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trdcrdkid 07-15-2017 03:06 AM

Hobby history: The discovery and evolution of T213s, 1942-1986
The T213 designation is today used for three related sets issued by Coupon cigarettes in and around the New Orleans area:

Type 1: issued in 1910, with fronts identical to T206, including brown captions, but on thinner stock, with ["Coupon" (Mild) Cigarettes] on the back;
Type 2: issued in 1914-16, with blue captions and a glossy finish that's susceptible to cracking; "20 for 5 cents" on the back;
Type 3: issued in 1919, with blue captions but no glossy finish; skinnier than the other two types, like many American Beauty T206s; "16 for 10 cents" on the back.

There has been some dispute on this board over whether T213-1 should be considered part of T206, with Ted Z arguing that they should and Leon arguing that they shouldn't. For example, see this thread, among numerous others:

I'm not going to try to resolve that dispute here, but I do want to present some info on the long and winding route by which the hobby got to our present state of knowledge on T213s. When the organized hobby first became aware of these cards during World War II, Jefferson Burdick initially considered T213-1 to be a subset of T206, before changing his mind a few years later. And while Burdick had identified all three types of T213 by 1948, it wasn't until several decades later that it became generally known in the hobby that T213-3 was distinct from T213-2.

When Burdick published his first card catalog, the United States Card Collectors Catalog, in 1939, it did not include any of the cards we now know as T213, or indeed any of the Louisiana tobacco baseball sets (also including T214, T215, and T216). Here is the page from that catalog with the 20th century sports tobacco cards, which starts with the sets we know as T200 through T212, in order, but then goes to T227 and T218:

Burdick knew that this first catalog was not complete, and one of the main reasons he started Card Collector's Bulletin immediately after publishing it was to make updates to the Catalog available on a regular basis, and to print checklists of the most common sets. On the front page of the April 1, 1942 Card Collector's Bulletin, Burdick announced that Charles Bray had discovered several new sets in a collection he had bought from New Orleans (see first page below). In a short item on pages 2 and 3, titled "Coupon", Burdick described what we know as T213 types 1 and 2, which had been included among the collection Bray had obtained. In the "Catalog Additions and Corrections" section at the top of page 2, Burdick gave a new catalog number, #636, to the blue-captioned 1914-15 Coupon cards (T213-2). (He also assigned numbers to the newly-discovered Holsum, Weil Baking, and General Baking baseball cards.) However, for the brown-captioned Coupons (T213-1), he made an addition to the list of brands and factory numbers that had appeared at the end of his checklist of #521 (T206), which had published over four issues of CCB in 1941. Thus, Burdick was classifying the brown-captioned Coupon cards as a 34th different T206 back, as he then knew them. For reference, I've included that 1941 list of T206 backs below, which I originally posted along with the rest of that first T206 checklist (here:

In his 1942 Catalog Supplement, Burdick included the new #636 (near the bottom of this page), and the description, adapted from the one in CCB, specifies "name in blue" and "1914-15 and including Federal Lg.", so it's referring specifically to T213-2.

In 1946, Burdick published a new edition of what was now known as the American Card Catalog, incorporating all the additions and corrections of the previous seven years and adopting the numbering system still used today. Below (courtesy of Jason19th, who owns this copy) is the page that includes T213. Burdick had decided to include the brown-captioned Coupon cards in this classification instead of considering them a variant of T206, but his description is a bit confused, mashing together elements from his accurate 1942 description of the two types. In 1942 he had described type 1 as being on "a thin card, or heavy paper" and type 2 as being on normal card stock, but here he describes the whole group as being on "card or heavy paper". In 1942 he had dated type 2 to 1914-15 because it includes Federal League players, but here he applies that dating to both types.

In the December 1948 issue of Card Collector's Bulletin, Burdick published an article on all the Louisiana baseball tobacco card sets. It included a correct description of all three types of T213 (the first known description of T213-3), and an incomplete checklist of T213-2, the first that had ever been printed. He was apparently making progress in understanding these sets.

Unfortunately, when the 1953 edition of the American Card Catalog came out, it did not incorporate any of this new information, but simply repeated the description of T213 verbatim from the 1946 edition, making no mention of T213-3. And it's not as though there were no changes in the 1953 edition; its description of T216 mentions Virginia Extra as a third brand, which had not been included in the 1946 edition but had been mentioned by Burdick in his 1948 article. The 1953 edition of the ACC also included Ty Cobb among the T206 brands for the first time.

The 1960 edition of the ACC, which ended up being used for decades, also repeated the same verbatim description of T213. As a result, T213-3 became virtually forgotten, and its scarcity certainly didn't help. I'm not aware of any more checklists or articles about T213s between 1948 and 1977, though it's possible that I'm missing something.

