History of Baseball Cards

The oldest and most popular category of sports trading cards; baseball cards have been produced since the late 1860’s. Originally included in packs of chewing gum, tobacco, and cigarettes as a marketing tool; baseball cards were not mass produced until the 1930’s.  The early tobacco cards are among the most collectible cards in the sports collectible hobby, due both to their age and scarcity.  The 1933 Goudey set is considered by collectors to be one of the first mass produced baseball card sets, and features the first cards for some of the game’s greatest stars: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.  The 1934 Goudey set is smaller, but also very popular.

1962 Jello Mickey Mantle cardThe production of baseball cards declined during the Second World War, but exploded again in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Between 1948 and 1955, the baseball card industry was dominated by the Topps and Bowman companies. The rivalry ended in 1955 when Topps purchased Bowman in a dispute primarily over Bowman’s exclusive contract with Mickey Mantle.  Topps essentially monopolized the industry until the early 1980’s, with only limited competition from companies such as Fleer and Leaf.

Fleer sued Topps over Topps’ exclusive agreements with Major League Baseball and in 1981, Fleer and new company, Donruss, re-entered the baseball card industry. Combined with an explosion of interest in the hobby, the arrival of new competition (including Upper Deck in 1990) spurred what has been dubbed the “Age of Overproduction.”   The value of baseball cards declined drastically as the market was flooded with new sets.

In the late 1990’s, with a declining customer base and sagging card prices, card companies began including ‘memorabilia cards’ in their sets, featuring game-used pieces of jerseys, bats, gloves, and even bases. These insert cards have been largely responsible for revitalizing interest in the hobby. In late 2009, Major League Baseball signed an exclusive contract with Topps, granting Topps the sole right to use MLB team logos. The long-term effects of this contract on the industry remain to be determined.

LOT OF 39 BRAND NEW, REPRINTED
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2000 FLEER FOCUS DAVID WELLS #'D 175 OF 300  CARD # 219 TORONTO   BOX# 18
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2003 FLEER BOX SCORE #2 DEREK JETER MINT *011597
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1994 Leaf Baseball Series 1 Factory Sealed Box
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2000 FLEER FOCUS JEFF KENT #'D 078 OF 300 GIANTS CARD # 45   BOX# 18
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2000 STADIUM CLUB MARK GRUDZIELANEK , DODGERS # 'D 107 OF 150   BOX# 18
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1990 Score Baseball Card Wax Lot Of 3 Boxes Unopened Packs
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2000 SP AUTHENTIC FUTURE WATCH MARIO ENCARNACION  BOX# 18
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1987 THE PRESS BOX COLL. CHOICES OF THE 80S #11 DON MATTINGLY MINT  *025691
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1987 THE PRESS BOX COLL. CHOICES OF THE 80S #11 DON MATTINGLY MINT  *025690
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