Vintage Sports Report: Old Judge Cabinet Card

The Phillies have a very long history, and my article this week will take you back to when they were near the top each year; way back to the late 1800s when Philadelphia had both the Phillies and the A's. Owners were tight fisted and players who wanted too much money would simply be released rather than overpaid. It's a bygone era and the Old Judge Cabinets bring back those days.

We're going to look at Old Judge Cabinets, one of the largest, priciest and most varied sets ever. Also the top priced cards were Philadelphia players. These cabinet cards were issued by Goodwin and Company in 1888 and 1889 as a premium available by exchanging coupons found in Old Judge or Dogs Head brand cigarettes.

The cabinet cards consist of 3 ¾" x 5 ¾" photographs affixed to a cardboard backing that measured approximately 4 ¼" x 6 ½". The mounting is usually pale yellow with gold leaf trimming, but backings have been found in red, blue and black. An ad for Old Judge cigarettes appears along the bottom of the cabinet. Cabinets obtained by exchanging coupons from Dogs Head include an ad for both Old Judge and Dogs Head, which are much more rare. According to an ad, all players in the National League, Western League and the American Association were featured, but some of the cabinets have not surfaced for years are not listed on the checklist.

Common prices start at $1500, with mounting variations pricing at 1.5 times higher and Dogs Head items at 2.5 times higher.

Phillies in this set are:

  • Ed Andrews 3 variations, valued at between $1500 and $2500.
  • Charlie Bastian 2 variations, valued at between $1500 and $2500.
  • Charles Buffington 2 variations, valued at between $1500 and $6500.
  • Daniel Casey, valued at $1500.
  • Cupid Childs, valued at $1500.
  • Jack Clements 3 variations, valued at between $1500 and $1800.
  • Lave Cross, valued at $1500.
  • Ben Cunningham, valued at $1500.
  • Harry Decker, valued at $1500.
  • Ed Delahanty 3 variations, valued at between $6000 and $15,000.
  • Sid Farrar 2 variations, valued at $1500.
  • Charlie Ferguson, valued at $1500.
  • Jim Fogerty 4 variations, valued at $1500.
  • Gid Gardner, valued at $1500.
  • Kid Gleason 2 variations, valued at $2000.
  • Tom Gunning, valued at $1500.
  • Bill Hallman, valued at $1500.
  • John Henry, valued at $1500.
  • Buster Hoover 2 variations, valued at $1500.
  • Arthur Irwin 2 variations, valued at $1500.
  • Charlie Kelly, $1500.
  • Deacon McGuire, $1500.
  • Joe Mulvey 2 variations, $1500.
  • Ben Sanders 2 variations, $1500.
  • Pop Schriver 3 variations, valued at between $1500 and $2000.
  • Sam Thompson 2 variations, $6500.
  • Jim Tying, $1500.
  • George Wood 2 variations, $1500.
  • Pete Wood, $1500.
  • Harry Wright, $9500.
  • This set will keep you busy for a lifetime; it's expensive and difficult to find, but if you get one of them, its an investment that you will pass on for generations.

    As always feel free to ask any questions about this set or any others. Send your emails to RRSports@ptd.net. And please check out my ongoing auctions at RSVINTAGESPORTS.

    We'll be back with another edition of the Vintage Sports Report next seek. Feel free to suggest an item or set that you would like to see featured then, or in a future edition. We can feature anything on baseball, memorabilia or even a football set if you have interest.


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