Friday, February 23, 2018

The New Oldest Card In My Collection

Even though I've gotten the reputation as the prospector on our corner of the card-blogosphere, I do have an appreciation for ancient cards.

I'm not sure why but I've always gravitated towards the super ancient cards. The whole novelty of "this thing survived two World Wars and some of the worst economic crisis' the country has ever faced" and is now in the palm of my hands is a big factor. The fact that there's a distinct possibility that the card may not have always been in America and instead travelled the world and experienced life overseas makes it even more compelling. I mean chances are they didn't and they just sat in a box for 80 years, but it's fun to think about.

My love for the T206 tobacco cards should be well known. I started a whole "Bloggers Who Have A T206" Club three years ago after all. Back when these things were affordable and the no-names in poor condition could be had for under $10 (shipped) apiece. Back then I tried building the New York Highlanders team set, and even tried to give a boost to some of my blogger buddies' collections. Spoiler alert, I failed at both of those things. Still, I might return to the T206 world one day when the no-names return to reasonable price territory.

In the meantime, there is the undeniable fact that there are cards which predate the T206es. Some of the more notable ones are the really old N172 Old Judges or the 1888 N82 Allen & Ginters. Both of which are far too expensive for me.

While the allure of a 19th century card is no doubt appealing, I was focused more on just getting older than 1909-11. No offense to the Chesbro or the other T206es I have, but I've gotten tired of them being the oldest.

This is where Billy Kingsley of Cardboard History's post about his absolutely phenomenal COMC Christmas haul comes in. I was reading and staring in disbelief at the loads of wonderful cardboard he acquired. Out of all of the cards in Billy's post, the one that appealed to me was a 1901 Ogden's Cigarettes card of the H.M.S Powerful. I love old timey boats, whether they're steam tugs, canal boats or giant ocean liners.

I was determined to get a card of another ship from the 1901 Ogden Cigs set, but instead I found that the brand itself had a lot more to offer. As much as I loved the other cards from the Ogden set, I opted for this instead.


A 1901 Ogden's Cigarettes General Interest Series B card of the lovely Anna Held (no. 173).

Anna Held was a very popular stage actress back in the 1890's and was a prominent enough figure in pop culture back then to have her own Wikipedia article today. Born in Poland and raised in France, Held's career as an actress took off in Paris in the early 1890's. Apparently Held's performances were a bit risque, especially considering the time period. But in turn that really helped her gain attention from the public across most of Europe.

Held then came to America with her second husband Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. around 1897. She played a key role in the emergence of the Ziegfeld Follies show (based on the Folies Bergère shows in France) which was a popular broadway show in the first three decades of the 1900's. Held also performed various shows at a variety of theaters in NYC at the time.

Held appeared in one cinematic silent film titled Madame la Presidente in 1916. It was her only film role.

Unfortunately I can't footage of her from that movie, so instead here is some footage I found of her on YouTube. The expressiveness of 19th century stage actors is quite something.

Most of the sources I looked up said that she was never a critical darling. But her husband Ziegfeld pushed and promoted her to a point where she was a popular star regardless. Based on the aforementioned sources Ziegfeld sounds like a guy who'd make up rumors and start drama just for the sake of gaining attention and free publicity/promotion. A proud tradition that continues today in American pop culture.

Some other notable tidbits about her I found were that she was one of the first women ever to ride a bicycle, and she was once captured by the German army back in World War Two. Author Eve Golden wrote a biography on her life back in 2000, you can find it on Amazon if you're interested.
Also check out the Jewish Women's Archive and The Famous People pages on her as well, both provided some interesting factoids I couldn't fit into this post.

Here's the back of the card. With quite an understatement.

BTW, notice how the word favorite was written with a u there as "favourite".

Some of you may probably already know this but the Ogden's Cigarettes are actually a British brand. Thomas Ogden started his own tobacconist business back in 1860 and later decided to distribute cards with tobacco in the mid 1890's. Some of the Ogden sets' better known cards are geared towards football (soccer) and cricket, but they made sets for actresses, generals, politicians, philosophers, boats, and various other things that offer a fun glimpse into the 1800's.

So to recap, we have an old collectible card from 1901, that was originally made and released in Britain. And is probably the only British card in my collection (I don't count my Force Attax cards). It's definitely the only vintage European card in my collection.

I'm torn on how to store this card though. Part of me wants to store it in a mini toploader and then store that in my binder with the rest of my favorites. Another just wants to keep it nice and cozy inside this one touch for minis. The only problem with the one touch is that there's a bit of space so the card ends up going up and down the card. Ms. Held deserves better, but being binder pagemates with Emma Jasmine and J.T. Miller may not be her cup of tea either. Hmmm...

Ugh, what do you folks think?

Anyway thanks a bunch for stopping by. Big thanks to Billy Kingsley again for the awesome introduction to the world of vintage non-sports. A genre that I will definitely head back to in the future.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).


  1. I wonder how risque in the 1890s would rate in 2018?
    Nice piece of vintage... I can't take my eyes off of her hat... or is it a parasol?

    1. Well by 2004 we were okay with Britney Spears being basically naked in the Toxic music video so I'd say that whatever was risque in 1890 is about as "sexually suggestive" as whatever is okay to show on afternoon television.

      And it's a hat. I'm pretty sure it's a hat.

  2. What a cool card! Very worthy addition as the new oldest card in your collection.

    1. Indeed, I'm glad I was able to up the ante.

  3. Great looking card. If it were me, I'd put it in the mini top loader. But in general, I don't use magnetics b/c of the amount of space they use.

    1. Yeah, I won't lie, the space thing is another factor too.

  4. I started getting into pre-war sports card about two years ago and in the last year have come into a few non-sports sets that I'm interested in. I like the dogs and birds sets. There's just so much out there available. I encourage sports card collectors to find one of these old sets that they like and go for it. Most of them are very afforable.

    1. Yeah I didn't mention it in this post but the Held card only cost me a fraction of what Chesbro did. I might pick up some more interest pre-war (or pre 20th century) cards in the future.

  5. Congrats on the pickup! Love that old shit.