I’m not much of a baseball card freak. I had some as a kid and, the story is almost clichéd now, my mom told me to get rid of them because I was too old to have them. I’ve still got a few, but don’t worry much about them. I recognize, though, that there are people who do.
The tobacco card goes back into the 19th Century and I don’t propose to go on and on about the history of the damn things, but I want to give you a couple of web addresses where you can go to see what all the fuss is about. I want to concentrate on two sets: t-205 and t-206.
T-205/6 are the big sets from the 1910 era. There are close to 1000 total cards in the two sets combined, including the famous Honus Wagner that is so valuable. They actually look pretty good if you understand the stylized nature of the 206 set. There are only a handful of poses on the 206 set and the face and uniform are simply changed to fit the player. The 205 is more face shots.
You can go to a place called T-206.com and there’s a long set of pages about the set. The site seems more concerned with the backs than the player pictures, but there are links to sites that show the fronts of the cards. Down on the bottom left is a link to a T-205.com website that does the same thing for the smaller set.
There are a couple of places where you can see copies of the sets. One is T206 museum. This site has on-line copies of the set. Some of the pictures are of cards that aren’t in very good shape, but the entire set is there. At www.flickr.com/photos/traeregan/collections/ you find a link to this guy’s pictures of both the t205 and t206 sets (he’s snuck himself into the 206 set). These are obviously copies of the originals and do a good job showing the cards as if they were pristine. He’s cut the bottom off each picture (no name or team shown) and there’s a t206.com logo on the bottom right so the pictures are not exact copies of the cards, but you can still see what the fronts looked like (no backs). I presume you must have his permission to include a copy on your own site or blog, but don’t know that for certain (I don’t intend to do so).
If you’re interested in these old-time cards, take a look and enjoy.