Sunday, April 30, 2017

Strike a pose

One thing about a prewar player collection that I've noticed: Eventually you'll run out of cards or you'll run out of money. George Gibson, thankfully, has quite a few cards, many of which, are affordable. But if you collect him long enough, you'll eventually pick up most of the common/inexpensive stuff. That can lead to long gaps in between pickups.

And if you're a collector, then you understand what that's like.
In order to keep adding to the collection you might find yourself expanding the definition of "card".
In my case, I started to collect felts, which I had never really been that interested in. I find myself looking at pins and discs and chips a little more often now, too.
Postcards have always been on my radar, but they are rather expensive and show up rarely.

And then there are photos.

Photos can be an interesting way to expand the player collection, and can be affordable. In the case of Gibson, that doesn't really apply to photos of his playing days, but if you're willing to collect photos from his managing days, then you might be surprised what you can find.

Below is the photo that I most recently added to my Gibson collection. I found it on a photo dealer's site while searching Google for...I don't even remember what ;)

This is, hands down, my favourite Gibson photo of my collection. The back has a Central News Photo Service stamp and the caption that was included with the photo says:
Specially posed picture of Gibson, manager, taken in the "dug-out" at the Polo Grounds, Ny., Aug 25.
Oddly, it doesn't have a year. Gibson managed the Pirates from 1920-22 and again from 1932-34. At some point I'll go hunting through some New York papers to try to put a year on this. It shouldn't be too difficult, but for now I'm willing to let it remain a mystery.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Almost got rained out ... but didn't

Wednesday was a particularly gloomy day here. It was overcast all day. And given that it's rained off-and-on all week, it wasn't a big deal -- or a big surprise -- that the forecast was predicting an 80% chance of rain.

But I work inside, so as long as I don't have to shovel snow or worry about road conditions to drive to work, I don't pay much attention to the weather. I only really noticed the weather yesterday three times. The first two times were when it was raining so hard that you could hear it banging on the roof of the building that I work in.

Otherwise, I was pretty much oblivious. See, I won a new Gibson card at auction at the beginning of the month, and got the email that it had shipped a few days ago. By yesterday, it was close enough that it could arrive "any day", so really, that's where my attention was. I probably checked the USPS site 8 times waiting for an update. Finally, after work just before heading home, I got the status update I wanted: "Package delivered."

As I pulled into my driveway, I was scanning the mailbox and front porch for signs of my new acquisition. All I could see was some flyers hanging out of the mailbox, and they were soaked. It wasn't until I actually walked on to the porch that I noticed a small white parcel sitting out in the open. It wasn't in the door; wasn't in the mailbox; wasn't under the overhang of my roof. It was just sitting there. And that was the third time I noticed the weather yesterday.

Instant panic turned into instant relief though, as somehow, the parcel was totally dry. Not so much as a raindrop had touched it. I have no idea how the mail carrier timed it to get it there in between rainfalls -- and truthfully, the card was well packaged and protected inside anyway -- but the box was fine. Reusable, even. Until I failed so miserably at opening it.

Wanna know what was inside?


Might not look like much, but I'm thrilled to have it. That is a 1909 E92 Croft's Candy George Gibson. The pose is referred to as the "back pose", as there are some candy issues that contain 2 Gibson cards, the other being the "front pose".

I'm particularly happy to acquire this card as I've never owned a Croft's Candy back before. I currently have a Dockman back, and once upon a time owned a Croft's Cocoa back (the toughest of the four by far). But this is the first time I've owned a Crofts Candy. The black ink on the back is probably the more common variation. Some Croft's Candy backs can be found in blue and red ink though I don't believe the red ink variation has been confirmed for Gibson.

This exact image can be found on Gibson's E101, E105 and T216 cards as well. I have an E101 in my collection and used to have an E105. I'd like to get one again, but they don't come up often and when they do, they are anything but cheap. And the T216s? A whole other level of tough!

But that's part of the fun. If I already had them all what would be left to collect?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bison or Bisons?

