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Remodeling Surprise: Cards Sponsored by Tobacco Company

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
June 22, 2005

Dear Babe: I found two Red Man Chewing Tobacco cards while remodeling my house. I found them in the baseboards (heater ducts). Al Schoendienst, second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals is on one and Bobby Shantz, a pitcher for the Philadelphia A's is on the other. Schoendienst's card is from 1954 and is in great shape. I am not sure about the year of Shantz's card, which is in good shape. It has no number on the front.
Mark Miller, Kent, Ohio

You'd be surprised how many folks find cards when remodeling, especially those related to tobacco products. Apparently workers, who were either smokers or chewers, would often discard the cards and then build over their trash. Red Man produced cards from 1952 through 1955. The 1951 set marked the first tobacco card since the early part of the 20th century. The fact that Shantz has no number tells me your Red Man cards don't have the one-half inch tabs on them anymore. The tabs offered chewers a chance to get a free hat. Cards without tabs are worth much less than those with them. Beckett's Almanac of Baseball Cards says cards with tabs are worth two and one half to three times cards without tabs, while the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards from the editors of Sports Collectors Digest says cards without tabs are worth 25 to 35 percent less than those with them. Numbers were only on the tabs in 1952. The 1952-1954 sets had 52 cards. There were 25 players from each league plus two managers. In 1955, there were no manager cards. The other way to date a Red Man card is by the free hat offer expiration date on the back. The offers expired the year after cards were issued. Schoendienst lists for $15-$20 with Shantz booking at $10-$13.50.

Dear Babe: My daughter has several basketball and baseball cards that are in hard plastic covers. The cards include 1986 Fleer Premier Isiah Thomas (No. 109), 1992-1993 Shaquille O'Neal Topps rookie card (362) and Chris Webber's rookie 1992-1993 Hoops card (341).
Jerry Wheeler, Redding, Calif.

The Isiah Thomas Fleer rookie card No. 109 lists for $25-$30. The Topps Shaq 362 lists for $10, while the Stadium Club card lists for $15-$25. Chris Webber lists for $2.50-$4.

Dear Babe: I have two original wooden bullpen folding chairs that were removed for the renovation of Yankee Stadium in 1973. They were manufactured by the Snyder Chair Company. They have "Property of N.Y. Yankees" stenciled on the bottom of the seat.
Jim Hyde, Vero Beach, Fla.

Unfortunately, there's nothing to identify these seats that easily since the stenciling is underneath. They're probably worth $300-$500 each, said Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com auction house in New York.

Dear Babe: We have a few Rawlings baseballs that were made for the 1994 World Series, which wasn't played because of the labor problems. They are new in the original boxes.
Marge Lawson, Alpharetta, Ga.

When the Series was first canceled, the balls were a hot item. However, once Rawlings figured out there was a demand, the company went back into production. In the end, these are probably the easiest World Series baseballs to find. Other than one auction where a ball sold for $33 with S&H, it appears the going rate for these on eBay is $12 including S&H.

About the author
Bill Wagner is a veteran journalist with 37 years in the newspaper business as well as being a former Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. He developed the Babe Waxpak sports card column in the 1980s and took over authorship in 1993, expanding into sports memorabilia and autographs as well as answering questions on cards.

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