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View Full Version : Wirt Gammon remembers T206 and T205 in 1971


trdcrdkid
02-04-2016, 10:47 PM
Here's a fun little item. Longtime hobby writer Wirt Gammon, who wrote for almost as many hobby publications as Lionel Carter did, had a column in The Ballcard Collector called "Gammon's Corner". In issue 58 (January 1971), Gammon wrote a column (scanned below) responding to fellow columnist John Stirling's suggestion in the previous issue that tobacco companies should start issuing baseball cards again, since cigarette advertising was about to be banned on TV starting January 1, 1971. Gammon, who was born in 1905, writes a bit about the history of cigarette insert cards before reminiscing about the popularity of T206 and T205, which came out when he was a child. He remembers finding T206s discarded in the street, and the excitement when the first T205s appeared. It's interesting that Gammon remembers that the cards "began to appear everywhere" when he was 7, which would have been in 1912; I suspect he is slightly misremembering his age at the time, though I'm sure there were still plenty of T206s and T205s around in 1912. Then he mentions somebody recently coming to him with a bunch of stuff from his attic that included several thousand T206s, plus some E254s (Colgan's Chips), T210s, and T330-2s. Oh, to have been around in those days with enough money to buy such finds.

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coolshemp
02-05-2016, 05:57 AM
It is true about the fact that kids picked them up as discards by the adults. My late neighbor was 11 when the T206 came out, and he told me that he and his buddies would linger a little bit longer on the subway in Boston and pick up hundreds a week from the floor as the smokers threw them down, along with the empty pack. He was sure that he had shoe boxes full of them, but when he came from France in 1918, they were gone - his mother cleaned out his room while he was in the army. When I showed him mine, he had a story about every player as he was an avid baseball fan. He once met Honus Wagner, and remembers that he was a huge man with gigantic hands that was really nice to the kids. I miss talking with him!

Hot Springs Bathers
02-05-2016, 08:30 AM
I purchased my first T205's from Wirt back in the mid-70's, I think they were around $1.50 each or something like that, always his choice of player. He ran ads in the old SCD and The Trader Speaks.

abroome
02-05-2016, 08:41 AM
Don't want to hi-jack the thread, but Wirt Gammon is one of my favorite guys. From my hometown and was a fellow Lookouts fan.
Wanted to share his Southern Association press pass. Funny, they call it the "Southern League" on the pass.
Andy

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trdcrdkid
02-05-2016, 01:19 PM
It is true about the fact that kids picked them up as discards by the adults. My late neighbor was 11 when the T206 came out, and he told me that he and his buddies would linger a little bit longer on the subway in Boston and pick up hundreds a week from the floor as the smokers threw them down, along with the empty pack. He was sure that he had shoe boxes full of them, but when he came from France in 1918, they were gone - his mother cleaned out his room while he was in the army. When I showed him mine, he had a story about every player as he was an avid baseball fan. He once met Honus Wagner, and remembers that he was a huge man with gigantic hands that was really nice to the kids. I miss talking with him!

That's an awesome story, Derek. I love these stories about how those cards were originally seen and collected when they first came out. There was that 1929 New Yorker article by a guy who had collected Old Judges and other tobacco cards 40 years before (http://net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=202129), and the 1982 interview with longtime collector John Wagner in which he described collecting T206s as a 10-year-old when they were first issued (http://net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=207915). And it's interesting (but not really surprising!) to know that mothers were already throwing out baseball card collections a hundred years ago!

trdcrdkid
02-05-2016, 01:31 PM
Don't want to hi-jack the thread, but Wirt Gammon is one of my favorite guys. From my hometown and was a fellow Lookouts fan.
Wanted to share his Southern Association press pass. Funny, they call it the "Southern League" on the pass.
Andy


That's a great piece. I think Gammon might be the writer who appears the most in my old hobby publications. He was writing for Card Collector's Bulletin by at least the mid-50s, he had a column in The Ballcard Collector from at least 1970 to 1973 (once or twice a month), and after Sports Collectors Digest started in 1973 he eventually moved his column there, writing it into the 1980s. It would usually seem pretty stream of consciousness, sometimes mentioning extra cards he had for trade or cards he needed, and sometimes in SCD he would just answer reader questions. He seems like a very genial, helpful guy from his writings.

vintagetoppsguy
02-05-2016, 02:46 PM
That's an awesome story, Derek.

+1