A direct message from my Twitter account appeared in my e-mail last week. It seemed innocent enough. It was a message from Matthew from Number 5 Type Collection asking if my mailing address was the same as before. Since I've been in the same location for the majority of my life, I answered yes.
Yesterday, a bubble mailer showed up in my mailbox from Matthew. It was a nice bright spot. I'm in the last gasps of a nasty sinus infection that has been plaguing me for the past few weeks. The infection is finally gone, but I still have to wait for the rest of my body to notice and settle down. The good thing is that my strength and clarity are back where they should be. The bad thing is that I've neglected a lot the past few weeks and it was even a struggle to keep on autopilot.
The day had been filled with intermittent but heavy downpour rain and my backyard suffered the most.Yeah. I can probably skip the trips to Lake Catherine in Antioch this year because I have a lake of my own now! With even more rain expected (it's lightly raining as I write this), I might as well release a few perch and bluegill in the yard and build a boat. There's already a deck to attach it to.
Anyway, back to the bubble mailer. Matthew has always been a big supporter of this blog and has sent out some great packages in the past. I always look out for #5 cards to set aside, but I don't run into many, I'm afraid. I do keep my eyes peeled though. I feel compelled to contribute to one of the most unique collections of cards on the internet!
I'm never sure what to expect from Matthew. His collection takes him to some interesting places and I am always surprised as what shows up. There were four cards in the mailer. I had to look up each one.
First up there were three cards from the same set.
1977 Bob Parker Hall of Fame
3 - Luke Appling
14 - Eddie Collins
41 - Edd Roush
The card stock reminds me a bit of rice paper, but I'm probably wrong on that. Appling and Collins are pictured in their White Sox attire. Roush is listed as being on the White Sox, in addition to the Reds and Giants, during his long career, but is pictured in a Reds uniform.
These cards were big, nearly taking up the entire space inside the #000 bubble mailer. The cards were released in three series between 1977 and 1981. The first series in 1977, the second in 1980 and the third in 1981. All three cards are from the first series.
This by itself would have made my day, but there was one more card yet to be discovered. Disappeared into the recesses of the mailer and almost obscured by the three larger cards was something that I initially overlooked. It's a good thing I always check because tucked away at the very bottom was a tiny hand cut card.
It looked very familiar to me, but I couldn't place it. This card had one distinguishing feature that should have made identification a snap. Eddie Collins was listed as the White Sox manager. This would narrow the search down to between 1924 and 1927. Eddie was only manager through part of 1924 through 1926. I looked through my SCD catalog at the likely suspects and struck out. I messaged Matthew back and asked if he could shed some light on identifying this card. He thought it might be a W590.
I overlooked this set in my initial searching. I had failed to look at multiple year releases. It was a simple mistake but one that could have made the search easier. There was an Eddie Collins in the set, but the team designation wasn't identified. I took to the web with this new lead and initially came up empty.
A stroke of luck brought me to a discussion board, where people were trying to come up with a definitive checklist. There were pictures of some of the cards, but they were mostly the handful that I had already seen. The lack of design on the card was discouraging easy identification since many card of this era looked very similar. The examples of W590 cards looked the part, but without visual verification, I couldn't know for sure.
Then a tiny break appeared. Someone had the Collins card. There was no picture, but the poster did reprint the text that appeared at the bottom of his card: EDDIE COLLINS Manager of Chicago White Sox.
This was enough to make a 99% accurate assumption that this was indeed a W590 card. I have no clue about reported reprints of this set, but the hand cut appearance would lead me to believe that this is a genuine original. I will treat it as such, until proven wrong.
So... this means that I have a new oldest White Sox card in my collection!
From what I've been able to gather, there were two confirmed print runs of this set. One in 1925 and one in 1931. There has been speculation about a 1928 print run, due to a notation of a player being on Boston, who was only on that team in 1928, but that card has not shown up. It was the conclusion of the posters there that the team designation may have been recorded wrong.
Backed with this message board sleuthing, I can safely say that this card was printed in 1925, assuming it is an original. This beats my previous oldest card by eight years.
Thanks, Matthew! I always have an adventure ahead of me when a package of yours arrives and this was certainly no exception. Thank you for the cards and for the experience associated with it.