This site is called PostWarCards, but what exactly is a post-war card? I feel I should probably define it so that you, the audience, can have a better idea of what to expect on this site. There are a lot of opinions on the matter. A few people have written some excellent articles on them, which I have linked at the end of this post. The following is just how I interpret the sports card collecting market and chose to define hobby eras.
In collecting, when people refer to “The War,” they mean WWII. It ran from 1939-1945. A lot of baseball players in that era had to interrupt their careers to serve. Ted Williams, for example, whose 1959 Fleer Set I covered via a post on card #68, served three years in the US Navy and Marine Corps.
Pre-war cards are, therefore, any card created in 1939 and earlier. In the pre-war era, Jefferson Burdick cataloged every set in a book called the American Card Catalog. 20th-century tobacco cards received a ’T’ prescript; strip cards and exhibits got a ‘W’ prescript, for example, so folks knew how specific sportscards got distributed.
Because pre-war cards are anything before 1939, I’m going to define anything 1945 and after as a post-war card. Up to the current day. Are there natural subsets within the post-war era? There sure are.
Many people argue that the golden age of collecting was from 1948-1994, but that’s particularly subjective. Others say that 1948 was the first year we had a significant set (Bowman/Leaf), so the post-war era should start there. Then people say post-war is just 1948-1955 because the Topps Monopoly era ran from 1955-1980. Then 1981-1986 was the hobby boom, 1987-1994 was junk wax, and I suppose 1994-present is the “modern” or “shiny” era.
Breaking things down that into many subsets is too subjective. Splitting the hobby into pre and post-war is objective. So I’m sticking with that. Let me know in the comments below if you agree.