The first recorded baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ in 1846 between the NYC Knickerbocker Base Ball Club and the New York Baseball Club (the Knickerbockers lost). By 1858, the National Association of Base Ball Players was formed, consisting of around 30 small teams. After the Civil War, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first professional fully-paid team.
Over the next hundred years, a number of leagues emerged, including the National Association, American League, National League, Federal League, and Continental (items from defunct leagues are highly sought after today).
Baseball cards are widely collected today. The earliest incarnations (1840s) were cardboard-backed photos of local players and teams, which came in cabinet card size and the smaller carte-de-visite size. Commercial baseball cards emerged in the late 1860s when a sporting goods dealer called Peck & Snyder printed cards with an ad on one side and a baseball player on the other. Within a few years, cards began appearing in packages of Old Judge tobacco and other tobacco, candy and chewing gum brands.
Other promotional items such as baseball programs became popular in the 1890s. Advertisers bought space on these score cards, and cards from famous games (e.g. the World Series) are highly sought-after. Other collectible promotional items include gloves, statuettes, plaques, posters, and pins.
And of course, there's a huge market for authentic baseball memorabilia linked to specific players, including greats such as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, and Willie Mays. They produced plenty of signed baseballs, bats, gloves, photos, and other autographs. But be careful, as fake sports memorabilia is a lucrative business.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
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Baseball Cards 1887-1914
Baseball Hall of Fame
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Recent News: Baseball Memorabilia
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Monday's TV highlights: 'A Path Appears' and moreLos Angeles Times, January 25th
Strange Inheritance Cousins find a cache of vintage baseball cards in their great-grandfather's old house in the debut of this series. 6 and 6:30 p.m. Fox Business News. The Bachelor The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra sets the mood for Chris's romantic ...Read more
First batch of 'Portland trove' vintage baseball cards sells for $200000CBSSports.com, January 15th
Earlier this week, the first batch of cards from what is being called the "Portland trove" collection sold at auction for approximately $200,000, according to Associated Press. The collection is being sold by a family in Portland that wants to remain...Read more
Vintage baseball cards fetch $200KESPN, January 15th
BIDDEFORD, Maine -- The first batch of century-old baseball cards from the so-called "Portland trove" has fetched about $200,000 at auction in Maine. Bidders flew in to Biddeford from as far away as California for Wednesday's auction of 212 cards from ...Read more
Vintage Baseball Spring Training Camp To Begin SaturdayThe Chattanoogan, January 15th
Tennessee Association of Vintage Baseball will hold an informational meeting, training camp and sign-ups on Saturday, from 12–4 p.m. at the 6th Cavalry Museum / Polo Field. This same league played exhibition games at Engel Stadium in June, 2014 and ...Read more
Antique baseball cards valued at $1mChristian Davies Antiques (blog), January 11th
A collection of baseball cards and documents depicting the 1871-1872 Boston Red Stockings team has caused quite a commotion after it aired on America's PBS channel. The collection, which is over 140 years old, has been valued at $1m (£663,000)...Read more
This Lady Owns $1 Million Antique Baseball Card Collection, Oldest Ever?Crave Online, January 8th
Think your baseball card collection is impressive? Gale's (pictured above) is worth a tad more. According to CBS Connecticut, the woman from Boston — who has only released her first name for security reasons — has a collection of vintage baseball...Read more
Hit the road with 'Antiques Roadshow'The Journal News | LoHud.com, January 3rd
As for the baseball collection, it is an archive of Boston baseball memorabilia expert Leila Dunbar appraised for $1,000,000 insurance value. You will have to tune in to find out what makes it so valuable, but I can tease that it involves handwritten...Read more
Players sought for vintage baseball league expansion in ChattanoogaNooga.com, December 30th
The Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball has announced that Chattanooga will host two teams in the 2015 season. (Photo: Dana James). It's baseball straight from the 1860s, when it was a gentleman's game. And we're going to be seeing more of it in ...Read more