Last weekend, a friend was heading to a Buffalo Bisons game, and allowed me to tag along (and thank you for that, Marty, I had a blast). Going to a baseball game is always a welcome adventure in my world. Having only ever driven past Coca-Cola Field, I was excited to get to step inside and see the facility. I was also excited to watch the Blue Jays farm team, and having recently learned about the Sports Museum inside the stadium, I was curious to check it out on the off chance there might be something Gibson in there.

I'll spare you the suspense. There was no Gibson to be found on this day. It was a long shot at best as Gibson is but a minor footnote in Buffalo Bisons history. He played in 6 games near the end of the 1903 season and that was it. Nonetheless, it was still worth checking. The museum had more than just baseball too. Much more, actually. Football, hockey, boxing, concerts that have taken place at the assorted sports venues, etc. Just no Gibson.

And the game? It was great. What should have been the third game of the series ended up being the season & home opener for Buffalo on account of weather conditions the previous two days. The forecast was cold, but the sun was not to be outdone. I still managed to get a mild sunburn. It was well worth it, though, to watch the Junior Jays topple the Junior Yankees by a score of 4-2, which included Rowdy Tellez hitting home runs in each of his first two at bats of the season.

The stadium is nice. I'm horrendous when it comes to picture taking; I took none. But our seats were up behind the 3B dugout, and the view was great. For a home opener, I'm surprised the crowd wasn't larger, but that just meant shorter lineups for the beef on weck ;)

In the week that has passed since that game, the Bisons have won another 6 games against 2 losses and find themselves first in the International League with a 7-2 record.

But I'm left pondering two things: Is there anything out there besides newspaper accounts documenting Gibson's time with Buffalo -- like a cool RPPC or something? And second, are they really the Buffalo Bisons or should they be the Buffalo Bison?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Blog bat Around: T205 Gibson Back Run

A few weeks ago, Chris over at the blog Nachos Grande, tossed out a suggestion for a 'Blog Bat Around' topic: In this case, the hardest set you/we/I have tried to complete, am trying to complete, etc. Seemed liked a cool idea, so I figured I'd use it as a chance to show off my quest to complete a T205 back run of George Gibson. Here is my post about the T206 back run, if you're interested.

First, a bit about the T205 set.
The set was issued in 1911 by the American Tobacco Company (same company behind T206s).
The card are about the same size, and do feature assorted tobacco brands on the back, but unlike the T206s, they have gold, instead of white, borders, and the logos on the back are much smaller. Filling that extra space is a brief bio of the player, and a few years of stats.
And though the T205 set does have some short prints that can be difficult, the set is less than half of the size of the T206 set. A couple of great sites for info about T205s can be found here:


 So, Mr. Gibson.
As far as I can tell, there are 8 backs available for Gibson in this set.
They are:

American Beauty
Honest Long Cut
Piedmont (Factory 25 and 42)
Polar Bear
Sweet Caporal

When I first started assembling this back set (about 10 years ago), nobody that I talked to (including some advanced T205 collectors) had any record of their being a Piedmont 42 or American Beauty of Gibson. The Hassan or Honest Long Cut was unknown, too, but I can't remember which.

The five cards shown above are the five I have, so far. Actually, I have an Honest Long Cut too, but don't have a scan handy. That leaves me needing three: Sweet Caporal, the American Beauty and the Polar Bear.

Neither the Sweet Caporal nor the Polar Bear are particularly though, though the Polar Bear seems to be susceptible to staining, so finding a decent one for a fair price can be tough. With a bit of luck, and some timing, I am confident I can grab a Sweet Caporal and a Polar Bear this year.

The American Beauty, on the other hand, is a whole other level of tough. I have seen two or three in over 10 years. The first one I saw was on eBay when the AB was not a confirmed Gibson back. It was listed at a price that I was uncomfortable taking a risk at, at the time. It got re-listed multiple times before finally selling. I'd gladly buy the card today at any of those eBay prices I saw. A chance late last year to get one slipped through my fingers by a matter of a day; I'm not optimistic I'll see another chance anytime soon.

But that's part of the fun! I'm in no rush to complete this back run, but that's a good thing, because it may not matter if I am ;)