Before The Babe. Before Ty Cobb. Even before the World Series…there were baseball cards. In 1895, Mayo Tobacco Works of Richmond, VA, placed pictures of 40 of the game’s greats inside its tins of ‘Cut Plug’ Tobacco. They are among the most popular 19th century sets and starting now, collectors have a rare chance to acquire some of the ‘black beauties’ from a fresh batch of Mayo N300 baseball cards coming on the market. A near complete set has been broken and will be offered for auction over the next few weeks by Just Collect Inc. The collection is in the spotlight as the Just Collect ‘Vintage Buy of the Week’.
Nineteenth century baseball cards aren’t cheap, but considering the scarcity, many believe they are undervalued today. Demand for the Mayo set is strong among pre-War card collectors with the supply not nearly enough to satisfy it. Only about 1,600 Mayo’s cards have ever been graded by PSA, SGC or Beckett.
Mayo’s cards were printed on a lower quality paper stock and placing them inside tobacco tins didn’t do them any favors. They’re rare–and even rarer in higher grades but the collection up for bid includes several cards that would be among the best in existence. The collection being offered by Just Collect ranges from Authentic to PSA 5 (EX).
Just Collect was also able to acquire two vintage Mayo’s tobacco tins and an old-time pouch as a complement to the cards. Those, too, are being offered.
Get a look at the entire collection in the video below. You can see what’s been listed on eBay here.