Tobacco companies had been including baseball cards in their packages as an incentive for more than 30 years when the Ligget and Myers Company decided to use a similar promotion inside its tins 100 years ago. These were a little different, though. Instead of individual photos, they used posed team pictures. There’s no party planned, but the underrated 1913 Fatima team cards celebrate their 100th anniversary as a realistic set-building opportunity for collectors.
In the lower right corner is the date of issue and ‘C Pictorial News Company’ is credited with the image.
Known as T200 in the American Card Catalog, 1913 Fatima team cards are a fascinating look at baseball’s past and some of the great teams of the era. The Philadelphia A’s card
Despite the number of big names and the age of the issue, recent sales and auctions won’t knock you off your feet. A PSA 3 graded A’s card sold for $190. The White Sox card in lower grades, can be had for around $200. An SGC 30 New York Giants issue recently sold for $280. The Fatima Cubs card, which features the likes of Johnny Evers, went for $187 at auction in SGC 40 rated condition.
Judging by the roster of players on each card, it’s evident that the photos for the Fatima set were taken after the start of the 1913 season and rushed into tobacco products before the end of summer.
Here’s the checklist:
Brooklyn Nationals (Dodgers)
Chicago Nationals (Cubs)
Cincinnati Nationals (Reds)
New York Nationals (Giants)
Philadelphia Nationals (Phillies)
Pittsburgh Nationals (Pirates)
St. Louis Nationals (Cardinals)
Boston Americans (Red Sox)
Chicago Americans (White Sox)
Cleveland Americans (Naps)
Detroit Americans (Tigers)
New York Americans (Yankees)
Philadelphia Americans (Athletics)
St. Louis Americans (Browns)
Washington Americans (Senators)
Not all T200 cards are created equal. The New York A.L., the St. Louis Browns and Cardinals and the Boston Braves are among the toughest cards to find, for some reason, with the New York A.L. and Browns cards considered the rarest. Some of the more rare and star-studded cards from this issue have sold for more than $10,000 in NM/MT condition, so clearly chasing the more readily available lower grades is a far easier task.
You can find Fatima cards, especially higher grade examples, in major auctions on a regular basis. Here’s a look at 1913 Fatima team cards on eBay right now