Tuesday, July 2, 2013

1909 "Boston Herald" Baseball Supplements #5, Bill Dahlen (Braves) & Heine Wagner (Red Sox)

I started my first job at age 13, slinging morning papers from a bike seat for Seattle's Post-Intelligencer. It turned over $130 a month, such a princely sum! Enough to keep me flush in candy and baseball cards and what else does a young fan require?

Each morning started at 5am, when a corded bundle of 20-to-30 papers dropped outside my front yard. On most days, a second bundle of advertising inserts kept it company. A carrier's first task: insert those ads into my papers, so sponsors paying the newspaper's bills would get their money's worth. Based on today's promo "cards," which accompanied Boston papers a century ago, it's been a familiar strategy since the dawn of modern baseball.

Issued as two 7.5" x 9.5" pages, joined by center seam (blank back)

Sifting newspaper and morning inserts presented my first moral dilemma. Ditching those ads would've saved the trouble of lugging them around, but eventually get me in hot water, since sponsors paid the paper and the paper paid me. Imagine if those inserts were baseball collectibles, as the Herald offered for their hometown Braves and Red Sox in 1909. Double dilemma! I'd probably still have a stack of them, squirreled away between issues of Boys Life.

The Herald added these paired pages--one player per team--to 12 consecutive Sunday issues, starting June 6th, 1909. That opening date means this #5 came out four weeks later on July 4th. (America! Apple pie! Baseball!) The Sporting News printed their own league-wide take on this design over a four-year period starting the same year, since cataloged for collectors as M101-2 (set gallery). Both rate as rarities in the 21st century and I finally came across one in 2013, ten years after starting the type collection.

Value: I paid $45 for a low-grade single page of Dahlen. Complete versions with both Dahlen and Wagner would run considerably more.

Fakes / reprints: Might be easy to fake with modern technology, but I think these sets are obscure enough that it'd be tough to find enough uneducated buyers.

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