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Guide to Authenticating Pre-War Baseball Cards

Ever wonder how experts can tell a real T206 Wagner from a counterfeit?

David Cycleback drops some knowledge from the book he wrote on authenticating pre-War baseball cards.

Not Quite Cards: A Look at Sports Card-Related Memorabilia

1930s Diamond Matchbooks from their popular football, baseball and hockey issues.

Matchbooks featuring players, cigar labels, flip books, scorecards, season passes and more provide options for collectors seeking something different.

Vintage Sports Memorabilia Questions and Answers

1874 full page Harper's Weekly woocut print of the Philadelphia Athletics including a young Cap Anson at bottom right.

Topics include Harper’s Woodcuts, authenticating World Series rings and photography.

Vintage Baseball Cards Q & A

Sweet Caporal cigarette packs with a 1909 tax stamp.

The following are answers to email baseball card and related questions I’ve received in the past. If you have any questions for my column, feel free to email me at [email protected] QUESTION: What is a baseball card progression proof? ANSWER: Progression proofs were proofs, or test prints, that were used by the printers to test […]

Home Runs, Brawls and Foul Balls

1957 Brawl at Brooklyn's Ebbits Field, including Gil Hodges, Walt Alston, and Eddie Mathews (41) throwing a punch at Don Drysale.

Images from a New Jersey man’s collection of vintage New York baseball photos.

Identification Tips for Beginning Collectors of Sports Paintings

Gerry Dvorak acrylic painting of Buck Leonard signed by both.

Learn how to identify the different types of sports paintings and how to spot reproductions.

From Harry Hooper to Greta Garbo: A Look at Celebrity Photos

Boston Red Sox baseball star Harry Hooper
(1910s news service photo by George Grantham Bain).
Bain was a full time New York photographer 
in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Originally 
working for United Press, he formed the 'Bain News
Service' in 1898. Amongst advanced collectors of
early baseball photographs Bain is well known. 
Bain's original photographs, which are often snapshot
sized (small) with cool and steely tones, often have 
the Bain News Service stamp on back. As the news 
service went out of business and Bain himself died 
in the first half of the 20th century, the existence of 
this stamp on the back is significant towards 
identifying a photo as an original.

Collectors of original photographs have plenty of options but like any specialty, knowledge is critical to building a meaningful collection.

From X-rays to Carbon Dating: The Science of Forgery Detection

Hidden writing revealed on a 1922 game used baseball bat. The grease pen text, faded to unreadable to the naked eye but seen with the infrared camera, was written by a worker at the famed bat manufacturer Hillerich & Bradsby of Louisville Kentucky when the Philadelphia Athletics player returned the broken bat to receive new ones.  The text gives the player’s name, team and the date the bat was returned, and helps in authenticating the bat as game used by the player.

A look at some of the science used in examining art and collectibles.

Microdots: Using Spy Technology to Security Mark Memorabilia

A microdots under the microscope

Collectibles can be invisibly marked with the same technology used by World War II spies.

A Standard Technique For Identifying Trading Card Reprints : Direct Comparison

Michael Jordan rookie reprint

Nearly all counterfeits can be identified simply by comparing the card to others from the same set.

How to Date Real Photo Postcards

1915 Boston Red Sox including rookie Babe Ruth.  Sold for over $21,000 at Robert Edward Auctions

Learn some valuable dating and authentication tips for real photo postcards.

Collecting Sports Prints by The Masters: How and Where to Do Your Homework

Leroy Neiman screen print of Ted Williams signed by both

Learn where experts, museums and collectors do their research when it comes to original sports prints.

Tips for Identifying Authentic Vintage News Photos

Roger Maris mail

Learn how the stamps and tags on the backs of vintage news photos are used to date them.

Quick Guide to Sports Memorabilia and Ceramics

Highly desirable 1911 plate picturing Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics baseball team

Have an old piece of sports memorabilia that you think is made of ceramic material but you’re not sure? Here’s how to tell.

Sorting Out the 1800s to 1900s Old Judge ‘Proofs’ and Display Photos

circa 1926 Old Judge Composite of Detroit TIgers players

There are a variety of so-called Old Judge Cabinet ‘Proofs’ and other Old Judge photo displays directly or indirectly related to the popular 1880s N172 and N173 Old Judge baseball cards.

Identifying the Common Plastics in Vintage Toys, Pins and Other Collectibles

1902 Celluloid baseball pin

Identifying materials is an integral part of collecting and authenticating vintage collectibles and memorabilia.

Keep the Receipt: The Importance of Provenance in Collecting

1948 London Olympics middle distance runner Herbert Barter race worn number autographed by 45 Olympic team members, with Barte signed letter and photo of him wearing the same number. (Courtsey of  Michael Bowlby)

When it comes to buying cards and memorabilia, the word ‘provenance’ doesn’t mean it’s real. Good provenance, though, is vital and can pay major dividends.

Authenticating Old Judges, Four Base Hits, Kalamazoo Bats and Other 19th Century Cards

1880s Old Judge Cards

Don’t buy until you know: A guide to authenticating and counterfeit-detecting popular 19th century baseball cards.

A Fake Honus Wagner Tobacco Card With An Interesting History

The 1990s Han Wagner Cigar tin sign

That old-looking Honus Wagner ’5-Cent Cigar’ card might be younger than you.

Another World: The Strange and Exotic Forms of Early Photographs

circa 1890 tintype of baseball star Cy Young, with the image on iron.

A look at the unusual forms of early sports and non-sports photography.