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5 Reasons To Consider Adding Pre-War Sports Cards to Your Collection

In my post, What’s a Post-War Card, I defined pre-war cards too as any card created in 1939 or earlier. And while the focus of my attention in the hobby is in the post-war era, I do occasionally dabble in pre-war collecting as well. Below you will find five reasons you might consider doing the same.

Condition “Matters” Less

I feel you can get a lot of enjoyment from the nostalgia of a low-grade pre-war card. Pre-War Cards were used for advertising and enticing purchasing another product, like tobacco, rather than as investment vehicles. The card’s condition is part of its nostalgia. If it’s in bad shape, you can assume it was loved a bit more. Plus, it’s pretty cool to hold something that’s 80-100 years old.

1914 T222 Fatima Lefty Tyler

Artistry and Graphics

Just take a look at a T202 Hassan card, and you can be in awe of the artistry and varied graphics of the era. Pre-war cards have truly fantastic imagery. The paintings and drawings truly capture the times.

T202 Hassan Speaker/Engle


If you’re a history buff, you can learn the history of sports and culture in America. Additionally, what the cards were printed on, and packed with, say a lot about what people were doing daily. World War I, Prohibition, and The Great Depression all had impacts on cards. For example, Yuenglings was a brewery that jumped into the ice cream business during prohibition and used sportscards as a way to entice customers.

1928 Yuengling’s Babe Ruth Ice Cream

Iconic Players

Any player whose name has stood the test of 80-100 years is genuinely iconic and worthy of collecting. People who know nothing about baseball know who Babe Ruth was. Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Shoeless Joe Jackson are names that transcend the hobby even today as well.

1910 T206 Ty Cobb Bat Off Shoulder


I wrote an article about the 1969 Topps Deckle Edge set recently, and in the post-war era, that’s pretty oddball. But the variety and classifications of pre-war cards open up so many collecting possibilities; tobacco, strip cards, candy/gum, bakers, to name a few.

1933 R306 Butter Bream Paul G. Waner

If you want to learn more about pre-war cards, there are numerous sources, but check out the links on Old Cardboard. Be sure to check out that treasure trove of knowledge and consider adding some pre-war cards to your collection.

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