The first football cards were printed in 1935 by the National Chicle Company in Cambridge, Mass. This first set was limited to 36 different cards, including four Boston Redskins. In 2006, a PSA graded set ranging from PSA VG 3 to PSA NM_MT 8 realized a total price of $12,270. This set included a VG-EX Bronko Nagurski, whose card was listed $66,500 in near mint condition by SMR in February 2000. The four Redskins include Pug Rentner, who is most famous for being in this card set, Hall of Famers Cliff Battles and Turk Edwards, and the most valuable one – Bull Tosi.
These cards were printed from original oil paintings in an art deco style with vibrant colors. The set was originally intended to include 240 cards, as is indicated on the back of each card, but they never got past # 36. The high number cards, such as Tosi, are much more scarce and valuable.
These rare gems are especially interesting to Redskins collectors because of the scarcity of any items depicting the Boston Redskins and because the back of each card has a player assessment written by Boston Redskins coach Eddie Casey. They are very popular with all collectors, as they are the first football cards, and they have vibrant colors and excellent artwork.
The condition of National Chicle Cards is the other determining factor in the price. One might find a Battles card with well rounded corners and slight creases for $75, whereas a near mint card would fetch closer to $500. Presently on eBay, there is a VG-EX Turk Edwards available for $249 and an EX-MT card of Battles available for $599. I would pass on the Battles, as there was recently a nice condition one up for $210, which did not get any bids.
If you have money to invest in vintage items, now is a good time, as many people do not have a lot of discretionary money available for such purposes. The success of the team tends to have a greater impact on the prices of present day heroes.
The Chantilly Show – a card and autograph show put on by CSA Shows – is Oct. 31 – Nov. 2 in Chantilly, Va. Although none are free, former Redskins greats Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer, Joe Theismann, Doug Williams, Mark Rypien, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders and present players Jason Campbell, Chris Horton and Kareem Moore are among many players signing autographs. For information, visit www.csashows.com
Samu Qureshi is considered the leading collector of Redskins memorabilia by several regional media outlets. His column appears exclusively on WarpathInsiders.com on Tuesdays and Warpath magazine each month.. He can also be reached at Samu.Qureshi@Longandfoster.com
Talk about this, or any premium story, right here.