Tuesday, June 16, 2015

1963 Sport Hobbyist Famous Baseball Cards #5, Jack Barry

In the mid-60s, advanced collector and sometimes-dealer Frank Nagy published one of the first collecting magazines, Sport Hobbyist. It fit the mold of today's Old Cardboard and Net54 Baseball message boards, printing research articles, describing unusual finds, and connecting vintage collectors. Frank also printed several oddball sets and his "Famous Card Series" might be the first to specifically reprint existing baseball cards for collectors.

Most Sport Hobbyist cards depict players active before WWII, an era largely out-of-reach to modern set builders. The "Famous Cards" checklist goes a step further by replicating actual cards released many years earlier, including this 1916 Sporting News (a.k.a. M101-5) Jack Barry.

This Hobbyist type card shows Jack Barry's picture with no frame or text, possibly to avoid confusion with an authentic example from 1916. Most "Famous Cards" measure larger than the originals; compare this scan with Jack Barry as M101-5 #11.

I believe the Hobbyist printed 6 cards per year from 1963 to 1967, for a complete set of 30, and probably sent (or sold) them to subscribers. (A back scan of #7 from SCD's annual price guide is dated 1964, so the first "series" ends at #5 or #6.) Their full set also includes several E-series candy cards, a handful of the rarely-seen Tango Eggs, and the first known reprint of T206's Wagner.

Frank Nagy pulled double-duty on set backs by including both vintage set details and his Sport Hobbyist business address. He got card dimensions and set count right, but 1960s collectors probably didn't have a complete list of set variations; Old Cardboard's M101-4/5 checklist details those differences. (See also my profile of 1916 Sporting News #5, Leon Ames.)

Just for fun, I searched Google Maps for 12795 Wade St in Detroit, but didn't find anything more inspiring than a locksmith. Anyone out there know more about the Sport Hobbyist's fate?

Value: Vintage reprint sets vary in demand and price, but you might find singles for under $5 and the whole set for $100-150.

Fakes / reprints: It's already a low-value reprint, so I doubt anyone went to the further trouble of counterfeiting them.


Anonymous said...

So this card of a 1916 player was issued in '63 by a bi-monthly mag or did I misunderstand somethin?

Matthew Glidden said...

This set's still kind of a mystery, but you got the main parts. Sport Hobbyist did their own set of cards that reprinted the picture (but not the whole design) on the front with a description of the set on the back.

The big SCD card catalog lists this as a multi-year set, from 1963-1967. I think the magazine either gave a half-dozen cards each year to subscribers or made them available for purchase. #5's dated 1963 and #7 is 1964, so the first cut-off is #5 or #6. Sport Hobbyist picked up with more sets (of different design) in the early-to-mid 70s.