You Bette It's the Oldest Card In The House

One of the coolest things to happen on the card front during my blog hiatus last fall - before my more recent hiatus - occurred when we attended a festival in Northeast Indiana last fall.

Editor's Note: Bear with me as I play a little blog catch up and intersperse some card-related news I never posted with more updated stuff. I've been collecting throughout my hiatuses (hiati?). Incidentally, I have a bundle of Heritage '12 for trade, as well as some Archives '13 and Heritage '13.

So, it was a pretty big fest, celebrating all things apple and homey and autumn-esque. Horse rides and corn mazes and pioneer demonstrations and sheep shearing and rifle shooting and live music and fried things.

There were three long buildings with crafts for purchase and viewing. In the middle of the fray, what do you know - a man and his wife selling cards!

Awesome people. The gent has traveled down from higher up in Michigan for some 20-plus years. He had a lot of Tigers stuff and assorted other old cards.

He had a few autographed baseballs. No certifications. He was a sports writer way back when and attended various events with a few greats of Tigers yore - Al Kaline and Willie Horton namely. Willie, he says, is a great guy who enjoys talking about himself in the third person. Mr. Tiger runs hot and oh-so-very cold. No surprise there.

So, after visiting with this couple for awhile, I went back to my family and did the festival thing. I had my eye on a few things in his booth so I told him I'd be back. Right then, I had my other eye on some kettle corn.

When we all returned late in the day, near closing time, he and his wife struck up a doting chat with my five-year-old daughter, who had spotted some old tobacco-style minis in a small case.

She loved the cards and whispered to me that she'd like one. He pulled out the collection - of actors and actresses from way back when - and we both got a closer look. My daughter chose this one.
Good choice. There's always been something about that woman. My guess is it's the eyes.

This is card #10 from the Third Series of Player's Cigarettes "Film Stars" released in 1938. I guess Series One and Series Two were released earlier in the '30s. Most of the great stars of the day seem to be in the collection with some others including: Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Katherine Hepburn and Johnny Weissmuller.

Here's the back:
This, my daughter's card, is the oldest card in our house.

As for me, I bought, yes, one of the aforementioned signed Kaline balls. The gent had it marked at just $30 but with no certification there was a gamble involved. He said he'd sell it and the Bette Davis for $20 total. 

Later, back at home, for kicks I looked up this guy on the Internet. Not to verify my trust but to see if any old articles came up. Learned that he had been given a community award at some point not long ago - for many things including being generally a standup fella. That doesn't guarantee the ball is legit, of course, but it was nice to read.

I'm not an autographed ball collector. I've never purchased one before, although I have several that I've personally obtained - at the formerly named Comiskey Park in the early aughts and at The National in 2011. I also - in a pinch - had a novelty ball signed last year by the great George Foster, but I couldn't resist taking the cheap gamble on a ball by a Hall of Famer.

My daughter still loves her card, by the way. She takes it out every now and then and studies it. She loves that it's her own and I think she enjoys knowing she's sharing my hobby.


  1. Very cool story! Good to see you around these parts!

  2. Thanks Mr. Mazza. Been collecting but definitely distracted from the blog otherwise. Hope to post on a more regular basis again going forward.

  3. Your daughter has good taste. I love my binder of assorted tobacco cards. I have a complete set of Players Film Stars but I can't recall which series I think it's the 2nd.

  4. Thanks Hackenbush. I like the cards and might pick up a few more here and there. Hope all is well.


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