The Collection

Sports memorabilia and related musings...

The Vintage Chicago Cubs Collection

Growing up as a Chicago Cubs fan, there is much suffering to be had, and so it is not too surprising then, that any true fan of the Cubs, and die-hard fan of the game of baseball, would then turn to the pages of history in an effort to celebrate his team's glory days.  This has given rise to a portion of The Collection that is dedicated to those Cubs of yesteryear.  Collecting the baseball cards of the Chicago Cubs of this era is a slow and relatively expensive endeavor because of scarcity and popularity.  The cards of this period also tend to have serious condition-sensitive issues, which is a result of their being issued with tobacco (T-issues) and candy products (E-issues).  My primary collecting focus is to complete the T206 White Borders team set.  Secondary collecting efforts focus on the other tobacco and candy issues of the period, as I assemble a bit of a type-card Cubs collection.

 Tobacco Issue

 Progress towards completing the Cubs Team Set

 T200 Fatima Team Card

1 of 1  Complete!

 T201 Mecca Double Folders

  3 of 3  Complete!

 T202 Hassan Triple Folders

  3 of 14

 T204 Gold Borders

 1 of 13

 T205 Gold Borders

 19 of 19  Complete!

 T206 White Borders

 37 of 37 Complete!

 T207 Brown Backgrounds

 10 of 10 Complete!

 T3 Turkey Reds

  0 of 10

 T222 Fatima Player Cards

  2 of 8


The First Ballpark (West Side Ball Grounds)

The Cubs didn't always play in Wrigley just seems that way.  They played at the West Side Ball Grounds from 1893-1915.  Below are a handful of postcards from the era that depict the old park.  This first one is from 1909, published by Franklin Post Card Co., and shows the Cubs warming up before a game.  I own this one, it is used, and was postmarked in 1909.


These next three are photos of postcards that I found on the website.  I recommend checking it out if you are interested in seeing the older ballparks around the league from that era.  (


The Second Ball Park (Cubs Ball Park, later named Wrigley Field)

Here is a 1914 post card published by Max Rigot Selling Co. of Chicago, and it is a very early depiction of Wrigley Field.


The Fatima T200 Team Card, 1913

This is an excellent period piece, printed in 1913 and distributed by Fatima.  They issued 16 team cards, so the complete set depicts the entire major league roster for that year.  It's worth mentioning that this set appeals to collectors because it is the most affordable way to obtain a card that depicts some of the most sought-after players of the era, including Honus Wagner, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, and Jim Thorpe.  These cards are also remarkable in that they are very difficult to find in good condition, as they are real photographs printed on very thin paper stock. 

The T201 Mecca Double Folders, 1911

These cards are interesting in that they are designed to be folded over, so that the player on the reverse is made whole using the legs from the player pictured on the front of the card.  These two-player cards, like the T202s, are larger than most other tobacco issues of the period.  This is the first of the vintage Cubs "team sets" that I have been able to actually complete!!!  Of course,  with only 3 Cubs cards in the 50-card set, this was far more manageable than some of the other issues.  Pictured below are the front and back scans for the three cards, from left to right:  Mordecai Brown/Solly Hofman, Johnny Kling/Leonard Cole, and Johnny Evers/Frank Chance.



The T202 Hassan Triple Folders, 1912

This issue consists of enlongated horizontal cards with three panels, color portraits of a player on each end that resembles the T205 cards, and then a black and white action photo in the center panel.  I have collected one example of the fully intact card (as you see the SGC graded card below), as well as assembled single panels to illustrate how these cards were often collected as separates.  Reading the reverse of these cards is fun, as it gives you a flavor for the writing style of the day.



The T205 Gold Borders, 1911

Here are my T205s, shown with corresponding reverse.  The borders actually contain metal flecks, and while the cards are all head-shot portraits, there are three different border designs, which vary based upon whether the player is in the National, American or minor leagues.  Not my favorite issue of the era, but certainly the most colorful.  -And it is also a very important issue because it was the first one ever to incorporate two now-common characteristics of baseball cards:  These cards were the first ones to include player stats on the reverse, and a facsimilie autograph on the front.




























The T206 White Borders, 1909-11

The primary goal for the Vintage (Pre-WW2) Chicago Cubs Card Collection was originally to assemble the entire team set from the T206 White Borders issue of 1909-1911.  Just my luck that these Chicago Cubs that played at the West Side Grounds were a national powerhouse and as such, are the second-most represented team in the set!  There are 37 cards in the Master team set, if you include the McIntyre Brooklyn & Cubs card, as you see it below.  For aesthetic purposes, I am assembling the collection in SGC graded holders.

































The T207 Brown Backgrounds, 1912

This is a unique set of sepia-toned cards.  Four of my examples pictured below are fresh from the Lionel Carter Collection, which was auctioned off in April of 2007.  I am thrilled to have a piece of history, as Lionel Carter (now an elderly man residing Evanston, Illinois) is a hobby pioneer who has collected cards since the 1930s and interacted with other important and published collectors.  




















T3 Turkey Reds

This is a very interesting set of brilliantly-colored cards in a larger format than most.  Many of the images are the same as those used in the T206 White Borders set.  These are very difficult to find in good condition, and I don't believe I have ever seen one grade above a PSA6, personally.  I am sure they are out there, I just haven't seen it.  The scans below were very kindly donated for my use in this display, as I have not yet purchased any of these rather expensive items.  These pictures are from the collection of fellow N54 Board member Jay Wolt, who, incidentally, wrote an article on this issue for the PSA publication "The Sports Market Report."  Much thanks, Jay. (Note, 2 examples here of this shared image use between the T206 and T3 sets are the Overall and the their T3's below with the T206's in my collection above).



T222 Fatima Player Cards

This set is extraordinarily tough to find, and as such, you can expect to pay through the nose for good examples.  I do not own any of these cards as yet, and so this scan of the Zimmerman card was graciously donated by fellow N54 board member Brian Van Horn (Thanks Brian!).