While not traditional baseball cards, miniature felts and pennants are items pursued by collectors. Several such items are found in the pre-war era, including the 1916 Ferguson Bakery Pennants set.
1916 Ferguson Bakery Pennants Basics
Cataloged as BF2, these felt pennants were distributed by Ferguson Bakery, a Massachusetts company. While we have that information today, it was not (at least, immediately) known by Jefferson Burdick, author of the American Card Catalog. Burdick had seen these pennants as he cataloged them in his book. However, the distributor eluded him as he actually believed they were either a gum or candy issue, as cited in at least one version of the publication
These triangular pennants measuring about 6″ long came in an assortment of colors and included a rectangular, black and white photo of various players. Hanging downward, the player’s team was printed at the top and his name was at the bottom.
Immediately, some of the images will look familiar to collectors as the same pictures were used in the M101 Mendelsohn/Sporting News sets. Included here, for example, is the Joe Jackson pennant along with his M101-4 card.
In all, 97 pennants are known to date, though it is possible that a few more could be discovered with time. The set includes many big names, including Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Nap Lajoie, Eddie Collins, Buck Weaver, and more.
In addition to the standard miniature pennants, Ferguson Bakery issued a larger pennant as a speical premium. These premiums are scarce today and, indications are that not many were likely to be distributed. They are referred to as Ferguson Bakery Prize Pennants and usually categorized under the same BF2 header.
The pennants are mostly the same as the smaller ones just mostly larger in size at approximately 9″ x 24″. A size comparison is shown here in this image. The other lone difference is that a slightly more decorative design printed on them. These were obtained by redeeming 50 coupons, which were found in the company’s loaves of bread. Requiring so many coupons would help explain their rarity.
While the standard Ferguson Bakery pennants are somewhat rare, the larger premium pennants are much harder to find. Theoretically, it is possible that as many different ones were created as are found in the standard set. As of 2016, however, that has not been confirmed and fewer than ten had been checklisted.
Both of these pennant types are rare but the market got a little larger with a recent find in 2013.
Commons in the smaller, standard set generally start around $50 with stars, depending on the player, beginning around $100. Hall of Famers can easily sell for hundreds of dollars and Joe Jackson often tops $1,000. The large premium pennants are so infrequently discovered that it is difficult to appropriately gauge their value. But a Heinie Zimmerman in 2016 sold by Robert Edward Auctions was auctioned for $4,200, attesting to their rarity. By comparison, a standard Zimmerman pennant would only be worth about $50.
You can see BF2 pennants for sale on eBay here.