Cracker Jack Baseball Cards

Value (2012) | $2,000$3,000
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GUEST:
In the early '60s, my great- grandfather passed away, and while we were going through some cigar boxes, we found this collection, which was my grandfather's when he was a boy. And we had them in the house for the longest time, and then in the early '70s we decided that we'd frame them and display them.

APPRAISER:
Well, Cracker Jack has been around since about 1890. That's how long kids have been eating Cracker Jacks. And in 1912, they put in the first toy but the very first lithograph-paper toy prize that came in was in 1914, which were these cards. And you had to buy 144 different boxes of Cracker Jacks to assemble an entire set of these cards, and you have 95 of these cards. You have a nice sampling of very early cards-- Honus Wagner, Ed Plank-- so it's a wonderful set, and they were hand-tinted photographs that are on this very thin paper that are lithographed, and the back gives you their bio. Tell me, how did you affix them to the back?

GUEST:
Well, this is probably where you're going to give me a hard time. In the top corners, I used a little dab of water-soluble glue.

APPRAISER:
(squeals)

GUEST:
I know, I know... This was the early '70s. I didn't know any better at the time.

APPRAISER:
Well, at least you can blame yourself. So many people blame their mothers for throwing their baseball cards away.

GUEST:
No, this was me.

APPRAISER:
Certainly, condition with any kind of paper memorabilia is the most important thing, and putting any sort of glue on them will decrease their value. If this was a complete set, the retail value on this is $65,000. Because we have two-thirds of the set and because we have a real big condition problem, what we're looking at is a collection that had the potential of being about $40,000 to $60,000 that are worth about $2,000 to $3,000.

GUEST:
Well, that's...that's still pretty incredible.

APPRAISER:
It's still pretty incredible, and they look terrific.

GUEST:
Great.

APPRAISER:
Don't ever glue again.

GUEST:
No, I won't-- I've learned my lesson.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
New York, NY
Update (2012)
$2,000$3,000
Appraised value (1998)
$2,000$3,000
Event
Milwaukee, WI (June 20, 1998)
Period
20th Century
Material
Paper

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