Vintage Vault: 1887 N172 Old Judge

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President Grover Cleveland was in office and down in Philadelphia the first Groundhog day was being observed, but for the Goodwin Company in New York, they were on the verge of producing one of the greatest baseball card sets in our hobbie’s history.

The complexity of the Old Judge set is still being unraveled to this day.  Over thousands of variations with around 500 players, these cards make up one of the largest card sets ever made.  They were placed into Old Judge and Gypsy Queen tobacco products, but the lack of consistency in the manufacturing of these cards is what’s most baffling.

Players names often misspelled, pose variations and differences in the backs of these cards make this set a dream to have, but a nightmare to sort.

For Example:

273: Bill Krieg (Also seen as:KREIG)
b-St. Joseph
d-W/Gus Kloff, or Klopf


So you see from the example above, these cards can have plenty of variations that collectors must hunt down.  The look of these sepia-toned cards is amazing considering what we have offered today.  It’s the look and feel of antique photography that make these sets so intriguing to look at.

When considering purchasing any cards from the Old Judge set, I recommend going graded only.  It will take the stress out of trying to figure out if the cards are authentic or not.  Of course a trusted dealer may offer ungraded cards, and of course, graded cards will come at a premium.

At last check, the most affordable Old Judge cards with PSA and SGC grading could be had for around $100.  I fair price considering these cards are almost at the 130 year anniversary.  Of course- a set with this kind of acclaim will have more affordable options in the form of reprints.  These are a great way to get your hands on the spirit of what these cards had to offer without breaking the bank.

Tell us what you think in the comments below.  Do you own any of these cards? If so, let us know which is your favorite and how you acquired them.


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