1886 N167 Old Judge: A Closer Look At The First Baseball Card Set

n167-old-judge-keefeAs we discussed in our first article about the history of baseball cards, there is some debate about what cards are actually the first true baseball card set.

Some believe that early “cabinet” cards from the 19th century deserve the honor, but as we noted, these cards don’t meet the true definition of a “baseball card”.

In most collecting circles the tobacco cards of 1886 included in packs of Old Judge cigarettes are indeed the first true baseball cards.

The set (cataloged as set N167 by J.R. Burdick in the historic American Card Catalog) is small in stature, as only twelve cards were created and feature cards from only the New York Giants.

Of the twelve cards, six are hall of famers, thus for a set with such diminutive size, it really packs a punch.

Finding the N167 cards is kind of like finding a needle in a haystick, thus the cards hold tremendous value.  Let’s take a closer look at the set!

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The 30 Most Valuable Baseball Cards of All Time

dimaggio-rookie-cardAfter our first article about the history of baseball cards we’ve had so many people ask us: what are the most valuable baseball cards?

With this list, I’ve narrowed down the field to thirty cards that both hold tremendous value and are considered to be some of the most sought after cards for baseball card collectors.

From a price standpoint, some of the baseball cards on this list may unfortunately be out of reach for many collectors.

However, if you come across a low grade version of one of these cards it will likely be more affordable and something you could consider adding to your collection.

Whatever the case, it should be well understood that the business of baseball cards is alive and well.  Thus, some baseball cards, especially pre-war cards or even some created after World War II are worth a lot of money.

If you have any of the cards on this list, consider yourself one of the lucky ones!

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A History Of Baseball Cards

honus-wagner-t206I’ve been collecting cards for over thirty years now.  Until recently I wasn’t really interested in learning about the history of baseball cards.

When I started back in the 80’s, I was more focused on collecting cards of the guys that I watched.  Rookie cards of Cal Ripken Jr., Wade Boggs, Eric Davis, Andre Dawson and Eddie Murray were more my speed.

Sure, I knew of the all time greats such as Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Robinson et al, but it didn’t interest me as much as my own heroes.

But as the years moved on, I slowly got this itching desire to learn more about the early days of baseball history and the associated trading cards.

Thus I embarked on a fact finding mission; to learn as much as humanly possible about where baseball cards got their start.

I consider this a living, breathing document, so if I have anything wrong–please let me know (I’ll fix it!)  I would also love to hear any stories you might have regarding early baseball cards.  Feel free to share your story in the comments section below!

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