Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tuckus Week, Day 4: Wacky Tobacky

This entire week will be devoted to an underrated aspect of the card world: Card backs. Rumps. Posteriors. Booties. Arses. Badonkadonks. Fannies. Cabooses. The tuckus. Ok I'm done. Baby got back, and so does Red Cardboard.
Day 4 is devoted to soft drugs. While tobacco has been an economic positive and a healthful negative, we can all agree that the nicotiana plant was instrumental for the success of baseball cards via crafty manufacturers. We all love the rare tobacco cards of the day (I assume), but the back have been mostly ignored, as they were usually advertisements and not the juicy player tidbits and stats we've come to expect.

We'll also check out the modern minis, who's back variations were inspired by (copied) the century past.
1909-11 T206 Mike Mowrey, Sweet Caporal Back. This is the second most common back for the set. Sweet Caporal dates back to 1878, then later merged with American Tobacco Company, producers of this set.

1909-11 T206 Hans Lobert, Piedmont Back. This is the most common back. Piedmont was the highest selling cigarette at the time, justifying the high volume of this back.

Some 2000's Topps 206 Minis. Polar Bear was a brand of loose tobacco, the only such brand on the 206 backs. Tolstoi is one of the rarer backs. Much congrats if you have an original card with that back.

Upper Deck had to join the nicotine party as well, with their Goodwin minis. Broad Leaf was even rarer to find than Tolstoi. Goodwin & Co. was a cigarette manufacturer that predated the Civil War. They were responsible for the Old Judge and Gypsy Queen brands as well. Speaking of Gypsy Queen...

These were inspired by cigarette pack art from Goodwin & Co. The original backs of Gypsy Queen cards were just a boring ink stamp of the company.

Allen & Ginter was founded in 1865 and began producing cards in 1888. These modern mini backs were inspired again by pack art. The original backs were typically checklists of the series.

Here is an example of the T205 set, printed in 1911. This is the back of Dick Egan, but you can actually tell now, thanks to some info and stats. The Sweet Caporal ad was relegated to the bottom quarter of the card. Most excellent. This was back when batting average and fielding percentage were paramount. These sadly get overshadowed by their predecessor, which is a shame.

We'll close with a 40 year jump. This is a 1953 Red Man Tobacco Ted Kluszewski. Red Man has been producing chewing tobacco since 1904 and started making these huge 3.5 x 4 inch cards in 1952. They decided all 14 square inches were to be devoted to their cap promotion. Too bad, though I do want one of these caps.

More tuckus tomorrow. Go Reds.

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