The second edition of Bert Randolph Sugar's Sports Collector's Bible, published in 1977, included checklists of T213 types 1 and 2 -- the earliest checklist of type 1 that I'm aware of, including 67 cards, close to the 69 known today. However, it followed the ACC in ignoring type 3 and dating both types 1 and 2 to 1914-15. Keith Olbermann was managing editor of this edition and wrote the intro to the Trading Cards section, but I don't know if he was responsible for these checklists. The same checklists were used in the third (1979) and fourth (1983) editions of the Sports Collector's Bible, and in Ron Erbe's American Premium Guide to Baseball Cards (1982).

That same year (1977), John C. Stirling Jr., an undertaker by trade who had written for numerous hobby publications over the previous seven years, came out with his "Stirling Sports Card Catalog", in which he came up with his own classification system, sort of adapted from the ACC system. It's actually a pretty good catalog, reflecting a lot of research and not just repeating what the ACC said. In his section on 20th century tobacco cards, Stirling classified the Coupon cards as T2110, and he identified all three types as Burdick had done in 1948, correctly dating (more or less) type 1 to 1909-10 and type 2 to 1914-15. Though he did not include checklists, he described type 1 as having 67 known (as in the Sports Collector's Bible list), type 2 as having 111 (vs. 151 in the SCB list), and type 3 as having 3 known.

Finally, in 1986 Lew Lipset came out with the "20th century tobacco cards" volume of his Encyclopedia of Baseball Cards, with very thorough descriptions and checklists of all the significant issues. For T213, he had a separate section for each of the three types, with the first printed checklist that I'm aware of for type 3; he also correctly dated type 3 to 1919, and mentioned their smaller size and heavier card stock relative to type 2. In the type 3 section he quotes and gives credit to "Longtime T213 Collector Clayton Schweitzer", but I'm not sure if Schweitzer had published any of his findings before this. (I e-mailed Lew to ask about this, but haven't heard back yet.) I'm also not sure whether there had been any articles or printed checklists of T213 in the hobby press in the early to mid-1970s; I don't remember seeing any in my reading, but I haven't gone through all the publications systematically

This 1986 article by Lew Lipset brought the study of T213 into the modern era. There have been a few additions and tweaks since then, but nothing major. It took 44 years from the time these cards became known to the organized hobby until all the details of them emerged.

tiger8mush 07-15-2017 07:55 AM

interesting read David, thanks for piecing together (and sharing) the timeline!

Leon 07-15-2017 09:24 AM

Great read, David. So in conclusion it seems T213 isn't a T206 :).

ullmandds 07-15-2017 09:55 AM

neat stuff...but it looks like burdick had Hustler backs listed as t206 to the end as well...and this proved to be untrue?

trdcrdkid 07-15-2017 11:17 AM


Originally Posted by ullmandds (Post 1681103)
neat stuff...but it looks like burdick had Hustler backs listed as t206 to the end as well...and this proved to be untrue?

He finally left out Hustler in the 1960 ACC. But then Frank Nagy listed Hustler in his widely reprinted T206 checklist in 1962, so that myth took a while to die off for good.

Sean 07-15-2017 05:27 PM

David, thank you for the history lesson. :)

brianp-beme 07-15-2017 06:33 PM

Very interesting. I don't collect the Coupon issues, but I find it surprising that the T213-3 issue was so overlooked and relatively 'undiscovered' until the mid-80's Lew Lipset write-up.

In my collecting experience I have for a long time believed that the T213-1 cards were the toughest to come by. Was there a large discovery of T213-3 cards in the 70's or 80's that made this issue more readily available?

Once again thanks David. If not already, all your posts like these should be given a dedicated spot in a special "History of the Hobby" section in the Archive Center here on Net54.


buymycards 07-15-2017 08:46 PM

Thank you
Hi David, as a collector of Louisiana issues, I find this topic very interesting. Thank you very much for this information.

On a side note, I see that Burdick does not consider the T215's to be a Louisiana issue, and I agree with that assessment. They were not printed in Louisiana. They may have been distributed in Louisiana, but many other brands were also distributed there.

I have always wondered why Lew Lipsett considered them as a Louisiana issue, but I do not feel that they belong in that category.


ValKehl 07-17-2017 06:20 PM

But Rick, isn't it pretty much accepted belief these days that the T215 Red Cross cards were ONLY distributed in the Louisiana area? If so, I don't see that it matters as to where these cards were produced.

tedzan 07-17-2017 08:29 PM

I agree with Rick regarding the T215 cards.

The T215-1 cards were printed by American Lithographic in New York. Then shipped to the Lorillard plant in Jersey City, NJ (Factory #10) to be inserted in RED CROSS
Cigarette packs.

Founded in 1760, Lorillard is the oldest continuously operating tobacco company in the US. It has marketed its tobacco products through out the USA and Great Britain.
Where these cigarettes were marketed in the 1910-1912 era, I'm not sure that I know.

The large "Louisiana find" some years back could have been due to an original collection which was relocated from some where else in the US.


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