T-Cards (tobacco) and E-Cards (early caramel) are well known American Card Catalog designations, obviously. But some other categorizations from Jefferson Burdick’s popular resource are scarcely used or collected these days. One of the more unique classifications? Blankets and felts.
What are Blankets and Felts?
Blankets and felts (roughly known as B-Cards), quite simply, are not really cards. Rather, they are defined as blankets and rugs, as well as some miscellaneous flannel and cloth-type items. Now, these aren’t the large blankets and rugs in the terms that you might think of them. Instead, these were actually miniature collectibles that were often packaged with tobacco or candy products. They are not large and are really miniature depictions of blankets and rugs. Varying in size, these are generally only a few inches long/wide.
The items are believed to be less collected in the terms we think of tobacco collectibles today. Instead, as Burdick notes, they were often sewed together to form things like pillows and bedspreads. Some of the rugs were used as miniature mats for other display pieces or placemats. Others, in fact, were even said to have been used as miniature items in doll houses.
While many B-Cards were non-sports subjects, several are legitimate sports series’ and collected today. Arguably the most popular issue is known as B18, which was a set of baseball flannels.
B18s are colorful square flannels with pictures of players against a baseball diamond background. A pair of pennants indicating the player’s team and league are present as is the name of the player. These are generally pretty affordable and relatively easy to find.
The BF104 set, called Big League Baseball Designs by Burdick, is interestingly similar but much rarer. One is shown here to the left. These blankets are actually made of felt, hence the slightly different BF (Blanket Felt) designation. They also feature a player in the middle of a baseball diamond with pennants and a player’s name. Unlike the B18s, which were distributed with tobacco products, however, BF104s came from some sort of candy or gum products, according to Burdick. Some collectors believe these were produced by the same company because of the similarity in design.
A third popular B-Card issue is B33. Shown to the left here, these were miniature rugs geared towards college students. The set featured a total of 30 different colleges and each college was represented by ten sports – among them were baseball, basketball, football, and hockey. As a result, there are 300 in the entire set and, given the scarcity of many, it would be incredibly difficult to collect the complete issue. The rugs had fringes on the ends although today, it is common to find these cut off as they were sometimes removed prior to being sewed together. They athletes featured are generic but this set is still popular. In addition to baseball, this set produced some of the earlier known football, basketball, and hockey items cataloged by Burdick.
Other blanket sets from the pre-war era are BF2 Ferguson Bakery (shown right), BF3, and BF4 pennants. These were sets of miniature felt pennants that featured an assortment of subjects. The BF2 Ferguson Bakery pennants set features baseball players, although Burdick notes that pennants of movie stars were also produced, too. Interestingly, the pictures used on the baseball pennants in this set were ones found in the M101-4 and M101-5 Mendelsohn/Sporting News series.
BF3 and BF4 ranged quite a bit in terms of design. Some merely had the names of players or teams on them. Others had a generic picture of a silhouetted player and the real name of a team. In all, there are about a dozen different types known. And adding to the confusion, one of the BF3 types as classified today could be what Burdick termed as BF4 pennants.
Finally, a few uncataloged sets are known as well. One is the 1913 Cravats Felt Pennants set. These rare pennants featured players printed against colored felt backgrounds. They are believed to have been produced in 1913 and with new finds still happening, the known checklist may not yet be complete. These are among the more rare and expensive issues within this classification.
Rarity and Pricing
The items are often a little rarer than trading cards. Pricing varies greatly, dependent upon issue and player. The cheapest blankets and felts are generally the commons found in the B18 and B33 set, starting at around $20. However, prices can range into the hundreds, and even into the four figures. Joe Jackson’s Ferguson Bakery pennant, for example, generally sells for more than $1,000. You can see them on eBay by clicking here.