox and stork. It was probably issued with either coffee, flour, or some other dry good. I thought it was a wolf and did not know this fable when I purchased this item. A blank back with only the copyright information in small script on the bottom left corner The copyright says 1887, but my research led me to believe this was not issued until three years later. Obvious glue staining on the back.
The post card is from 1912 and is quite literally a post card. I am not a stamp collector, but was told that the cancelled $.01 stamp is probably worth more than the wolf post card itself. The identification indicated that this wolf was in the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. I am impressed with the sharpness of the picture taken for the post card. The detail of the individual straw and around the wolf's eyes is really good for being over 100 years old!

I will update this thread series 2-3 times a week staring with the oldest card I own dating form 1887!

Tal
Wow! Your first wolf card looks great. It is so artistic and it has a story to it. You should continue making cards like these. It is not just a card but it also depicts an animal life. Keep it up.
 

Taliasen

From a pack deep in the north country...
1 (100%)
Wow! Your first wolf card looks great. It is so artistic and it has a story to it. You should continue making cards like these. It is not just a card but it also depicts an animal life. Keep it up.

Umm what? What lead you to believe that I made these cards? Did you even read any of posts? Sounds like you are one of the trolls from overseas that we keep having to kick.
 

bgsmith

Bench Warmer
1910 E26 Dockman & Son Menagerie Gum - Wolf

The first gum wolf card in my collection brings us to another semi-popular card set. Totaling only 24 cards, the 1910 E26 Dockman & Son Menagerie Gum set has a few collectors chasing it. This also happens to be one of my more expensive vintage wolf cards. Even poor condition ungraded cards can sell for as high as $20. Characteristics that make this set popular in the small number of cards in the set (24), the foreign and exotic animals that had not been on a card yet and, and again bright and vibrant colors. Although these cards do have a white border, they have full color backgrounds. Distributed solely in in packs of the branded gum, cards were susceptible to staining. These cards also slightly thinner and on poorer quality stock then other cards from the era. Corners and edges seem to round and fray much easier then their contemporaries. Off-centering is also a huge problem for these gum cards. Of the 88 total cards graded by PSA, he highest rated cards only include 1 PSA 8 and 4 PSA 7s. Only very recently has a variation been discovered. It appears that a basically a whole parallel set was printed that is called a "no-advertisement back." The only difference being that the "Manufactured by..." line is not on the bottom of the card backs. It is unknown how many of these variations were produced. Although it is believed that they are somewhat scarcer then the regular backs. As was commonplace, the cards in this set are UN-numbered. This is one of my personal favorites of my wolf card collection despite it not being in the greatest condition or even a that good of a drawing of a wolf. I like the colors used and just like the card for what it is. I put it in my top 5 favorites of ALL my wolf cards, vintage and modern.

Link to PSA set registry.
https://www.psacard.com/pop/non-sport-cards/1910/e26-dockman-son-menagerie-gum/91423

Link to some eBay auctions, but you cant bid on the no ad back wolf!
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=E26 menagerie gum&rt=nc&_trksid=p2045573.m1684


1910 E26 Dockman & Son Menagerie Gum - Wolf

The first gum wolf card in my collection brings us to another semi-popular card set. Totaling only 24 cards, the 1910 E26 Dockman & Son Menagerie Gum set has a few collectors chasing it. This also happens to be one of my more expensive vintage wolf cards. Even poor condition ungraded cards can sell for as high as $20. Characteristics that make this set popular in the small number of cards in the set (24), the foreign and exotic animals that had not been on a card yet and, and again bright and vibrant colors. Although these cards do have a white border, they have full color backgrounds. Distributed solely in in packs of the branded gum, cards were susceptible to staining. These cards also slightly thinner and on poorer quality stock then other cards from the era. Corners and edges seem to round and fray much easier then their contemporaries. Off-centering is also a huge problem for these gum cards. Of the 88 total cards graded by PSA, he highest rated cards only include 1 PSA 8 and 4 PSA 7s. Only very recently has a variation been discovered. It appears that a basically a whole parallel set was printed that is called a "no-advertisement back." The only difference being that the "Manufactured by..." line is not on the bottom of the card backs. It is unknown how many of these variations were produced. Although it is believed that they are somewhat scarcer then the regular backs. As was commonplace, the cards in this set are UN-numbered. This is one of my personal favorites of my wolf card collection despite it not being in the greatest condition or even a that good of a drawing of a wolf. I like the colors used and just like the card for what it is. I put it in my top 5 favorites of ALL my wolf cards, vintage and modern.

