Had a friend over last weekend to catch a local ball game. Given that he is also a Gibson enthusiast, it was a perfect opportunity to bust out my George Gibson collection to show off. Most people don't even know I collect baseball cards, so showing old cards to people isn't something I do often. Ever, really.
One thing we ended up talking about briefly was B18s. I figured it might be a good "card / non-card" item to post about. Until recently, they weren't even a part of my collection. I consider myself a card collector...and I don't really see B18s as cards. They're made of felt after all, so they can't be cards, right? The things is, it's been increasingly difficult to add Gibson items to my collection as of late, so when I was able to grab the "purple pennant" variation for less than $30 a few months back, I jumped at the chance. And I didn't really know what to expect when I got it in the mail. I was pleasantly surprised.
As somebody who always targets "cardboard", it was neat to see and be able to actually handle this issue. Compared to tobacco cards, these things are huge. They measure just over 5 inches by 5 inches. They are a really thin fabric. If you look closely at them, you can see the individual stitching that makes up the image, borders, etc.
B18s, according to OldCardboard.com, were issued in 1914 by the Egyptienne Straight Cigarettes company. I believe they were folded in half and inserted into the packs. There are 90 players in the set (9 players from each of 10 ten major league teams), but there are variations.
Not more than a few weeks after I picked up the "purple pennant" version, a "red pennant" version showed up on eBay as well. Again, normally I don't go after this kind of stuff -- but after the first one, I was kinda intent on completing the pair. I got this for a minimum bid of like $25, I think. As you can see, there is a bit of fraying on the "third base corner" of it, but it doesn't take away from the overall aesthetic if you ask me. The only real difference between the two is the replacing of purple with red. I'm not actually sure if any of the players in this set have more than two variations -- but now that I've got this pairing, I wish there were more than just two Gibsons in the set.
Even if they're not cards ;)