Manufacturing a Trade Out of Patches and Mustaches?
March 23rd, 2012 by slangon

A while back, Eric from Manupatches & Mustaches posted a couple of slabbed ’73 cards that he had recently picked up which¬†he was looking to move. I happen need both cards for my ’73 set, and although the whole graded thing wasn’t necessarily a plus in my book, both cards had some pretty big names attached to them so I sent him an offer of what few manupatches that I had in my collection. Unfortunately, he had already traded the cards to someone else by the time I contacted him, but he suggested another trade which, in hindsight, was just as cool, if not cooler.

You can see my end of the deal over at Eric’s site. When I initially offered up those patch cards and he told me he already found a home for the 73’s, Eric said that he had some duplicate Murad cards that he’d be willing to fork over, along with some things that might be useful for my on-going Bonus Fact of the Week posts. Now, I was just a little disappointed about the 1973 cards, but no way was I going to turn down some crusty old tobacco cards.

Just some quick background on these cards. They come from the Murad College Series, which has been designated as T51 by good old Jeff Burdick in the American Card Catalog. They were distributed with Murad Cigarettes by New York tobacconist Sotirios Anargyros. There was 6 series of 25 cards which were released between June of 1909 and sometime either late in 1910 or early in 1911. Each one depicts, as the title of the set would lead you to believe, a different American college or university. The cards show a pennant and seal from the college, along with some scene that presumably has to do with that school. Some show athletes while others show some more generic recreational scene. They measure roughly 2″x3″ and are printed on fairly thin paper stock, or at least thinner than the few other cards that I own from that era.

Back in 2008, Topps released a basketball set based on these cards. It was basically an Allen & Ginter for basketball, but using the Murad design. That might seem a little random until you consider that out of the 150 cards in the original set, there was 4 basketball cards. These are widely considered to be the first true basketball cards ever made, so the match-up of the Murad design with the NBA does make a certain degree of sense.

He sent an even dozen my way. Here are some of my favorites.

Here’s a discus thrower from the University of Vermont. The colors on these cards, as is the case with a lot of old tobacco cards, are really beautiful. It’s a little hard to make out in the scan, but there is writing that runs along the bottom that tells you which series this card is from, in this case “College Series 26 to 50”.

Here’s what the backs look like. If you’ll stop staring at that awesome water stain for a second, you’ll see that the backs are pretty straight forward. Quick ad for Murad smokes, the series name and number, the full checklist from that particular series, and finally the company info. You can also see that under the line “College Series 26-50” there is an additional “2nd Edition”. Both the first and second series of these cards were re-released in 1910, hence the “2nd Edition”.

I really like the color scheme on this one. Apparently at Greer College, they graduate as recreation.

Here’s another more athletic example. Although I didn’t attend N.Y.U. or even think of attending N.Y.U. this one is among my favorites just because I where I work is actually on the N.Y.U. campus. Again, here is the back of the card.

As you can see, someone actually got the idea to use this as a checklist. Looks like that had some more smoking to do. There’s also some rather cryptic marks on the bottom corners. Maybe this was the inspiration for the Ginter Code?

Here’s a bit of a more loved example. It looks kind of awesome the way that the creases almost exactly line up with the angles of the diamond shape of the school seal. It’s like looking at argyle. Surprisingly, this isn’t the poorest condition card that Eric sent. That honor goes to Drake University.

As you can see, someone took the time (and I must admit, they did a pretty good job of it) to cut any mention of Murad off the borders of this card. I kind of like it though. I happen to like that particular shade of blue, and having it go to the edges like that makes the card look pretty awesome. Plus it’s got a dude with a gun trying to kill things, and it looks like he got one. As if the trim job wasn’t enough to earn this card true Condition: Poor status, the back is just as poor.

Obviously, this card has spent some time glued to an album page at some time over the past 100+ years. I’m actually toying with the idea of trying to soak it to see if that extra paper will come off. I don’t remember where, but I’m sure I read about someone doing that with some old cards somewhere or another. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Although I’m not showing all the cards that Eric sent here, this last one is definitely my favorite of the bunch.

First off, once again the colors on this card are awesome. Secondly, that dude is actually a football player which is a little bit cooler than a discus thrower or a high jumper in my book. Maybe not as cool as a guy shooting ducks, but definitely cooler than a graduate or a skier. Thirdly, although he is a football player, he looks like some creepy operatic clown which I find both disturbing and fascinating at the same time.

All in all, not a bad haul for a couple of cards featuring manufactured memorabilia. Thanks again for the trade, Eric and enjoy the cards.

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