Saturday, April 11, 2009

Update on #5 type collection progress

This blog's type collection includes all known sets from baseball's majors, minors, and foreign issues. It limits the "target" to only sets with cards numbered 5. This significantly reduced the total count, since SCD "big book" listings number into the thousands, but still includes almost 450 different issues.

Topps represents more of those sets than any other single company. Oddball makers, such as TCMA and several regional food companies, also figure prominently. Note that "oddball" doesn't describe the player on the card, or we'd get a complete list of the recently mentioned Oscar Gamble afro cards.

Breaking the type collection composition into decades shows two things. First, the total number of sets started slowly and held steady though the 1940s. The rarest cards come from the pre-1920 era, including some sets that number beyond #5, but haven't identified that specific card yet. (Perhaps they'll eventually turn up, perhaps not.) Second, production totals rose sharply after WWII, roughly in tune with the maturing Baby Boom generation's buying power and westward league expansion. Many new industries tried out baseball-related promotions, including tea companies, cookie bakers, and potato chippers. With much smaller production runs than Topps, these cards prove hardest to track down, eBay or no eBay.
  1. Decade: # owned of # possible
  2. Pre-1920: 10 of 16
  3. 1920s: 16 of 29
  4. 1930s: 23 of 30
  5. 1940s: 21 of 26
  6. 1950s: 43 of 54
  7. 1960s: 61 of 84
  8. 1970s: 163 of 195
  9. Total: 337 of 434 (78%)
This blog profiles about 80 different sets so far, just under 20% of what's possible. Even one page per set would create quite a book by the time we're done. I plan to continue writing about two or three cards per week, which means another few years (at least) to address them all. Let me know if particular eras or aspects of the hobby appeal to you and I'll do my best to include them in the #5 profiles.

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