Link to PSA set registry.
https://www.psacard.com/pop/non-sport-cards/1910/e26-dockman-son-menagerie-gum/91423

Link to some eBay auctions, but you cant bid on the no ad back wolf!
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=E26 menagerie gum&rt=nc&_trksid=p2045573.m1684


Thanks for sharing. A very cool collection and a really nice example of early 20th century Americana. After reading your post I did an eBay search and found a number of cards available from the E26 Dockman collection – including the Wolf – but it appears to be in pretty rough shape:

www.ebay.com/itm/1910-Dockman-Son-Managerie-Gum-Animal-Cards-E26-WOLF-Wolf-Non-Sports-Card-0b0/232525076523?hash=item362393182b:g:ViUAAOSwsWpZ4~-O:sc:USPSFirstClass!45069!US!-1:rk:4:pf:1&frcectupt=true

Any idea how many sets of the originals were made? Where were you able to find your Wolf? Thanks in advance.
 

Tonivir

Bench Warmer
All I can say is, this is purely passion and love of the game. Your collection speaks much of yourself tim. Baseball really is interesting sports. I, personallu love this sport. Although, I just started collecting sports cards, this one really is on my list.
 

Mike

TP9 | VC15
85 (100%)
If there is interest in this, I will keep it going!
It looked like those spammers were fairly interested in this thread! Ha!

Seriously, though, I just looked through the pictures of these cards and this looks like a pretty sweet collection. I didn't even realize there were so many wolf cards made, and I have a feeling this is just cracking the surface. I'll definitely give this thread a read. 👍
 

Taliasen

From a pack deep in the north country...
1 (100%)
So 'shelter-in-place" has given me opportunity to resurrect this series. It might not get many view with the sparse few members we have here, but writing these posts is a way to help me reconnect with and remember why I collect what I collect. Plus I also feel that I am sharing my knowledge and helping spread this hobby to others. So to continue with the series, today's highlight is on...

1910 T57 Fable Series "Turkish Trophies"

These were cards that I debated for a while if I should even consider and include them in my "wolf" set. You can read why a "wolf" set in post #1 and see that my including these cards in the set almost contradicts the the rules and guidelines that I said need to be met. These do NOT depict 'just' a wolf nor do they include statistics or a factoid about wolves. They are essentially a pictorial representation of an Aesop fable. Ultimately I did decide to include them in my set though are they represent both a culturally and historically significant period of time in the hobby.

From Roughly 1886-1909 there were effectively NO cigarette cards set that were produced. During this time there were several industrialists that created massive "trusts." Which subsequently brought about the anti-trust laws. In order to dominate market share and control entire industries, individuals like John Rockefeller (oil), Andrew Carnegie (steel), and J.P. Morgan (banking) created monopolies buy buying out their competitors. Monopolies also affected the sports world as well with Albert Spalding consolidating early baseball leagues and being their contracted equipment dealer. He set the price for the supply for the demand he created/owned. Also during this time, Tobacco baron James Duke bought several of his competitors and soon had the biggest names in cigarettes at the time, Allen & Ginter, Gimball, Goodwin and Company, and Kinny all under the umbrella of his American Tobacco Company (ATC). With the ATC securing nearly 90% of all tobacco sales in the US there was no need to advertise and lure customers away from your competitors. No cigarette advertising = no cigarette cards.

It was not until 1909 that the federal government started breaking up these major monopolies to protect consumers and ensure fair competition. It ultimately took over four years to break up the ATC. Starting in 1909, Duke started a massive advertising (cigarette card) campaign to shore up consumer's brand loyalty. He wanted to make sure people knew who was the king of cigarettes in the US. He knew he would eventually lose his monopoly and smaller independent firms in New York were starting to import much cheaper Turkish tobacco blend cigarettes. The product was imported and then re-packaged with ad cards by the New York firms. As much a fable and legend itself now as much as it is fact, is the reason for the choice for one of the ad cards in these Turkish imports. It was widely considered that corporate monopolies were all about big money for the wealthy few owners and that because they were greedy and did not want fair competition, were considered swindlers and not having good morals. So, again according to some legend, Turkish Trophies incorporated Aesop's fables not only as a way to market a cheaper product, but also a passive-aggressive way to take the "moral high-ground" over the ATC monopoly.

The T57 card set is one of the most popular vintage non-sport sets out there. The set totals 100 cards issued in two series. The cards are not numbered other than "Fable Series 1-50" or Fable Series 51-100.". The colored drawings were typical of of lithograph printing technology of the time. The gold borders and larger size than standard cigarette cards quickly identified them from other non-sport Aesop fables cards of the era. There are several, some of which will be highlighted in later posts. The gold border is also a bane for anyone wishing to grade the cards. Chipping and layering are two very common issues with the set. There are actually five "wolf" cards that I have in the set. "The Wolf and the Shepard's" is not pictured here.

Link to a very through gallery of the 1910 T57 Fable Series cards.

There are usually a couple hundred examples listed on bay speaking to their popularity among vintage collectors.
 

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