BREAKING NEWS: Newly Discovered Tobacco Cards Hidden In Duke Chapel

Lola Simmons, an exceptional architectural and engineering student at Duke University made an interesting discovery while inside Duke Chapel – three rare tobacco cards.

After weeks of red tape, she finally received the “ok” to test a new type of structural x-ray equipment.  Although the school administrators weren’t thrilled that she would be using it inside one of their most beloved structures, she persuaded them otherwise.  According to Miss Simmons, “The chapel’s age, foundation, and material used in it’s construction made it the perfect test subject.”

Miss Simmons enjoys working alone.  She finds that its the best way to concentrate.  Her work with this particular experiment needed to be done at night in order to avoid disrupting the chapel’s daily traffic.  On October 10, she settled in for a long night of testing with the school’s newly acquired multi-million dollar device.  After a few hours, things weren’t going well.  She came to the conclusion that a move to another part of the chapel needed to be done.  The Duke Memorial Chapel she believed would work far better.  Unfortunately this part is blocked off with an iron gate.  Determined to complete her work, she macgyvered her way through the lock.

Silence was quickly erased as a thunderstorm moved in.  That first clap of thunder caused her to drop the device.  It went off taking a picture of the left wall.  Luckily the device wasn’t damaged.  Before deleting that dud, she took a look at it.  The sarcophagus housing the remains of George Washington Duke seemed to display an unusual compartment.  Judging by the picture, the compartment looked to be right behind one of the ornate carvings.  Giving the decoration a touch, she could tell it wasn’t fixed.  With a small twist, the compartment opened.  Inside was a strong smell of tobacco, and one lonesome card.  The card was of Mr. Duke.

Along with George Washington Duke, his sons James and Benjamin also have sarcophagi.  Miss Simmons noticed the same carvings on those as well.  Each ended up having a compartment holding a tobacco card.  One of James, and one of Benjamin.

All three cards look to be part of the 1887 Old Judge N172 set.  They most likely are the only examples featuring these men.  George, James, and Benjamin are each pictured sitting in a chair.  A dead stare is in their eyes, while a haunting stag head hangs on the wall.  All attempts at photographing or scanning them have failed.  Not wanting to be seen seems to be their main objective.  Each card was respectfully returned to it’s rightful grave.

The Duke family made their fortune in the cigarette and tobacco business.  Once having a monopoly over the entire industry.  Duke University is one of their largest benefactors.  In the mid-1880s, it was their idea to place cardboard advertisements inside tobacco products.  They helped start this hobby of ours, and didn’t even know it.

Shortly after my meeting with Miss Simmons, she went missing.  The last person to see her was her mother.  According to her mother, “Lola didn’t look well, and just wanted to go to sleep.  She went up to bed, and wasn’t there the next morning.  I just want my baby back.”  The police are doing everything they can.

Until now, this card from 2009 TRISTAR Obak was the only card of The Dukes.


Review: BCW Tobacco Card Insert Sleeves

A package arrived in the mail for me yesterday.  I wasn’t expecting anything, but inside was a pack of the new BCW Tobacco Card Insert Sleeves.  Plus I got some really cool looking BCW branded box cutters.

The people over at BCW are always looking for better ways to help protect and display your collection.  One of their newest products are these tobacco card insert sleeves.  Basically, they’re fancy sleeves for your mini tobacco-sized cards.  The sleeve itself is the size of a regular card – 2.5″ x 3.5″.  In the center of the sleeve is a spot for your tobacco-sized card to fit.  This allows you to easily store your tobacco-sized cards in standard album pages, boxes, or holders.

Mini cards like this are everywhere today.  Storing them safely where they’ll be protected and easily accessible hasn’t always been a simple thing.  Now it is!  Before you would need to use those real small penny sleeves and holders.  Or you would place the mini card in a standard sleeve/holder where it could move around.

Could your collection benefit from these new sleeves?  You can buy them here.

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Card of the Day: Mickey Vernon 1953 Redman Tobacco AL-21

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Rare Gem On Display At Citizens Bank Park

Last night while watching the Phillies I heard Tom McCarthy and Chris Wheeler talk about something you rarely hear about on prime time television – baseball cards.  Right now at Citizens Bank Park this 1909-11 T206 uncut strip containing Honus Wagner will be on display thanks to Hunt Auctions.  This strip has been bought and sold many times over the years and still amazes collectors.  How in the hell did this thing stay together after all this time?  Many rumors state it was found in a pair of old pants owned by Wagner.


This would make the ultimate box topper.

Flashback Product of the Week: 1911 C59 Imperial Tobacco Lacrosse

Last week Upper Deck announced that they plan to make a lacrosse set.  I’m probably going to stay far away from this product since I’m really not into lacrosse.  I think its a preppy version of hockey 🙂  Its always interesting to see what a company like Upper Deck will do to survive.

Oddly though, this won’t be the first time lacrosse players have found their way onto cardboard.  Imperial Tobacco Company created a few sets between 1910 and 1912.  They are classified as C59, C60, and C61.  Somehow the 1911 cards are classified as C59 and not C60.  This is where it can be a bit confusing, especially when two of the years basically are the same except for a few cards.  They aren’t the most valuable tobacco cards on the market, but if one surfaces that is in excellent condition the sky is the limit.

A few weeks ago while visiting Baltimore, I went into the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards.  Inside they had a pair of lacrosse sticks from 1780.  I should haven taken a picture of them.


I think its odd that they have the card number on the front.

This Is Why Tobacco Cards Are So Valuable


Reason #9,671 why tobacco cards are so valuable – condition.  Wouldn’t you like to know the story of how these cards got like this?  That Pittsburgh card isn’t of Wagner.  Instead its of Willis.  Someone is trying to get $150.00 for all of these, but I doubt thats going to happen.  I’m sure one of the auction houses thats been investigated by the FBI could “fix” them up to look brand new.  Then again, even these cards might a stretch for them.

Rookie Card Of The Industry

With all the historical figures being placed within trading card products these days, I’m surprised that this is the first card of The Dukes.  James Buchanan Duke came up with the idea to place cardboard inserts within packages of their tobacco and pretty much started the industry we all are in right now.  This is one of my favorite cards of the year just for historical purposes.  This card is from the 25-card subset called Game Changers from the new 2009 TRISTAR Obak.  I can’t wait to give the new Obak a try.  It features the first cards of many pioneers that helped shape the game of baseball.  I guess in a way The Dukes could be considered the rookie card of the entire industry.  A few months ago wrote a post about how someone should make a card of The Dukes.  I guess TRISTAR is a fan of the sports card blogosphere.


This is the first image I could find that doesn’t contain a Beckett watermark.