In 1917, there weren’t many baseball cards being produced. With World War I occurring, production on sets had slowed dramatically. One release that did make its way into the public was the 1917 Boston Store issue.
1917 Boston Store Set Basics
The 1917 Boston Store cards featured black and white card fronts with action photos. This was one of several releases from around the same time that helped to usher in a new type of card that was being produced by the late 1910s and 1920s. Instead of color lithographic art cards, these were cards that utilized real black and white pictures, allowing collectors to see exactly what players looked like.
The fronts of the cards included the picture of the player as well as his name, position, team, and card number in a serif font. The backs included an advertisement for the Boston Store company. Despite the name of the store, the company was actually not located in Boston. Instead, this was a chain of midwestern department stores offering all sorts of goods. Backs of the cards mentioned all sorts of clothing and sporting goods that could be found in the stores.
The set included a total of 200 cards and is headlined by several impressive names, including Babe Ruth, Joe Jackson, and Ty Cobb. The Ruth card, in particular, is highly desirable as it is considered a second year card. Plenty of other Hall of Famers are also found in the set, including Honus Wagner, Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby, and numerous other big names.
While many of the cards have been graded as 1916 issues, this is indeed a 1917 release.
About the Boston Store
As mentioned, the Boston Store was not a Boston company. Many collectors would probably be surprised to know that the franchise still exists today – well more than 100 years after it was founded in 1897.
According to its website, the store offers all sorts of department store items, such as clothing, accessories, jewelry, fragrances, furniture, and home items.
The 1917 Boston Store set is closely related to the E135 Collins-McCarthy issue, as well as other sets, including the D328 Weil Baking set, D350-2 Standard Biscuit set, and Merchants Bakery set. Those issues use mostly, if not entirely, the same pictures on the fronts and the same checklist.
But if you’re not familiar with those releases, the layout might look similar. That’s because the same style of card was used in the 1916 M101-4 and M101-5 Mendelsohn sets. These cards were just a little wider, measuring 2″ from side to side. While pictures and card numbers are different from the Mendelsohn issues, the card layout on the front is similar. And while many of the players found in those sets are found in the Boston Store set, the checklist is also significantly different.
1917 Boston Store Prices
Scarcity for the Boston Store cards and the other parallel issues varies quite a bit. The Boston Store and Collins-McCarthy cards are easily the most plentiful while the Standard Biscuit, Merchants Bakery, and Weil Baking issues are a lot more difficult to find.
Mid-grade Boston Store cards generally start around $75 with lesser grades selling cheaper than that. Stars, depending on the player and grade, vary greatly in price. Even lower end mid-grade cards for the biggest names are expensive cards. A PSA 3 Babe Ruth card sold in 2010 for more than $32,000.
Click here to see a few for sale on eBay.