If the T206 white border set is considered The Monster of tobacco issues, perhaps the 1908-09 Rose Company Postcards should arguably be the Monster of postcard sets. This iconic green-background release features more than 200 postcards, including plenty of stars and Hall of Famers. Here’s a closer look at this incredible set.
The 1908-09 Rose Company set is one of the largest postcard issues produced in the pre-war era. While many sets featured generic subjects, this release is heavily sought after because it features real players.
The postcards have a pleasing design. A round black and white headshot of a player is the feature here, placed near the middle of the postcard along with his name and team. The background is a playing field and, as a result, primarily green. Generic baseball players are displayed at the bottom and a crossed bat and ball design is included on every postcard around the player’s headshot. The postcard, minus the individual player picture, is embossed, presenting a 3D feel.
Backs of the postcards were much simpler than the front with only a simple divider line, a place for a stamp, and the Rose Company logo, a fancy ‘TRC’, which can also be found on some of their other sets. The postcards were approximately 3 1/2″ wide x 5 1/2″ tall, a standard size for postcard issues.
Several variations of the set are known, too.
Using this same design, you can also find these postcards with slogans or company names/advertisements inside the circle area. They appear to have been licensed out so that they could be used commercially by just about anyone. The playing field and generic players remained but the featured picture could be modified.
One of the more popular variations known are the Greenfield’s Delatour Chocolates postcards. These are interesting and heavily desired by baseball card collectors because, unlike other variations, these kept the black and white pictures of the baseball players. The front of these is no different than the standard Rose Company Postcards and, instead, the back has their logo and an advertisement.
More than 200 postcards are known in the checklist and, more importantly, many big names are included in it. The highlights here are easily Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, and Christy Mathewson. Other Hall of Famers and stars found here are Nap Lajoie, Addie Joss, Eddie Plank, Frank Chance, Johnny Evers, Hal Chase, Chief Bender, Mordecai Brown, Joe Tinker, Ed Walsh, Bobby Wallace, Roger Bresnahan, and others. Speaker appears on many checklists but his actual presence in the set has been difficult for collectors to confirm.
The Rose Company Postcards are not easy to find despite being a part of such a large set. You rarely see them on eBay, though they do occasionally surface there.
Typically, it is difficult to find them outside of auction houses or some baseball card shows on occasion. Commons, even in low grade, generally top $100 and mid-grade ones, such as this Art Devlin sold by REA, can bring over $1,000. Five figures certainly isn’t out of the question for the biggest names, either. A PSA 1 Wagner sold on eBay for $14,000 in 2017.