Friday, July 22, 2011

When TSN was hobby's marketplace

Sure, there were several newsletters produced by baseball card collectors for baseball card collectors in the 1940s through the early 1960s. But the circulation of those collectors' papers was probably in the hundreds, rather than the thousands. 

For sheer "reach" the place to find collectors was in the pages of the weekly paper The Sporting News.

While perusing microfilm of back issues of TSN my eye is always drawn to the small "box" ads at the bottom of the back pages. The ads placed by the hobby's pioneering "dealers," usually were limited to offers of current-year card offerings by sport within season.

I thought you might enjoy seeing what the dealers were offering for hockey cards in the late-winter of  1960.

One of the principal sportscard advertisers in TSN in those days was G.B. Taylor of New York City. I don't know anything about G.B., as he was apparently no longer active in the hobby business when I got involved with Baseball Cards magazine and Sports Collectors Digest in 1980-81.

In his first ad for 1959 Topps hockey cards, Taylor mistakenly indicated there were 100 cards in the set, and that "This set is not being distributed in this country." His price for the set was $5.

A bit later, Taylor ran a new ad, with the correct 66-card total for the Topps set. Parkhurst issued a separate 50-card set of the Canadian teams that year, but I never saw an ad from Taylor for those cards. I'm unclear as to why Taylor offered the 66-card hockey set as "Canadian" hockey cards.  Topps' set included only players from the U.S. teams: Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, and New York Rangers. The Parkhust issue had the Canadian teams: Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.

The corrected ad specified 66 Topps cards, but did not lower the set price from $5.

In that same ad, Taylor offered an alphabetical checklist for all Topps, Bowman, Red Man and Hires baseball cards, from 1948 through 1959.

For many collectors, such a checklist would have been a valuable reference, since there were no hobby catalogs/price guides with that information back then. The checklist was priced at $4.

While it may have been a good price then, today Taylor's list would have only curiosity value. The complete 1959-60 Topps hockey card checklist available for $5 today has a retail value of up to $2,000.

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