Joe Volpe

Author Archives: Joe Volpe

Joe is a passionate collector and a lover of all things vintage. He graduated with a BA in Finance from Catholic University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Publishing from George Washington University.

HOF Cards From The Forgotten Yankees & Athletics Rivalry

1932-caramel-ruthAs the prosperous days of the Roaring Twenties inched toward conclusion, baseball fans were gifted with an all-time rivalry that played out over a 4-year period from 1927-1930.

It was almost like a final treat to Americans before they would be wreaked havoc upon by the Great Depression that loomed just around the corner after the conclusion of the 1929 World Series.

It was an interesting period for America’s Pastime. Most major cities on the east coast had two professional teams, between the AL and NL, because baseball had not yet garnered as much popularity in the west.

However, these four years saw one of the earliest battles between two teams who were in a quest to become major leagues’ supreme club at the time. 

It was a rivalry between the Philadelphia Athletics and the New York Yankees


1950 Toleteros Joshua Gibson: The Real Holy Grail?

josh-toleteros-gibsonFor me, there’s no more intriguing baseball issue than the Josh Gibson 1950-51 Toleteros card.

Donned as the “Black” Babe Ruth, Josh Gibson is widely believed to be the greatest player never to play in the major leagues.

Owners of the professional baseball teams at the time refused to hire black players.

Although the recording of statistics during the negro league era is perceived as tenuous, Gibson’s talent on the diamond was seen in the exact opposite light; his talent was utterly undeniable.

In this piece, I’ll take a closer look at the career of Josh Gibson and his Toleteros baseball card.

I also argue that Gibson’s card might just be the true ‘Holy Grail’.


The Baseball Card Sets Of The 1940s

41-playball-tedThe 1940s saw a rather sparse issuance of baseball cards, with seven major sets produced.

Card production in the early 1940s was quite slow, which some blame on the lack of supplies (particularly paper and gum). However, things started to return to more normalcy in 1948, following the end of World War II.  

Although there were fewer sets produced in the 1940s, the era still produced some of the most beautiful sports cards of all time. And some, in my opinion, represent the most important cards in the hobby.

I will cover each set by discussing player and set specifics and fun facts for cards; going over the top cards from each set; critiquing set and card aesthetics, and commenting on recent market values for certain cards and grades using PSA’s population reports.

What’s your favorite set from the 1940s?  Let me know in the comment section below.


Ted Williams Cards: Ranking His Best Cards By Decade

Ted Williams is considered by many to be the greatest hitter in the history of baseball.  In the 1941 season, Ted finished with a batting average of .406 and is still the last person to hit over .400 in a season; his career batting average is .344.

There is an old video of a 1995 Discussion Table show on ESPN Classic that Ted did with Tony Gwynn, one of the game’s greatest hitters and the last player to retire with a career batting average of .300 or better.

During this interview, Ted was excitedly rambling on about the science behind hitting and all the variables at play, while Tony was nodding along with a perplexed expression, almost like he was wondering what the hell this old-timer was talking about.

Ted’s mind for hitting seemed to be on another level, which is probably why he’s one of the only players to play professional baseball in four different decades—1930s, 1940s, 1950s & 1960s.

He played from 1939 to 1960. He also has at least one baseball card released in every single decade he played in.  

Therefore, I have prepared a collection of what I think are the four best Ted Williams cards, where each card is from a different decade.  

Be sure to also check our piece discussing five of the most undervalued Ted Williams cards!


Three Vintage Baseball Cards With Cameos In Movie Classics

sandlotI love movies about baseball and there are three movies specifically where I can remember a cameo for three big-time vintage baseball cards. 

The movies: “Needful Things”, “The Sandlot”, and “The Lou Gehrig Story”.  

I know there are others but these are the ones that stand out vividly for me.  In fact, I wonder if anyone had the cards slabbed and maybe even identified as actually being on film;  because, if so,  I’m sure the cards would probably garner a big premium. 

Usually, the more things a card has going for it — grade, scarcity, popularity, career success, iconic stories — the more ways value may be seen in the market.  Even cards that have been a collection of popular figures have shown to sell for more at auction.

Let’s dig into the three movies.

And if you’ve spotted a vintage card in a movie, let us know in the comments at the end of this article!


Lou Gehrig’s 1932 U.S Caramel Card Is A Great Investment

gehrig-us-caramelWhen I think of Lou Gehrig’s best card, six cards come to mind: the 1932 U.S Caramel, the two 1933 Goudeys, the 1933 DeLong, and the two 1934 Goudeys.

Each card is beautiful in its own right and each showcases different qualities that make them alluring to collectors and investors.

However, I’m here to say that Gehrig’s best card for collectors looking to make a long-term investment is his 1932 U.S Caramel card.


Collecting With My Dad: How A Frank Robinson Rookie Card Started Our Love For The Hobby


The 1957 Topps Frank Robinson rookie card is one of the key cards in the set.

I’ve always taken an interest in collecting things. I get it from my father, who first began collecting Lionel trains before transitioning into collecting vintage sports cards.

I remember the first card he bought.  He dropped it on the kitchen counter, right in front of my mom and me, saying “Frank Robinson Rookie. First card; we’re going to start collecting vintage sports cards!” with a content little smile.

That ungraded 1957 Topps Frank Robinson Rookie Card was purchased at a tiny sports card store right outside of the Oxford Valley Mall, tucked away, almost hidden, and unknown to most people in the surrounding area.

The store was right near his office, so he would always make it a habit to go there on his way home from work. He would end up staying for hours, looking at and talking sports cards with the owner. 

It got to the point where he’d call my Mom and say he was “going to Warren’s after work”; Warren was the owner of the card store called “All-Star Collectibles”. Anyway, that Frank Robinson rookie was later graded at a Near Mint (PSA 7) and has now realized a modest 2,300% growth in value over 2 decades

It was THE card that ignited a passion for collecting between my father and me.