Many collectors don’t realize how affordable some vintage baseball cards truly are. Collectors don’t even have to settle for cards of lesser known players, either. While many issues depicting Hall of Famers are pricey, plenty of bargains exist, too. Over a four-part series, I wanted to take a look at some of the more affordable pre-war Hall of Fame cards available to collectors. These will be grouped by decade, starting with the 1900s and running through the 1930s.
With that said, here’s a look at some of the more affordable Hall of Fame cards from the early 1900s.
Frank Chance / Jimmy Collins PC792 Gold Embossed Postcards
For many years, the PC792 Gold Embossed postcards were believed to feature generic players. But a discovery on Net54 a few years ago identified several of the images in the set. That helped to determine some actual players.
Most are commons but one pictures Hall of Famer Frank Chance at bat. A different postcard is believed to show Hall of Famer Jimmy Collins with a sliding baserunner.
Printed over several years in the early 1900s, the postcards featuring Chance and Collins are true bargains. They often are not identified as Chance/Collins and can sometimes be picked up for as little as $10 or even less. At that price, they are legitimately some of the top steals of the decade.
Bobby Wallace E90-1 American Caramel
This one’s kind of on the edge since these cards started being printed in 1909 and continued through 1911. But whatever decade a particular Bobby Wallace might be from, this card is downright affordable.
Part of the reason for that is because it’s one of the cards most often seen in the set and is not too difficult to find in an issue that has plenty of tough cards. Among Hall of Famers, it’s generally the one that is seen the most, for whatever reason.
You’ll still pay around $100 for a decent copy but that’s a low price to pay for a Hall of Fame card from one of the most collected caramel sets.
Hughie Jennings T206 Portrait
Like the Wallace American Caramel card, these cards barely fit into this decade as T206 cards were printed starting in 1909 through 1911. But Hughie Jennings’ portrait cards are believed to come from the first group of T206 printing, which began in 1909, so it’s fair game here.
Jennings has a total of three cards in the iconic T206 set but, according to T206 Resource, the portrait is the one believed to be from the earliest group printed. His cards are among the more affordable cards in the T206 issue and there is no real shortage of any of the three. Typically, any of them can be found starting around $75 or $100 in decent condition.
Sam Crawford Dietsche Postcard
In 1907 and 1908, Dietsche Postcards were printed for members of the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs. While these postcards featuring Ty Cobb are not cheap, some other Hall of Famers in the same release certainly are by comparison.
Other notable postcards in the series picture Cooperstown inductees Johnny Evers, Hughie Jennings, Frank Chance, Mordecai Brown, and Sam Crawford. All can be found at reasonable prices, including Crawford, who is one of the more popular names in that grouping. A Crawford SGC 40 recently sold on eBay for about $75.
Clark Griffith T206 Portrait
Like Jennings, Clark Griffith has multiple cards in the T206 set. One of his two cards pictures Griffith with a bat and the other is a portrait pose. Like Jennings, his portrait pose in particular was among the earliest T206 cards printed, which began in 1909.
He was a player manager for the club but aside from appearing in only a few games, was primarily just a manager by the time the set was released. Given that he was 39 in that 1909 season, that was understandable.
Griffith is also one of the more affordable Hall of Famers in the T206 release. His cards aren’t dirt cheap but nice copies can be found for as little as $100.