You can find them online and at larger card shows. Checklists exist, too, but there is much more to know and understand about Exhibit and other arcade-type cards that went into production in the early 1920s and were an American mainstay for decades.
Collector Adam Warshaw hopes to broaden the hobby’s knowledge base with a newly published book.
Exhibit and Related Sports Arcade Cards is a 134-page paperback that offers an overview of the postcard-sized issues that were a common attraction at penny arcades, fairs, carnivals and other spots for decades. Warshaw chronicles the many baseball, boxing, football, hockey and basketball cards produced over the years. He offers a history of Exhibit Supply Company of Chicago, which was the most prolific maker of the cards and vending machines that served them up and provides the best checklists yet for the many sets collectors still chase today. He analyzes production and also aims to dispel some of the myths associated with Exhibit cards.
With a few exceptions, most Exhibit cards are among the least expensive vintage cards on the market but counterfeit cards and confusion over identifying them properly has made collecting them a bit of a challenge. Warshaw hopes the book can be a helpful guide.
An attorney by trade as well as an avid collector and cataloger of arcade cards for over 30 years, Warshaw has written extensively on the cards in hobby publications over the years.
Among the interesting observations in the Introduction alone…a calculation that would indicate Exhibit Supply (ESCO) likely produced over 14,000 different Exhibit cards from 1921-1980. Production and distribution waned after the 1960s and the company’s demise is covered as well.
The 8 ½” x 11” size book is priced at $24.99 and can be ordered here.