Postcards are often among the more inexpensive types of pre-war sports cards. Ones with generic subjects, especially, can often be purchased for $10 or even less, depending on condition. Other postcards featuring real players, however, are a different story. And in some cases, the postcards are not only expensive, but rare, as is the case with the Monarch Typewriters Postcards set.
Here’s a closer look at this obscure issue that is rarely seen.
About the Monarch Typewriters Postcards
The Monarch Typewriters Postcards are rare issues indeed. Featuring only six known players from the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team, the set is an incredibly difficult one to track down. Finding even a single postcard from the set can be challenging as they are not seen much, even in auction settings.
The issue appears to be one to celebrate the 1910 Philadelphia Athletics’ championship team. We can say that for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the checklist includes only players from that squad. For another, the backs of the postcards provide results of past World Series championships. The postcards do not explicitly state they are a World Series edition. But piecing those two facts together explains that it likely was intended to be one.
These cards are standard postcard sized as they measure approximately 3 1/2″ wide by 5 1/2″ tall. Fronts include a black and white image of an Athletics player and the cards have a thick white border. The top identifies the distributor, stating the cards are “Compliments of the Monarch Typewriter Company.” With the subject sandwiched in between, the bottom border provides the player’s name and position.
As stated, the backs include results of past World Series contests, beginning with 1903, providing the number of games won by each team in each series. The most recent result is the 1910 World Series, which saw the Athletics defeat the Chicago Cubs, four games to one. Backs had a common divided layout with lines for the recipient’s name/address on the right and the World Series results on the left.
Speaking of that 1910 World Series, the dating for this set seems to be up in the air a bit. It is sometimes called a 1910 set but other sources, including both PSA and SGC, state that it is from 1911. While the 1910 date is possible if they were printed shortly after the World Series had ended, 1911 may be more accurate, given time would be needed to produce them. The 1910 World Series ended on October 23.
The left side of the backs also included a rather important endorsement from Connie Mack, the Athletics’ manager. Mack doesn’t endorse his team — rather, he endorses the Monarch typewriter with, of course, a bit of a baseball spin:
It is with great pleasure that I attest the merits of the Monarch Typewriting Machine. The typewriter that has been used in our offices for the last several years has been put to a hard daily usage. It has been in the game every day; not once has it been benched for repairs, and its average in every way has been 1,000. The Monarch is truly a “champion.”
As stated, the complete set includes only six postcards — here is the complete known checklist.
- John Barry
- Chief Bender
- Eddie Collins
- Rube Oldring
- Eddie Plank
- Ira Thomas
Three of the players, Chief Bender, Eddie Collins, and Eddie Plank, have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The other three were key contributors as well.
Oldring had a .308 batting average for the Athletics in 1910 as a starting outfielder. That mark was second best on the team behind only Collins’ .324. Barry was the team’s starting shortstop and the 54 double plays he helped to turn were good for second best in the entire league. Thomas was part of a rotation of three primary catchers that saw action for the team and his .278 batting average was far and away the best among that group.
Rarity and Pricing
As mentioned, the Monarch Typewriters Postcards are exceedingly rare. PSA and SGC have graded a combined 12 to date.
When you do find them, prices tend to be on the high side. An SGC 2 for Collins, for example, sold for $1,320 by Love of the Game Auctions in 2016. Even in low-grade condition, they can sell for healthy amounts. An Eddie Plank graded only Authentic due being trimmed while having writing and creases, still sold for $840 by REA in 2018.