The M128 National Police Gazette Supplements are one of the larger collectibles in the pre-war era. The supplements aren’t cards – rather, they were inserts placed inside of the Police Gazette publication. Here’s a closer look at these unique issues.
The National Police Gazette Supplements (often simply called the Police Gazette Supplements) were issued over nearly two decades. The first ones were printed in 1901 and the final ones are believed to have been printed in or around 1917. The supplements were larger inserts that were miniature posters of a sort included inside of Police Gazette issues on a weekly basis.
Measuring approximately 11″ wide x 16″ tall, these baseball supplements mostly included individual players. Some, however, included more than one player or even an entire team. While the baseball supplements are the most desirable, the set also included other athletes and non-athletes. The Police Gazette was merely one publication that experimented with rewarding its readers with supplements. Baseball supplements were also found in other publications, including Baseball Magazine, The Sporting News, and other regional publications.
The supplements were catalogued as M128 by Jefferson Burdick in his American Card Catalog publication. Burdick’s formal title of the set was, “Sports and Stage Stars,” since actors/actresses were a part of the overall issue.
Because these were supplements inside of a publication, many were likely discarded. And others that survived have often done so with significant damage, including tears, pinholes, and creasing.
Loaded with Stars
Because these were supplements, the idea was to include mostly bigger names from the sport. As a result, the baseball supplements included some of the sport’s most recognizable names of the early 1900s.
Some of the players featured on supplements over the many years of publication included Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Nap Lajoie, Jim Thorpe, Zack Wheat, Eddie Plank, Frank Chance, Smoky Joe Wood, Grover Alexander, George Sisler, Mordecai Brown, Jack Chesbro, Willie Keeler, Eddie Collins, Hal Chase, John McGraw, Roger Bresnahan, Sam Crawford, and many more, including a few more Hall of Famers.
Thorpe’s name may stick out to some collectors since he is more recognized as a football player. But he also played baseball for a few seasons, primarily with the New York Giants. Thorpe’s inclusion in the set is as a baseball player (shown here) is a noteworthy one.
Most players were only included once in the series, but a handful (including Mathewson) are featured twice. In all, there are just over 100 baseball supplements.
M128 National Police Gazette Supplements Prices
The supplements are not extremely scarce but are not too common, either. At any given time, eBay generally has only a few of them available. Still, they aren’t otherworldly expensive, either. Boxers in the set are much easier to find and start around $15 in decent condition. Common baseball players, on the other hand are more in the $25-$50 range as a starting point.
Bigger names are, of course, substantially more. Joe Jackson, one of the more expensive supplements in the set, sold for $1,600 in a 2016 Huggins and Scott auction.